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Dev Discussion #31 - Environments

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Comments

  • superbondezsuperbondez Member
    edited June 11
    I'd rather have a functional, engaging, and realistic world than one with fantastic graphical detail. For example, adding more interactable elements to an environment and NPCs and making these actually unique and interesting. Another extremely fun element to include would be randomness. Realism means randomness by definition. this could mean a tree or branch randomly falling and doing something, a lightning bolt suddenly striking, NPCs doing different behavior, mobs wandering into places they aren't usually. Random events would be extremely fun, I've only ever seen this done well in RIFT, when random events would scare you.
  • InixiaInixia Member
    edited June 11
    I just wanted to share a minor gripe I have with immersion in a lot of forest areas in mmos which is the combination of tree models that are too spaced out or too big with no strong density or underbrush, lack of distance fogging, and an object rendering distance that has too small of a radius.

    The end result is you always feeling like you are in an 'island' of sparsely populated trees rather than in the thick of a forest. It loses some of that mystery/immersion as a result. Like you can always see the edge of the treeline in the distance, and it feels more like an orchard grove than something you might get 'lost' in.

    edit: not related to AoC, but did anyone see the forest render in unreal 5 btw? just love the realistic density of that.

    edit2: oh also static coastlines are a very common environmental issue in mmo's too. Love when oceans can impart some of that energy with wave breaks and swells.
  • nanfoodlenanfoodle Member, Pioneer
    Part that made the game world not feel real in ESO that took me a while to figure out what it was. No cities or towns had kids. Kids running and playing adds life to a game. Just my two cents.
  • TeylouneTeyloune Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Alpha One
    edited June 11
    When you can get attatched to NPCs, and when you don't notice/forget that they are just cleverly programmed meat puppets who walk in the same cycles over and over again..
    When you come back to an NPC that you helped out in the past, and they regonize you, and have a more personal greeting.. and you're happy to see them..
    When you can get upset that someone killed that one NPC you really liked, which isn't gonna respawn.. because they are just dead now.. that's when there is something done right.

    *What I mean with "They don't respawn, because they are dead" is like, they would get replaced by a different NPC - like newly generated names and looks, which may serve the same function.
    So you can be forever sad that this one special NPC you liked is just gone now. :'(
  • T ElfT Elf Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    for me it's how people, critters, and flora move; after that it can be photorealistic or cartoony
    eZC6mjP.gif
    Formerly T-Elf

  • ObviouslyGrimmObviouslyGrimm Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    So a list of things for and immersive environment

    > an ever changing/ evolving world: You have already promised this with node and game progression

    > Day night cycle that effects what NPCs you see around: for instance during the day in the wilds you might see some Friendly rabbits and smaller combatable enemies VS night time you get attacked by bandits and dire wolves.

    > Choices matter: Quest that actually effect how the world interacts with you. I like to have to think about my actions, if I do quest A for the King it will prevent me from doing quest B for the resistance. shops that change what they sell with progression. owner ship of building of a building in town C will make it so i cant own a building in town D ECT. If I'm a mage then I cant progress though the fighters guild. these things not only lend to replay value but they also give you a sense of purpose

    >weather changes and environmental sounds ect : storms that effect sight and how far you can see, birds chirping on a sunny day, muddy paths that slow you down. this is small on the list of things that matter but still a nice addition.

    Now a lot of this has already been promised BUT they are imperative if you truly want to immerse your player base to the point where the look up thinking 30 mins past only to realize 4 hours have gone by in the blink of an eye.
  • Ambient mobs, things like fish in lakes and birds on rooftops that scater when players get close, maybe even some ducks or bates in a cave that fly out when you go in. It sounds small but it should not go underestimated.
  • Areas on the map where there are no hostile mobs. They have great uses for players.

    Planned battle spots to settle duels between players.
    Guild meet ups, sometimes you just want to host a beach party with your guild.
    Areas like this make great places for RPers too.

