AI controlled life in Role-playing games

Will more realistic behaviour among non-playing characters (NPCs) in a role-playing game(RPG) improve the overall feeling of the game for the player? Would players notice the enhanced life of a NPC in a role-playing game, or is the time spent in cities and villages insufficient to notice any difference at all? There are plenty best-selling RPGs with simplistic, repetitive NPC behaviour on the market. Does that mean that smarter NPCs is not necessary and that an improvement of them wouldn’t benefit the players’ impression of it? Or would some of these well recognised games get even better with a more evolved AI?


Differences between Game AI and Academic AI
Research Limitations
Target Audience
Role-playing computer games background
Role-playing games in general
Forgotten Realms
Problem Identification
The Default Neverwinter Nights 2 NPC AI
Hypothesis and Research Questions
Evaluation of some promising AI techniques
Smart Terrain
Smart terrain for NPCs in role-playing games
Dynamic Scripting
Dynamic Scripting for NPCs and conclusions
The work process
Phase 1: Problem identification and research
Phase 2: Implementation
Brief introduction to event-handling in Neverwinter Nights 2
Smart Terrain event handling
Brief Introduction to Pathfinding
Pathfinding for the Smart Terrain NPCs
Realistic movement – not the only benefit with waypoints
Smart Object Interaction
Phase 3: The Tester evaluation process
Result Analysis
Research question and Hypothesis testing
Error Discussion
Error Analysis – AI implementation phase
Error Analysis – The testing phase
Future Work

Author: Bertil Jeppsson

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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