Over on his blog the other day, Gareth Fouche posted about dynamic content in games. Events that happen in the world without waiting for the player to do something.

As he points out, most jobs in RPGs sit around waiting for you to come by and ask for them, and nothing much happens until you do that. Indeed, the whole world is pretty much the same. Very little occurs that isn’t triggered by player action of one kind or another.

That is one reason why, at times, the world feels static: it is static. Almost everything is scripted. Gareth gives some interesting examples from a game titled Space Rangers that had non-scripted events, that made the world (or outer space, the galaxy, whatever) seem more alive.

I think he has something there. Why should everything run on a script? Why should everything wait for the player to come along? Why not have a more dynamic world in which to roam?

If that old game could do it, why can’t developers today pull it off? Maybe there’s too much emphasis on story, so designers are locked into a linear thought mode.

Of course, we don’t want a whole bunch of random events getting in the way of the main line. That would lead to chaos and frustration. But surely the devs of today can find unscripted ways of jazzing things up a bit. Naturally, that would take some careful thought, and maybe a non-linear way of thinking.

After all, one does get tired of a world that never changes, that holds few surprises that aren’t scripted into the game. I’d certainly like to see some interesting things happen each time I played through. Or even the first time. Check out the post and see what you think.

Dynamic Quests on Gareth’s blog