    "Sometimes less is more"
  • OrgaOrga Member
    on "dumb" NPCs and Trash Mobs:
    -Respawn animations & placements: for example when killing zombies in a leveling area, make them crawl up from the ground or something inspired. when hunting wildlife maybe they should spawn away from any players so they actually have to be hunted. when killing goblins, maybe the goblins respawn in roaming bands/camps instead of just "fading in" one by one.
    -Interactive AI combat: LoS pulling (and threat-pulling in general) strategies get really boring. give the AI some variations and tools to engage us. The threat radius for most mobs seems very unrealistic. Like, why are these spiders just roaming around haphazardly & they dont seem like they belong in the biome. But if we start messing with their webs maybe they'll crawl out of a tree or other place a spider would be resting/waiting.

    Enemy NPCs rarely seem like threats that need to be removed. Adding inspired respawn placements would do a lot to make killing levelling mobs more of a puzzle than "run to this area, kill this thing"
  • GrandSerpentGrandSerpent Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    A couple of key factors contribute to games feeling realistic and immersive, for me.

    Clear art direction

    I find games with a distinct, consistent visual style to be more interesting and "alive", regardless of whether their chosen art style is a "realistic" one.

    AoC's environment art team have done a great job on this so far - the environments I've seen in the alpha are well-executed and visually striking. The biomes seem to have a clear visual identity, with restrained and deliberately chosen dominant colors. I particularly like the assets in use in the jungle areas - the trees feel massive and vividly detailed, and the use of orange and purple flowers helps break up the green and add points of visual contrast.

    Well-implemented lighting and tone-mapping

    This point is a bit more technical, but in my view both an important and a sometimes-neglected part of visual realism in games.

    Tone-mapping, the process of converting the representation of lighting used internally by game engines back into something which can be displayed in the limited color-space monitors can output, has some unintuitive pitfalls, which can result in games looking overly saturated or having excessively high contrast, depending on the color correction settings used.

    This is another area which I think AoC has done well on so far - levels of contrast between light and dark areas seem natural, and there's a good level of ambient light in interior scenes.

    Ambient audio design

    A varied, complex set of ambient background sounds also helps a lot with my immersion. Being able to hear things like buzzing insects, birds chirping, and rustling leaves, makes a significant impact on how "real" a scene feels.

    Points of interest in the world

    By "points of interest", I mean areas where some distinctive, unique assets have been used to create a landmark. This might be something like a half-buried shipwreck in a river inlet, or a forest clearing containing rune-etched standing stones. These can imply a backstory for an area, and add a greater sense of depth and history to a game's world.
  • LeylosLeylos Member
    edited June 12
    For me a believable and realistic world comes down to how NPC's react to one another even without the players involvement.

    Here are two simple examples from other MMORPG's.

    In WoW (or GW2 too aswell) for example it's fairly common to have predatory type creatures attack other smaller critters in the area. Likewise you will regularly run into overlapping mob areas of two mob types that will attack and kill each other when they wander into one anothers territory. It gives you a sense that you are just a small part of this world rather then everything having to center around you.

    In ESO it is the reverse and it constantly limits my immersion with the game. For example accidently pulling a bandit enemy along with massive bear yet somehow these two end up cooperating and ignore each other completely while focusing entirely on you. The vast majority of NPC's in this game are just static backgrounds. If an enemy walks by they will completely ignore them and watch you get mauled to death without intervening. In the rare occasion that NPC's do fight one another they are set to be immortal so it yet again falls entirely to the player to affect change in the world when sometimes the world should also be doing things on its own.

    Another thing that I really like in WoW and GW2 was that NPC's felt like they had a daily routine (even though it was very simplistic). Having them on the move and occasionally talk is one thing but let me give you an example for something really simple that I really enjoyed. In WoW I had a quest the other day to deliver supplies to a shop in Stormwind. Once the supplies had arrived, the shopkeeper created new items from them and told her husband to deliver them to another shop. The quest had already ended at that point, yet the NPC husband would still walk to the other shop and then have a small conversation with the other shopkeeper. You would not even need to be around for it but it's a level of detail that is incredibly immersive.

    So to sum about up:

    1.) Friendly NPC's react to hostile NPC's, whether they fight themselves or by calling a guard to do it for them.

    2.) A simplistic type of food chain across various animals.

