Dynamic NPCs in IF

Has anyone ever played any IF that featured surprisingly intelligent or intuitive characters?

I just have story scenarios in my brain that revolve around the other characters reacting or interacting with your character in interesting ways based on what you’ve done or how you’ve treated them. I remember playing the game Façade a long time ago and diggin’ it.

I have not played Galatea - by Emily Short yet, but I’ve heard it is compared to Façade for reasons I’ve yet to discover.

Anyway, any suggestions for dynamic NPCs in IF games would be appreciated. Thanks!


Perhaps “It” by Emily Short? I read through the source of that game to get inspiration for making my own NPCs have some autonomy…

I should say rather, she herself mentioned the game when I made a post on here asking if there was any TADS source I could look at to see how authors have implemented NPC autonomy…


The game Blue Lacuna has one very well-developed NPC, an old man on an island. The whole game is huge, but that guy is a highlight. He has some autonomy and adapts to your responses.

Varicella has multiple NPCs with their own agendas that can react to different pieces of evidence you have or other actions, like violence. It’s a pretty grim game (one reason I stopped playing IF for five years) but has many good points.

Emily Short’s The Mary Jane of Tomorrow has a robot NPC that you can program in many interactive ways and has some proc gen to it, giving a truly responsive NPC.

The Best Individual NPC XYZZY Award is a great way to find good games. Looking on that list, I see:

Alabaster, which is like Galatea but has Snow White as the main NPC, and is co-written by many people, including Emily Short.


So, I just have written this apologia for The Hobbit:


So… there are some games with dynamic NPC and emergent narratives.

Here are some examples proposed by my friend Pablo “Depresiv”:

Kentilla: https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/6527/ZX-Spectrum/Kentilla

Twin Kingdom Valley: https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/7144/ZX-Spectrum/Twin_Kingdom_Valley

Sherlock: https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/6968/ZX-Spectrum/Sherlock

Valhalla https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/7152/ZX-Spectrum/Valhalla

In Spanish, we have a series called “El anillo” which performs with mini-worlds with a lot of autonomous NPCs. It is something to behold. And the original game was constructed in PAW for Spectrum 48K micro.


Also, in the last days of Level 9, their system was quite neat about NPCs, I recommend playing Knight Orc, and even more, literary efforts like Lancelot, or Spaceghost are full of complex NPCs.


Ah! I forgot about Inkle Studios’ Overboard!


I very much enjoy one of the NPCs in The Edifice, who is surprisingly human.


Best of Three primarily revolves around you talking to your former high school crush, Grant. His posture changes depending on the topics he brings up, and it’s pretty interesting to read what he has to say.