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  •  The AI is still limited..... (4+ / 0-)

    .....and very "artificial" at times. You never find out how damned complicated reality is until you try to simulate it. But yes, in a well-designed game, the other characters (NPC -- non-player characters) will change to reflect what you've done and what others know about you.

    Many games have a global "karma" system that tracks whether you are doing good or evil things, and adjusts the responses of the NPC accordingly. In Dishonored, for instance, there is a huge change in the game between the way it plays when you haven't killed anyone at all (fiendishly difficult, but possible and very challenging) and when you've shot everything that moves. The more people you kill, the less cooperative and sympathetic the NPC get, until some of them begin to betray you. The ten year old girl who is the heir-apparent to the throne is affected as well: if you are setting too violent an example, she becomes corrupted and violent herself. Even the pictures she draws in her spare time change, from happy to disturbing.

    The karma system may keep track of two values, how good you really are, and how good you seem to be to others. For instance, if you do something bad and leave no witnesses alive, your real karma will go down but your reputation will be unaffected. It's quite common for there to be different reactions to the same karma score from different groups -- evil characters becoming more cooperative if you're evil, and vice versa, or even separate reputations for each group, according to the way you've treated its members in the past. Sometimes, you have to deal with inherited prejudices: In Skyrim, for example Argonians simply don't like Khajiit, and vice versa, and if you're playing as a member of one of these groups, interactions with a member of the other will be handicapped.  Sometimes, you can bribe influential members of a group to raise your reputation with that group, or with the entire community. And it's quite common for casual NPC dialog to change according to your specific deeds or general reputation, or even the weapon you happen to be carrying: "Hey, aren't you the guy who...." or "Nice dagger. Who did you have to kill to get it?"

    Of course, since it isn't real life, there are always holes in the system, ways it can be manipulated to produce results that are absurd in real-life terms. One common one is group telepathy: things you do having an instant effect on the whole group rather than the news spreading in a more natural fashion, with the result that even totally isolated individuals instantly know what you did last summer, so to speak. And there's always somebody who will sit up nights for a week figuring out a way to assassinate the Emperor and get a parking-ticket-sized fine in return. But you usually have to go hunting for the absurdities these days, rather than having them shoved in your face.

    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

    by sagesource on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 11:50:34 AM PDT

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    •  Lovely subtleties. I like the two karma levels, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Monsieur Georges

      how some things get easier and some harder as you do good or bad deeds in Dishonored, and the attention to detail where the princess's behavior and even her drawings change.

      As I just said to SoCaliana, I'll bet there are some very interesting diaries to be written on the Video Games which have the best storytelling.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 09:16:42 PM PDT

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