    3.) Hostile NPC factions that are occasionally hostile towards other hostile NPC factions. Sometimes it is just a fun strategy to pull mutually hostile mobs into each other.

    4.) Friendly NPC's that are more beyond static backgrounds. Most NPC's should either be able to walk around occasionally or shout things into the environment. I actually quite like it when NPC conversations are part of the chat window.
  • Bloodmace wrote: »
    Have a mob fluidity leveling effect.

    Let me explain. A hill giant shouldn’t be a level 10 creature that you see early game. It should be a near end game creature that does massive damage and takes hits like a tank. Same concept for rats or small critters, they shouldn’t be placed in high levels zone as filler mobs with end game levels. It doesn’t make sense. Every creature should have a limit cap based off their innate race. A fare few can break that cap and exceed their limitations, such as rare spawns that drop equipment, or the equipment being the reason they are more powerful.

    Just my thoughts.

    This
  • HexanogoHexanogo Member
    Environments that I fondly remember are those that have stories behind them. Now I know thats ashes thing, events have real consequences, but little things that tell small stories with no text always drew me into areas. Like a turned over cart with signs of fighting, and nearby there is a pack of wolves or raiders, something akin to that. Of course that isn't exactly the greatest example in the world but its the one I could think off the top of my head.

    Realism is wonderful, as long as it doesn't hinder gameplay. Realism is wonderful for a lived in world, as long as it doesn't bog down normal gameplay. Fun realistic exploration? Wonderful mechanics. Being forced to sit down 3 times per in game day to eat some food to not take horrific debuffs? Just annoying.

    Either way, small stories told without words, but through the environment itself has always made a world feel more lived in than any series of text documents could. Remnant From the Ashes I personally think does a great job of this, sure it has a lot of text, but its also supplemented by the environments around it.
  • KalnazzarKalnazzar Member, Founder
    Combat is the key for me, I don't mind some flashy stuff but I also don't want people zooming and dashing in the AIR like COD AWF that would actually make me not play.
  • i would love to see enough monsters at every corner or for example an NPC for some trade items at a crossroad so you dont run through the world only gathering materials
  • JamationJamation Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Realism is usually never one of my biggest concerns. I enjoy playing fantasy games because I know that I don’t need to expect the realistic concerns of the real world. As long as things look polished, cohesive, and are fun to play, I can suspend my disbelief.


    NPCs:

    One of the biggest detractors for me is when I start to notice reskinned mobs that are either just larger/smaller or a different color. (So far from what we’ve seen it seems like this is also a big priority for y’all as the mob variation is already better than some games I’ve played recently)

    The other big thing though is town NPCs being reskinned. I know there will be a ton of default “fodder” NPCs and I’m totally cool with that. But I dislike talking to Ben Smith in one town and seeing his exact build in another town for a different NPC named John Doe. I played a game recently where there were exactly 6 types of NPCs (excluding high priority characters) and it felt like they could’ve stuck a signpost there and had the same experience.

    On friendly NPC’s I know there’s mention of guards and such attacking hostiles that get too close to towns, but if they get inside, I dislike seeing where the “barrier” for influence stopped. Like if a monster somehow makes it inside and out of reach of guards, the townspeople shouldn’t be meandering around pleasantly while a flesh-eating monster stomps around. Even if it’s something as simple as giving the non-attacking NPCs a “cower” function that stops them in their tracks or prevents the use of their facilities. It would be such a rare occurrence but would happen at some point and it’s always a little disappointing to see no one caring except for 1/100 NPCs.



    Environments:

    I enjoy seeing night and day when I play the game, but if it happens, I’d hope it’d be short enough to happen a few times a day without being jarring. As someone who’ll probably play around the same time every day, I’d be sad if it was always night and I never got to see the sunshine.

    When biomes switch, I generally prefer a softer transition, compared to a stark line where sandy desert meets jungle.

