2006 IEEE IS

Maria Cutumisu, Duane Szafron, Jonathan Schaeffer, Matthew McNaughton, Thomas Roy, Curtis Onuczko, and Mike Carbonaro, Generating Ambient Behaviors in Computer Role-Playing Games, IEEE Intelligent Systems, 21(5), Sept./Oct. 2006, 19-27. abstract or pdf. (A preliminary version of this paper appeared as: LNAI 3814, Springer-Verlag (Intetain Conference 05), 2005, 34-43).


Many computer games use custom scripts to control the ambient behaviors of non-player characters (NPCs). Therefore, a story writer must write fragments of computer code for the hundreds or thousands of NPCs in the game world. The challenge is to create entertaining and non-repetitive behaviors for the NPCs without investing substantial programming effort to write custom non-trivial scripts for each NPC. Current computer games have simplistic ambient behaviors for NPCs; it is rare for NPCs to interact with each other. In this paper, we describe how generative behavior patterns can be used to quickly and reliably generate ambient behavior scripts that are more realistic, entertaining and non-repetitive, even for the more difficult case of interacting NPCs. We demonstrate this approach using BioWare Corp.'s Neverwinter Nights game.