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I would just like to see better tasks that are more than "get an item".
If I knew how to script missions I would love to have NPCs that sometimes appear at the bar and Skadovsk which give deeper/more interesting "story based" missions.
Maybe even give these NPCs a kind of personality (unknown to the player), and the way you respond to them determines how much or what they reward you with.
Perhaps random NPCs spawn in the wild with more interesting dialogue trees so that when you escort them you're not leading a blank NPC - perhaps you need to escort them to different places and at each marker they reveal more of their story.
Maybe there are two NPCs together and you can choose to take a mission from either of them, but if you talk to the other he says "I'll pay you more if you... blah blah" and you screw over the other guy.
But again I don't know how to make missions, let alone how hard it is. All I know it "get the item" doesn't make for engaging gameplay at all.
Are there any story line mods currently being worked on?
What kind of changes did you have in mind?
What those activities are depends on what the modding team is able to produce and in general I think Stalker is in a poor situation to remedy the problem. For example in games like Skyrim, Fallout, Deus Ex, that time can be spent reading journal entries, or emails, or any other number of in-world items that add depth to the game world and give the player a distraction from combat. In those same games many locations have much more detail in their environments and there is a plethora of items to be searched for loot, rather than the same few items in predetermined locations which must be spawned in. In other words, in Stalker, a player is never going to go to a location to "look around" because we know in advance there is nothing there. In other games there are many characters to talk to who are all almost tied to quests - content. In Stalker few NPCs provide quests, even fewer provide interesting quests, but the large majority of NPCs serve almost no purpose.
It would be great if players could approach NPCs and find content instead of "Don't know anything". NPCs could drop PDAs or notes which have information (descriptions) which the player can read (maybe even stashes described in words but not put on the PDA system so the player must use their wits) - maybe traders will buy different kinds of PDAs. Selling a PDA with scientific data on it to a loner won't fetch as much as it would to a scientist. Maybe different NPC groups could have different interests (i.e. some are more interested in buying drugs, warsaw weapons, western weapons, hunting gear etc) so each time you find a new NPC group you sell them specific things. Maybe random NPCs could have branching dialogue instead of a single reply so that conversations are more interactive. Perhaps these conversations could impact how they view the player? If the player is rude the NPC will end the conversation or refuse to trade. If the player is considerate maybe the NPC will give a discount or be willing to buy other items. Maybe random conversations could involve player choice to include their mood (helpful, mean, sarcastic, etc) but might also require handing over items or money to the NPC to hear the story. Maybe the story will end with a stash location in some cases.
In terms of slowing down combat, maybe combat doesn't need to be as deadly, but could require the player to instead focus on resource management. I know that sounds boring, but I'm thinking more like DayZ where you can get shot once and if you don't die you might manage to escape. And now "shooting" is only one part of combat; you're bleeding out slowly and your vision is losing colour, and your leg is fractured so you cant run at full speed, and you're going into shock so the screen is shaking; but you also need to escape the area so you're thinking about how far you can run before you need to stop and address your medical situation and hope you have what you need to patch up. Bandages and morphine and a splint. And you need to apply all of these one at a time after the other - no magical "medkit" to fix everything.
The goal of all of this would be that the player spends more time doing stuff other than combat. If you play Stalker with the mindset that it is just a shooter then of course you'll run out of things to shoot, so we need to distract the player. But that's probably not the answer you were looking for. :D
In hindsight I seem to have written a small essay here. I apologise, but hopefully someone finds it interesting.
I think in a lot of ways the maps themselves impact and influence the way players "progress", or I guess experience the gameplay loop. Many of the original maps from SoC and CS are corridors in disguise and they don't really facilitate players deviating from that style of gameplay. Any time you want to move through an area you need some form of content there. And because this isn't a true open world and because many of the maps are so linear enemies tend to be packed in the same spots. In Call of Pripyat it's almost the exact opposite issue - enemies are far and few between, but the maps themselves are wider and more open and as such have too much visibility. In Zaton and Yanov you can pretty much see the whole map from most major locations which often means you can see enemies a mile away.
Simply upping the NPC spawn rate doesn't help much either. When more enemies respawn more loot is farmed which can break the economy, so many modders combat this by making the economy/loot table tougher which can make looting pointless because a whole back pack worth of guns will barely cover the cost of resources it took just to travel (let alone the resources for combat). Depending on the mods used this means you can trudge around forever through artifical difficulty, and other times have more money than you will ever need.
Meanwhile, STALKER has two main ways to interact with the game world: shooting and talking. Shooting is obviously a focus, but is the gateway to progression and tied in with many other game systems (resource management, economy, trading, NPC spawns, so on and so forth). Talking on the other hand is, more often than not, negelcted. Talking to NPCs often only facilitates a reason or cause to be moving from one location to another in order to shoot things.
What am I trying to say here? Well, I think that when a game world feels empty because there's not enough enemies it's really because there's not enough to do in general. Think about it: in a pure shooter like Call of Duty or Halo, when you run out of enemies that's usually because you've cleared a section. So you need something else to do. In most shooters you move on to the next section, the next room, the next level, etc. You can't do that in a psuedo-openworld game and Stalker doesn't have a big enough world to travel or any other game mechanics to fill that gap betwen combat scenarios. What really needs to happen is that more time is spent between each combat situation filled with other activites so that players aren't simply waiting for the next wave of NPCs to spawn in, and on top of that, that combat is tweaked to be a longer experience without simply being a save-scumming affair.