    Similar to the mobs serving a purpose, I prefer not being able to see where something is “supposed” to go. For example, I know a lot of land needs to be “claimed” for city building and such, but if there were more general foliage before the area switched to its upgrade, I think that’d look nice. It’s just weird, in my opinion, to see all this nice jungle and paths with tents and then just a giant mostly empty square that says “Something will go here. Please return later”


    Infinity and beyond:

    One of the things I don’t need to feel super realistic is home decorating. I know there will be a limit on how things are done, but I like when you can clip things a bit or touch things together to make cool designs (like putting a bunkbed over a table to make a dorm style workstation)

    Mob aggression is another thing that I’d put into the realism category. I feel like at some point lower-level mobs shouldn’t be aggressively hunting you down as much as a higher level. I feel that they’d eventually learn what a dangerous adventurer looks like and know which ones to try and snack on and which to leave alone. It’s always just pure annoyance when I’m max level and I can’t do something because a level 1 monster is trying to hit me with 0% chance of doing any damage.

    Final notes, I know there are plenty of people that are very vocal about their need for realism, but please feel free not to go overboard. I enjoy playing video games for fun, not so I can watch a single house being built log by log for six months. It’s okay if fantasy wins out on a lot of things so long as it’s still fun.

  • OrymOrym Member
    What makes a game realistic i think is quite easy to answer. Things like wind in the trees, footprints in the ground when you walk and the almighty sounds of nature. I don't think realism matters as much as the world feeling belivable does though.
    When you are consistent with how the world looks and functions and not necessarily in a realistic way, you can still create an immersive world that feels very belivable. That is the most important for me.
  • kriinkriin Member
    edited June 12
    Lots of people here have great ideas so i'll be quoting and adding some.

    Player
    Hate when I enter the city, get greeted and the Lord tells me I am the chosen one and only I can save the kingdom. But then other players shows up and he says the same thing to them. No more of this please.

    Environment
    Fog in the morning specially over lakes. Clouds in mountains. Change of season. Rough terrain. Have some forests being denser then others where you can't pass through some areas.

    Sound
    Be able to distinguish the distance of a sound.

    Npc
    One thing that makes games unrealistic are npc's that stand around 24/7 waiting for some player to talk to them. Have them do things through out the day. Go hunting, visit other npc, go to work, and go home for the night and etc. Npc's that have to stand around for players like shops, they can do thing around the shop to look busy.

    Once in a while have a npc wave at another npc passing by. Maybe they can say hello to one another, or some small talk.
    arsnn wrote: »
    Graphical fidelity and detail only plays a secondary role for me.
    The important part for me is build a coherent play between moving, audible and believable npcs and environment.

    Vibrancy
    The key part to accomplish a vibrancy I'd say is any kind of ambient movement, so even in a mostly static world elements like moving grass/trees, ambient animals, birds and dragons flying far overhead, can be placed. There should be something keeping everything live. It could be moving clouds or a fish jumping where a fishing spot spawned.

    Detail
    The environment doesn't need every detail, it needs some details done well. A player can latch onto a few things here and there and the fill in the rest: the blade of grass in a corner to show nobody steps there is more important than hundreds on the side of the road.

    Sound
    Then there is sound design. Similar to the above distant sounds and ambient sound should be attached to a believable context that is actually connected to what you can experience with your eyes.

    NPCs
    Make us feel npcs are not a means to an end.
    Please place NPCs with schedules and actuall reason to exist - not only in town, but outside of it too. Make it possible to encounter fishermen or hunters early in the morning, or in the evening when they go back to the town with their catch. Maybe the market will close some of it´s services at noon because the npcs did go home.

    Mobs
    Please don´t pit monster into clumps that are supposed to be aoe grinded with a 30 seconds respawn rate. This is probably the most obvious for mmos! The entirety of the environment is designed to host as many mobs so that everyone can kill to move on the next ride and forget about it for the rest of the experience.
    I´d prefer a more complex interplay where you need to look for certain animals and hunt them. Dears roaming the forest fleeing at slightest hint you approach them. Maybe even predators that prey on them and are especially strong and valuable to kill at night due to a wolf boss that howls at the midnight´s moon and buffs his pack.
    Edit:
    Please make crabs spawn in masses at sunset and make em rave when they move towards the shore :)


    I think a mmo that does some of that really well is BDO. Especially in cities you feel you are part of a living world, rather than an empty shell of clustered houses with a few npcs that are essentially interaction hubs for hundreds of players simultaneously.

