NPC Depth

Are there any good examples of games with strong NPCs which have their source code available?

I was thinking of NPCs that do things on their own- walk around, pick stuff up, use them, have goals, start convestations with other NPCs, etc. I don’t know if that was ever really done before, but NPC coding is certainly a weak point of mine.

Any suggestions?

There’s probably some debate on what makes a strong NPC… I personally would doubt that having them pick stuff up or talk to other NPCs will be very interesting.

But you should check Alabaster, for a very strong NPC.

There are a bunch of games with active NPCs on this list. Some of them have source code available; I’d especially recommend Child’s Play for NPCs who interact with each other and the game world to help and/or hinder the player.

Fill in the blanks!

Freight Company Warehouse
While two of his thugs hold you back, Kaspar Gutman stands over the Maltese Falcon.

You can only watch as Gutman BLANK the Maltese Falcon.

If two NPCs wander into the same location, what would be interesting about them somehow failing to notice one another?

Motel Room
Laura’s husband, Sam, sits on the edge of the bed. He looks nervous.

remove tie
Slowly you undo Sam’s necktie, brushing your fingers over his stubble. “Relax sweetie,” you whisper, “no-one ever needs to know.”

Laura enters from the north.

I also wrote up my thoughts on and experiences with creating the Child’s Play NPCs. You can read the write-up at … snpcs.html

Pacian has some good examples there. I think though that they would usually be scripted plot and conversation events.

I more meant that I doubt loading up some NPCs with some form of AI and then hoping for interesting emergent behaviour will work.

This is good information.

I’m trying to make a puzzle where you need to stop a bunch of people from playing dungeons and dragons. The solution is- if you can get all but one of them to cancel, the last one can’t play.

Each person has a set of circumstances that will make him not show up- one won’t go if his girlfriend can get theater tickets, for example.

But I want the D&D game to evolve based on the people who actually show up.

Also you have a spell that allows you to summon NPCs to your location. I want them to be able to react to summoning and get back to their spots, etc. Having them walk back home is one thing. Summoning Sarah into Jen’s room should evoke reactions from each.


Lol. One of the gamers has an object you need in his car. You have to follow him to the car when the game “ends” to learn which car is his and to get the object out. The game will go on until you can get all the players to stop playing.

It’s based on our own D&D group too.