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Towards an updated typology of non-player character roles
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing / [ed] Piet Kommers, Pedro Isaías, Heredina Fernandez Betancort, International Association for Development of the Information Society , 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In video games, non-player characters (NPCs) provide important services in that they facilitate the player's interaction with the game in a way that is in accordance with the expectations set by the narrative. It is, however, still unclear in what ways these NPCs must act, look, and feel in order to fulfill these expectations. In this study we aim to establish a typology of the roles NPCs play in games, building on a previous typology by Bartle (2004) aimed at providing a framework for describing the requirements put on NPCs by these expectations. This was done via an online survey, where respondents were asked to classify NPCs in images from 4 games, and to provide a description of why they classified it as belonging to a certain role. The results of the survey were the analyzed for instances where players expressed confusion about which role an NPC belonged to. These findings were used to update the previous typology. The results from this were later verified by applying the new typology to 10 other games. In the end we identified a number of new roles, as well as modifications to existing roles, which when combined with Bartle’s original typology created a typology applicable to a larger number of genres.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Association for Development of the Information Society , 2015.
Keyword [en]
Non-player characters, roles, affordance, interaction, games, evaluation
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122893ISBN: 978-989-8533-38-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122893DiVA: diva2:868679
Conference
IADIS International Conference Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain 22 - 24 July 2015
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2016-03-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Non-Player Character: Exploring the believability of NPC presentation and behavior
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Non-Player Character: Exploring the believability of NPC presentation and behavior
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Over the last few decades there has been immense growth in the video game industry, and we have seen great improvements in both graphics and audio. Unfortunately, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and non-player characters (NPCs) has not proceeded at the same pace. Although there have undoubtedly been improvements, the field as a whole has lagged behind its siblings.

Many of the problems with NPCs stem from the fact that they do not achieve a sufficient level of believability, particularly in the social arena. This is primarily related to the fact that the NPCs do not behave in ways that align with the expectations of the player. This can lead to the player misunderstanding the role and purpose of the NPC, which damages the believability of the game. By extension, this lessens the enjoyment the player can derive from the game. Hence, it is imperative that the design of the NPC be in line with player expectations.

This thesis takes a holistic view of NPCs, encompassing their design, evaluation, and player perceptions. It uses a design science methodology, and primarily uses qualitative and interpretative methods. It will provide a description of the various types of NPCs found in games, what their design elements are, and how they are interpreted by players.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2016. 118 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 16-003
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128079 (URN)978-91-7649-379-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, Aula NOD, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript. Paper 6: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-03-17 Last updated: 2017-02-24Bibliographically approved

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