    Edit: MMO´s unfortunately have a high pressure to produce a quantity of content, so some of the stuff might be out of scope. But some of it is actually doable especially with a solid world manager.
    Ravudha wrote: »
    Wind movement in trees, grass, plants, and water movement are a big one (all with accompanying sounds). Static scenery is why I quit SWTOR; planets just felt dead.
    ItsFayne wrote: »
    I think things like seamless transitions between biomes (Thank you Bacon), NPCs that dont just stand still and have, even slight movement, day/night cycles in a reasonable time period. Just the progression of time, and keeping immersion breaking aspects a minimal as possible.

  • SeloSelo Member
    edited June 13
    -Ambient sounds are very important, like bees flying around, birds chirping, wind blowing etc.
    -Also ambient music is nice.
    -If you played New World, i really like the echoing effects. Like if mine near a mountain, the picking sound will bounce of mountains etc. Same with someone cutting wood.
    -I would like to be able to "move through" grass, like the grass splits when i run through it.
    Dust should fly into air when i run on a dusty road.
    -Using fire skills on ground for example should be able to burn up bushes etc,
    -Critters running around and beeing scared of your approach.
    -Insects, birds (not just crows and pigeons)
    -NPC, be it animals or humanoids, doing their dailys business. A bit unrealistic when enemy NPCS just stands there on a spot waiting to get killed.
    -Recognition would be nice aswell. Like Guards in a city you have helped out alot hail you when you visit.
    -Visible effects on clothes and hair from weathereffects
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  • LethalityLethality Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    I'll keep this one simple...

    Having landmarks with a significant backstory, even if just dotting the landscape now. i.e. Weathertop.

    World Class Indoorsman
  • CapitanDuckieCapitanDuckie Member
    edited June 12
    I think some of the most important things are enviroment design and sound as well as npc behavior, its very easy to break immersion by having enviroments not realy make sense, villages in inconvenient places that dont make sense in a resource standpoint, creatures not being in a place which makes sense. Predatory beings would never hang around in an area with only predators or themselves etc. That being said having npc’s moving in a sensible way, animals not just standing in a spot waiting to get killed or wandering around in a 10ft circle. Having creatures roam and hunt, escape from players etc does a lot for immersion, having npc ”humans” have schedules that they follow do a lot as well.

    A natural sound does such a great deal to create immersion, the sound of your feet against the soil/grass outside, the wind, birds chirping, insects going brrrrrr, flowers swaying, trees creaking. The echoes while inside caves. Having natural sounds, the sound of a mining pick hammering away on a stone echoing out cross a valley.

    Saw it being mentioned earlier but having lowlvled creatures make sense is good too, fighting huge giants at lvl 5 and then rats at lvl 20 just doesnt make much sense. So making the creatures/animals/monsters make sense to which lvl that is. Also on that note having static npc spawners are kinda jank since having things just pop up in your face feels kinda bad.

    Having huge weapons as big as you swinging them around like madlads is also very immersionbreaking and quite jarring.
  • GrihmGrihm Member
    Dev Discussion #31 - Environments
    What are some of the elements that make for a more “realistic” or “lifelike” world when you play a game, from NPCs to environments and beyond? How much does realism matter to you generally?


    * Day / night cycles
    * Wandering AI Animals, npc´s etc that use a non pre determent route ( Classic example, a Wow NPC )
    * Weather patterns that affects the world ( Wet and Cold Mod for Skyrim as an example )
    * Mists, raindrops in ponds, plants and trees swaying in wind, snow accumulating on objects, footprints in snow, mud etc.
    * Ambiance music or sound themes for areas to enrich their setting
    * AI Life and workday etc. Don´t just have an AI stand still, but give them jobs, times to be here or there, go on patrols ( not the same all the time ) let them have a day off to fish or swim or work in their farms, have different equipment on guards at random, and different levels of the characters as well, all from recruits to top tier leaders. Make it random.
  • Miss XaniMiss Xani Member
    edited June 14
    Realism is definately a fun aspect for many but it can be done wrong as many realistic aspects just don't work for a game. Suggestions from snake.
    -NPC activity/movement. It's so mood killing with those Workers or town gaurds that will just sit at a station 24/7 for their entire existance. They are a part of the world and play a bigger part in immersion than some people think.
    - varying animations when interacting with the world. Opening doors, Skinning, Botanism. (This one is important cause i hate the stupid idle animations games have where my character picks at the air around the plant and it disappears) Opening / closing, Gates / door.
    - Also there needs to be snails. Lots of snails.
  • GrihmGrihm Member
    In 2002, Gothic 2 was released.

