The Workshop on Non-Player Characters and Social Believability

The Non-Player Characters and Social Believability in Games Workshop is a point of interaction for researchers and game developers interested in different aspects of modeling, discussing, and developing believable social game agents and Non-Player Characters (NPC). This includes discussions around behavior based on social and behavioral science theories and models, social affordances when interacting with and in game worlds and more. We have previously hosted the workshop at ACE and DiGRA in 2013, FDG in 2014, AIIDE in 2015, and DiGRA in 2016. Before this year this workshop was called the Social Believability in Games Workshop, but for this year we have decided to make target area of the workshop more explicit by changing the name.

The purpose of this workshop is to facilitate discussion on the theories and models for NPC social behavior and social affordances in industry as well as between different but related academic disciplines. We expect this workshop to result in a clearer vision of what NPC studies is as a field, and how this workshop should develop in the future. Additionally, we hope to foster collaboration between different research groups, in particular of an interdisciplinary nature.

From the beginning of digital games, AI has been part of the main idea of games containing acting entities, which is to provide the player with “worthy” opponents (NPCs). The development of multiplayer games has increased the demands put on the NPCs as believable characters, especially if they are to cooperate with human players. However, the social aspect of intelligent behavior has been neglected compared to the development and use AI for other domains (e.g. route planning). In particular, the interplay between intelligent behavior that is task-related, the emotions that may be attached to the events in the game world, and the social positioning and interaction of deliberating entities is underdeveloped. This workshop aims to address this by putting forward demonstrations of work in the integration of these three aspects of intelligent behavior, as well as models and theories that can be used for the emotional and social aspects, and for the integration between the three aspects.