I would like to see this (DayZ style slot system) coupled with the Lost Alpha style "Belt" system, so that you actually have to pull things out of your backpack as needed.
Any consideration to try and combine some maps into larger set pieces? I've always wanted to see the two Pripyat maps joined together for example.
This is something I've been dreaming of. Even simple "find the item" or "kill the stalker" quests could benefit from writers making quests more interesting through dialogue.
Not to mention dialogue is totally under utilised in the base games and most mods even though it's the only way to do any missions or story.
The map render is cool but I like the Los Alpha version more. This is another one of those maps which is easy to see why it was cut.
It's one of the worst maps and goes to show why content is cut. MAYBE if Darkscape and Dark Valley were joined together and the north of Dark Valley connected with Army Warehouses it would be more useful (connecting Warehouses to Cordon with a single map).
That said, I personally have grown to dislike the "linear" map designs. Call of Pripyat's maps were much better with their open and "radial" map designs where they have a central focal point.
But that's just me. Darkscape sucks any way you look at it.
Dumb question, can't campfires be made to be useable like a door? Don't need any player animations and we know fires can be turned on and off because NPCs can do it?
I'm not sure if this would even be possible, aside from finding people with the technical skills, time, and any issues implementing it, but what about content generation tools?
That is to say, a tool which would allow people (with non-technical skills) to script their own missions... select a mission giver, create dialogue trees, input mission objectives, spawn mission specific NPCs/items, mission triggers (e.g. picking up an item causes the next stage of the mission to trigger) and so forth.
If that was possible, then anyone could theoretically create their own missions. I'm sure there's a lot of people out there, writers who can't script missions, scripters who can't write stories, people who can't do either but have ideas, and so forth who might benefit from something like this.
Anyway, that's just my thought!
Good to see that you've added a little story to the stashes beyond "in the log near the car".
Please don't remind me about Lost Alpha!
Sorry if this has been asked or explained before, but do you guys have any plans to have more survival elements included? Not necessarily crafting, but things like hunting or preparing (cooking) food, a thirst status, more focus on bleeding/injured limbs etc, something like Minecraft or DayZ; or is it just going to be the usual STALKER stuff? Thanks.
Did I read that the Pripyat maps were going to be joined together? Or was that another mod? I was really looking forward to a joined map!
I know this probably isn't the best place to ask but I can no longer get 4.88.1 to work. It was working fine 2-3 months ago, and then the server list stopped showing. So I did a full reinstall of Freelancer and the mod and now if I try to refresh the server list or go back to the main menu the game freezes. If I manually install the Global Workaround I can get the server list to show but if I try to connect, refresh, or leave the server list window the game crashes. I reinstalled 4.87 and lo and behold it works fine, except that there are no 4.87 servers.
I've reinstalled Freelancer and the mod several times now with no luck.
Neat feature. How exactly does it work? For example, do areas of the map have bad air, or is there a constant bad air threat; if the latter does this mean we will always take damage (this could ruin poorly saved games) and if the former will there be an icon to show the air is bad?
Really liking these little details. It's a shame the devs never thought to allow players to start/put out these campfires or to cook food or do any camping stuff. But anyway, as I said these little details are really awesome. Can't wait to see what else you guys have done.
Any chance of being able to procure or hire followers? Everyone else in the Zone has friends, why don't I? :(
"...on second thought, maybe I'll go back to the bar..."
Ah that's awesome to hear. Is it possible to join a faction?
Is Sultan going to have more dialogue?
Does this mean that other statuses could be added also? Would it be possible add some like... broken bones and body temperature?
Grove Street for life!
Still waiting patiently! :) Can't wait.
Here's the thing about quests that make you travel so far - why? What's the point in sending me through 3 maps when all I am doing is "passing through"? And better question yet from a narrative point of view, why would a person require me to travel so far in the zone? Wouldn't they be conducting local business? And if the business is not local shouldn't they be sending someone they trust more?
Yeah I understand that. Fetch quests really need to have little stories attached to them, however, I do think that if there is lore surrounding "life in the Zone" that it would make sense for stalkers to undertake mundane tasks. Skyrim is a pretty good example of what NOT to do as it often sends players across the map to pick something up and send them back and there's often no compelling story to go with it beyond some NPc who lost it (and it raises the question of why a lowly store owner was in an ancient ruin with bears and trolls and somehow lost his family heirloom in the deepest reaches of the cave).
Honestly I think Stalker needs a lot more quests like this. In that I mean "repeatable" quests whose dynamic attributes come from the world itself. Stalker can become quite static, but I think it would be fantastic if factions, groups or even individuals could have a list of quests they need done (perhaps randomly cycled through).
Maybe stalkers need a simple "find this item for me" quest or a "raid this location" - maybe for Freedom and Duty simple quests like "assassinate the Freedom/Duty squad/squad leader" - perhaps traders could give simple tasks like "take this item to another trader (or special NPC)" type quests.
I'm just ranting.