Sense of Self

From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Algorithmic Agents that consistently react appropriate to events concerning it or to its internal states.

Agents controlled by game system can affect game instances in much the same way as players can. However, they do not just because of this seem to have any self-awareness. One ability that can help give this appearance is that these agents have a Sense of Self in that they show that they care about their own situation in a consistent fashion.


In the Assassin's Creed series, opponent fight or flee depending on the odds, showing a limited Sense of Self. Enemies that players are fighting in the Elder Scrolls series behave in the same fashion.

Using the pattern

Sense of Self is a way to modulate Algorithmic Agents by implementing this pattern in its algorithms. Typically all games with Algorithmic Agents have some level of the pattern since these Agents need to be able to react to its environment with actions to have any agency, but players' will disregard a perceived Sense of Self as soon as some failure to show this has been noticed. This means that providing Sense of Self can require reacting to threats or what could potentially be threats, as well as showing memory of earlier events. Awareness of Surroundings and Memory of Important Events can help create these abilities.


Sense of Self makes Algorithmic Agents have one particular type of Emotional Attachment, namely that related to themselves. This can help make them show that they have Own Agenda and in many cases help create Thematic Consistency.


Can Instantiate

Emotional Attachment, Own Agenda, Thematic Consistency

Can Modulate

Algorithmic Agents

Can Be Instantiated By

Algorithmic Agents, Awareness of Surroundings, Memory of Important Events

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



A rewrite of a pattern that was part of the original collection in the paper Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters[1].


  1. Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007) Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters. Proceedings of DiGRA 2007.