    NPC´s in that old game have jobs and a time for things they do.
    Guards stand guard, and at the end of their shift, they go to the pub and stand around ( as in drinking and talking )
    Shopkeepers have their shops open, then some head to the pub or home

    On it goes.

    Thing is, you could in 2002 see NPC´s living a somewhat realistic life in the game, and see them go from a job, to free time, to home and going to bed. You could even break in and actually see them being there, asleep. At morning at a certain time, they woke up, and went to work.

    Actual living NPC´s.
  • EmberstoneEmberstone Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited June 14
    Q) "How much does realism matter to you generally?"
    A) I prefer a realistic(ish) touch to the mechanics in a game. It increases the immersion. Although i'm not looking for a survival experience like having to eat/drink/sleep. More in the area of a beaten traveled road, thick and dark forest, puddles of water etc.

    Q) "What are some of the elements that make for a more “realistic” or “lifelike” world when you play a game, from NPCs to environments and beyond?..."
    A) After browsing the thread and a long thought, i got some points + descriptions that explains my perspective:

    Art style
    A simple but important point for me is a coherent art style. Players, npcs, pets, mounts, environment, new gear, pets, areas, etc etc. the whole shebang should fit together seemlessly. In my opinion you can't have one aspect of the game be fully fleshed out and the other lacking in design. It clashes with one another. It's got to look like it belongs. Again, a simple point, but important.

    Decoration/Aesthetics
    Decoration of the environment can tell a story of its own without it even being mentioned, and i love it. It adds to the atmosphere and lifelike vibe of the area. Catacombs with bones, webs, dust, tombs, urns. Cities with rats, litter, papers, benches, lights, animals, plants, lost bricks, crates, barrels, trees. Homes full of furniture and books, mugs and trinkets atop. Bookshelves, beds, loose planks, broomsticks, food, clothing, wheelbarrels, rocks, firewood, etc etc. Decoration that tells a story, shows its being lived at/in or is being visited. It adds so much.

    Lighting
    Good lighting makes the area more lifelike. Outside and in. A great example is the Dünir Dünheim dungeon that's already in the game. When you enter the dungeon half the vibe is the environment, and the other half is the insane lighting. More of this!

    Weather
    Weather can increase the lifelike feeling of a game tremendously. I believe this creates a huge atmospheric factor within the region you're in. When i hear weather i think of a windy day on a forest road, swaying trees and branches, grabbing leaves and picking up dust from the dirt road i am on. Flapping cloth pieces. Brushing the grass in meadows and creating small pockets of sand clouds in desert areas. The burning sun heating the surface and that rising heat in turn refracting the light and creating the waviness you usually see on a hot day. A heavy rainy downpour soaking armor, pets, party members, caravans and roads. Near waterfall like rooftops and overflowing gutters in cities. Perhaps evolving into a stormy day with thunder and the accompanying flash bouncing off of verra's surface. It'll eventually clear up and the sun sets on the remainder of the day with a warm orange glow blanketing the entire area. Night arriving and having a clear sky, able to display a multitude of stars and a galaxy maybe akin to our own milky way. Daybreak eventually arriving casting a fog over the area and waters, or just a foggy day all in all.

    Biomes
    You guys already made clear you take inspiration from all the biomes we have in real life and planning to add (most) of them as well, and i was happy to hear it. I added it on the list here to note that it's important for the lifelike aspect to me too. Mountains, plains, deserts, thick and dense forests, jungles, grasslands, tundras, marina. Everything.

    Elevation
    Just to tack this on there. Difference in elevation adds a lot to my feel of the game. It's an easy trick but sadly often forgotten in mmorpgs. Currently seeing plenty of elevation variety though, so keep it up!

