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Translating NPC Drives to Behaviors (Weise Zombie Project)

Last time I talked about the three basic behaviors any NPC might undertake on its own--seek out resources, find a place to hide, or fight zombies. I also mentioned we had come up with a variety of personal character traits for any NPC that might affect their desire to undertake any of these three actions.

Progressing onward, we wanted to look at how specific situations (like those that could conceivably arise within game-play) might alter these characteristics and, thus, the NPCs behavior.

Let's begin our exploration with a few examples using the basic drives of an NPC, as discussed in the last post.

Lack of resources

In an extreme case, the lack of basic resources will cause an NPC to lose the will to survive (extreme drop in S -> loss of interest in all activities. Similarly, this may cause severe irrationality in the NPC. 'Irrationality' itself is a vague term, so we go further to define what this might mean for an NPC.

  • An NPC may have greater will to fight (engage danger, D) at the expense of other life or gaining the resources they need
  • It may be less likely to follow orders, even if it 'likes' or 'trusts' another player
  • It may lose interest in others and wander on its own or fail to follow the group (G)
Mental/ Physical Ailments

Any physical or mental shock will obviously affect stamina. These afflictions may decrease an NPC's likelihood to join group (may not be 'up for it'). It may increase an NPC's willing to sacrifice itself for the group. Specific ailments (like diabetes) may increase the NPC's demand for resources.

Higher Level Needs

Unsurprisingly, higher level needs (Social, self-actualization, etc) tended to generate more complex behaviors in our own imaginations.
For instance, if an NPC was predisposed to disliking a character of type 'B', the NPC...

  • Will distrust characters of this type

  • Is less likely to save type B's from danger

  • Is not likely to follow type B's

  • Has a higher likelihood of setting type B's up/ sacrificing them

  • May lie to type B's

  • May withhold resources from type B

Similarly, if Sarah loves Joe and Sarah is killed, Joe might

  • Lose the will to live

  • Stop all actions

  • Hate another character for not doing anything

  • Seek revenge (zombies, character)

  • Lose trust for another character

  • Sacrifice himself

  • Save her at cost of others

  • Stop Zombie Sarah at all costs

  • Try to recover Zombie Sarah to rehabilitate her (impossible)

  • Become obsessed with other distraction (coping mechanism)

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