The ability of agents to make actions that are unexpected.
The rules and goals of games often make it possible to predict the behavior of agents in the game world to a certain extent, and learning to do so is often part of the enjoyment and challenge of mastering a game. However, in some cases it may be desirable to have unpredictability in agent behavior, either to make the game more challenging or to create more suspense. Agents that at least sometimes are difficult to know what they will do next have Unpredictable Behavior.
- 1 Examples
- 2 Using the pattern
- 3 Consequences
- 4 Relations
- 5 History
- 6 References
- 7 Acknowledgments
The ELIZA program can surprise people by seeming to follow human behavior in quickly changing subject or making strange connections. However, this is merely an artifact of a simple dialogue system that intentionally expresses itself vaguely so people need to read much into what it says for it to have any meaning.
Using the pattern
Unpredictable Behavior is a pattern for modifying how Agents behave. The easiest way to create the possibility for this is simply to let players control the agents but Game Masters can be more appropriate for Non-Player Characters.
Algorithmic Agents can be modified to exhibit this behavior also, in this case typically through Randomness but sufficiently complex rule-based behaviors can also produce this result as can vagueness which ELIZA shows.
While displaying previously unknown Abilities or Powers can be a form of Unpredictable Behavior, this is only the case for the first such events since after experiencing it players can assume that it might occur again.
Cut Scenes can be used to make Agents have Unpredictable Behavior for specific situations since the Agents do not need to abide to game rules during these events, but this is of course only unpredictable the first time players encounter the situation in which the Cut Scene took place.
The use of Unpredictable Behavior can give the illusion of Agents having Own Agendas which indirectly can support Thematic Consistency in Game Worlds. Rather obvious, Unpredictable Behavior can create Uncertainty of Outcome and Surprises, and thereby work against a game having Predictable Consequences.
with AI Players or Game System Player
Can Be Instantiated By
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.
- Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007) Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters. Proceedings of DiGRA 2007.