    Invisible walls
    Close to none of these please. It breaks the lifelike feel of the game for me incredibly quickly. If you have to block an area. Add an object and put the wall in there as a backup to obscure it.

    Music & Ambient sound
    A very extremely important aspect to make the world feel alive and more realistic would be the background music. hearing a soothing song that compliments the scenery and the ambient sounds of the things happening drags you right into the world. The sound of wind blowing, leaves being dragged across the ground. Animals around you, dust being picked up, flapping material, raindrops hitting surfaces around you. hearing that same tapping of rain but muffled while being inside your cosy homestead. Pebbles being tossed around, crickets in the morning or during hot days. City sounds of people talking laughing and bartering in cities and towns. A muffled thud of some mage dropping a meteor outside the walls. Your sword or fireball hitting flesh/cloth/leather or metal. Too many ambient things to mention!

    Water physics
    Some nice physics when interacting with the water. Dripping gear, being slightly dragged along with the rivers' current, being bouyant.

    Mob AI
    Bosses always get mechanics that make them interesting. Areas to dodge, attacks to look out for, perhaps even blocking phases. I'd love if simple mobs can get more intriguing mechanics than just walking forward and hitting you when you're close enough. It doesn't even have to be revolutionary. Giving them a dodge, block, flee, dodgeable AoE or interruptable cast of sorts can already spice up the day to day grind and feels like the mobs arn't just mindless creatures in a gorgeous world.

    Mob level
    A good point made before in this thread was the strength of monsters being reflected in the level when you will face them.
    You face a rat at level 1-2, and a giant at perhaps level 40. Never the other way around. It would feel way more realistic if you had a upwards slope of beefy looking enemies to accompany the upwards slope of levels. I completely agree with this sentiment.

    Loot
    Have loot reflect where you are getting it from. Killed a boar and need his pelt? He only has one. Killed a stag and need his antlers? He has two. Need to collect raspberries for a pie? The bush could have 0-12. Things like that.

    Mobs idling
    Let mobs interact with the environment if possible. A boar scratching his side on a tree, a monkey in a tree having to be pulled by a ranged attack or a body pull. A humanoid on a platform jumping down off of it instead of pathing around, that sort of thing. It basically wraps back around to them not feeling as mindless creatures in a gorgeous world.

    Durability
    Have durability damage be reflected on our armor and maybe on the mob we killed. A cracked helm, scratched armor, a blunt sword a feint glowing staff etc. It adds to the realistic feel.

    While on the topic of equipment, perhaps even a blood drenched sword for a set period or a burnt enemy that was hit by a firebolt.

    NPCS
    NPCS don't have to be a static object in the world. They can bring it to life by roaming, commenting on the gear you're wearing, sitting down, picking up things from their stall or home, refilling bought stock from their stall, browsing other npc stalls, chatting, kids chasing each other, patrolling, being bussy working and actually moving things instead of making hand gestures above a crate.

    Add roleplaying NPC, basically :)

    Stalls
    Another great point mentioned in the thread. Give NPCs stalls instead of them just holding everything in their pocket and let them display their goods. Same for players! Whatever they are selling should be represented on their stall. Details like that enhance the experience!
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  • GrilledCheeseMojitoGrilledCheeseMojito Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Here's some that are relatively small in scope but big in impact:

