Protect Your Plant

Artisan Intelligences

Originally posted Jul 16, 2020, 2:02 PM

So I just finished the first (and smallest planned) village in Protect Your Plant. This shop specializes in AI companions with sturdy, huggable bodies made of high-tech fabrics. These little guys are scattered throughout the levels but since the end of the world, most of them have made it back to the shop.

Villages have always been my favorite part of video games -- I love seeing where and how people in the game live, exploring their spaces and talking with everyone I can. Making even this little village of my own has been as cool as I'd hoped. I've spent a bunch of time replaying old games and watching streams looking for tricks (especially simple ones) that help make a place feel alive. Watching as this place got more and more active and crowded, character by character, has been so fun, and I'm pleased with the result, though there's still plenty to do. I think music and sound design will add even more, once I can focus on that.

It also represents the most work I've done with the dialogue system to date, both in the sheer amount of text, and in retooling the GUI to support extra buttons so I could make a dialogue wheel for each character, rather than the JRPG-style 1st-conversation, infinite-repeat-conversation format. I think long-term, all the AI characters will use the dialogue wheel and be more interactable, and the humans will get the RPG-ish, talk-at-you format.

These are also my first NPCs who change what they're doing at different points based on the game's internal calendar. I knew the feature set I'd built would support that, but I now have some examples, and I hope it helps to make the space, and the owls feel more alive.

Out in the game world, I want these little guys to fill a niche similar to Koroks in Breath of the Wild, but with dialogue and story to reward finding them.