Thanks to Chase working on this algorithm for about a week, we have pathfinding for the NPCs!
I'm still working on optimizing it to run faster and bug-free, but for the most part, a NPC will run after the player.
Hopefully I'll have it ready to show you guys shortly.
I also want to make it so when a NPC spots a player for the first time, an exclimation (or maybe the food one, that'd be sexier) emoticon pops up above the NPC's head. Weeee, tiny insignificant details!!
So far, the algorithm takes about 2-4 miliseconds (that is 1/1000th of a second) to find the path from NPC to the player in a little maze when the player is about 20 tiles (walking distance, not absolute distance) away. A lot faster then you thought it was, aye Chase?
I think it was just those DoEvents and the way the NPC AI is handled at the time which made it seem so slow.
Edit: Also wanted to add that the time it took is while running the server in the IDE (not compiled) AND having the client on the same computer AND on a piece of crap (600mhz, 16mb gfx card) computer. On a decent dedicated host server, it would be soooooo much faster.
Edit 2: Crap, compiled it takes 0~1 miliseconds. Looks like I will have to run the routine a few times just to make it take longer to get a more accurate result on how my improvements are doing.