    1. Different shoes ("Feet" armor slot) having different sounds when walking, and different sounds for terrain types. This is especially notable for the contrast between a heavily armored Tank and a Rogue, feeling the difference in the way you and those around you walk adds a lot.
    2. On a similar point to 1, ambient noises in the world in general, like buzzing insects, shifting branches, rushing rivers and crashing waves go a long way to helping the world feel more real. This applies to enemies as well - right now the sound design for enemies once they've engaged you is really good (I love the bears!), but "idle" sounds like their footsteps or occasional grunts/roars would be very good for this purpose as well.
    3. Having a handful of NPCs that travel between nodes or are present in different places at different times is helpful in feeling like these are breathing, organic towns where people actually live. In a lot of MMOs, townspeople tend to stay within their assigned area, even those that are specifically designated as "travelers" or "flighty" by their storyline, which makes their story appear flat. When such NPCs migrate based on their own internal triggers, it makes their story more relevant to a player's interaction with the world. A similar thing can be done with itinerant shopkeeps that travel between different towns selling rare things; having such an NPC in a certain node for a limited period of time gives motivation for players to travel and helps the world feel more connected.
    4. Day/night cycle and weather, especially different overall weather patterns in different parts of the map (e.g. heat waves with hazing in the desert, monsoons near the jungle, and so on). These weather patterns should also change the soundscape, for example branches and insects will get drowned out by the rain.
    5. NPCs reacting to events that occurred in their immediate vicinity, whether quest or node evolution related. People talking about how this town was just a crossroads a little while ago after the transition is a great way to keep the world feeling like it's changing.
    6. Longer respawn timers and more randomized spawn points for non-boss enemies would help a lot to making them feel like a natural part of the environment, as well as making the feeling of "having cleared out an area" or defeating a powerful opponent more prevalent. Right now respawn timers are quite low, and enemies respawn in the exact same spot, which can get pretty jarring when you've defeated something strong and fought it at its spawn spot or close enough to it that you'll get aggro'd while resting up after defeating the enemy. This ends up feeling like you didn't actually have any impact in the area despite the effort you put in, because it'll restore itself to the original state too quickly. With longer timers you can have a party feel like they're interacting with a world that ebbs and flows rather than a queue of monsters that keep reappearing.
  • SoggyBandaidSoggyBandaid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    What are some of the elements that make for a more “realistic” or “lifelike” world when you play a game, from NPCs to environments and beyond? How much does realism matter to you generally?
    For me the two things that make for a realistic experience when gaming are how well the environment and creatures fit with the game art style (as a whole and for a biome), and how realistic the NPC AI is without player interaction.

    Related to visual theme, I like games with an anime or fairy-tale art style, but I think either of those would be out of theme for AoC, and I would find it unrealistic if I wander around a corner and find NPCs (or player's in cosmetics) that look like they belong in a different game world. Another example would be discovering fire boar running in a forest. Boar live in a forest, but fire boar should probably have an impact of the theme for the biome (burning forest).

    Related to AI, I love when monsters treat other NPCs like PCs, and when they abide by similar rules to PCs. Predator type creatures should hunt prey throughout the world, and I should be able to pull a lion, tiger, and bear to me then have them run back to their respective squats when I die. Furthermore, the aggro leash is a huge immersion breaker for me, worse yet is the instant heal an immortal return. Mobs should fight each other over territory etc., I should be able to take advantage of that if I'm crafty, and if I screw up the creature should not just reset once I am "x" distance away.

  • froustysnomanfroustysnoman Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I think the best immersive environments to me, are the ones with alot of critters, and clear sound effects, so that if you close your eyes, you still know exactly what is around you, and the biggest "immersion breaker" is assets that pop in or out, like if you cut down a tree, do it like valheim, don't just have it vanish immediately
  • As long as it's pretty and is believable within the game world, I'm good with it.

    As an extra note, I love being able to climb everything in the environment. If it's there, there should be a way for me to climb to the top of it: Trees, rocks, fences, houses, flagpoles, etc.
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  • Variety
    For me it would be variety and location exclusivity. This includes:
    Structures
    Buildings or landscape points of interest that are cool to discover. Including hidden hard to find locations.
    Landscape/vegetation
    Like forest, desert, mountains, swamps, jungles, desolation.
    Mobs
    When locations/area's got their own unique mobs, it adds to the immersion. It also gives the area a fresh and unique look. And who knows wich mobs I did not discover?
    Weather
    This includes seasons, day and night cycles and moving sun (or other celestial body's over a given time?). Maybe a passing astroid that influences things in the world.
    Tides?
    Tides that uncover different parts of the content would be awesome.
    Verticality
    Going up and down. Caves, mountains, tree houses.

    And awesome sound/music!

    It would be less fun to travel true the world and discover copy paste locations. Knowing there are new and unique places to discover really motivates me. Realism adds to the immersion.
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