A Non-player Character (NPC) is an entity within Star Citizen that is not controlled by a player in real-time. Star Citizen uses 5 different types of NPCs to populate the Persistent Universe.
Types of NPCs
- Character - Character NPCs are Real NPCs that are critical to the storyline or mission, many using A-list actors. Most of the character NPCs were completed fully by CIG using motion capture acting with professional actors. The Squadron 42 portion of Star Citizen uses Character NPCs to script the story.
- Simulated - Simulated NPCs make up the background of the Persistent Universe. They are endowed with basic personality traits, utilize resources from the economy and react as a mass population would to help simulate the masses of the cities, planets, systems, and universe. Simulated NPCs are not visually represented in Persistent Universe, however the greater the simulated NPC population, the greater the represented population by Real NPCs at places like the landing zone or shops.
- Probabilistic - Probabilistic NPCs are basic algorithms that are basic back-end NPCs that are less NPC and more probabilities. These NPCs will not have direct interaction with the player character.
- Virtual - Virtual NPCs or "spoofed" NPCs are non-existent in the PU until required for the Dynamic Mission System. When a mission is created, a virtual NPC is created. Once a mission is accepted, the Virtual NPC is converted into a Real NPC for the duration of its interaction with the player character.
- Real - Real NPCs are NPCs that are fully simulated within the Persistent Universe, to include a visual representation. All Character NPCs are real NPCs. These types of NPCs are very resource-intensive which is why simulated, probabilistic and virtual NPCs are required. Real NPCs have a series of subroutines that define their behaviors, like the engineer, hygiene, hawker, and tourist behaviors. The first pass on the engineer handles maintenance operations for wall panels inside ships and hangars, including inspecting internal fuses and replacing them if damaged. The initial implementation of the hygiene behavior gives NPCs the ability to use toilets, sinks, and showers, while the Hawker is a generic activity that handles various street vendors and speakers. For example, NPCs manning hotdog or taco stands. The first pass on the tourist behavior deals with characters going to and traveling around areas to look at points of interest.
NPC behavior algorythms
- Arcade Machine - AI behavior where the AI will play multiple rounds on an arcade machine, with varied emotional results depending on if they win or lose.
- Commuter - The AI will search for means to travel to their destination. While waiting for a vehicle to arrive, the AI will eat, drink, and check notice boards or timetables. Upon the arrival of the transport, the AI will board and embark to their destination.
- Dancing - After work, some civilians will have the urge to spend time at a nightclub and dance the night away. This will bring new life and movement to Star Citizen's bars.
- Ground vehicles - The NPC's controlling and driving ground vehicles will develop paths that can take care of the vehicle's physical abilities to transform the NPCs movement request into actual movement.
- Hawker - The NPC will stand out in front of a shop or stall and will try to attract customers and persuade bystanders to look and buy the offered goods.
- Illegal goods dealer - A new roaming ‘Vendor’ AI behaviour that brokers illegal products, located mostly wandering around shadowy and secretive areas, this dealer trades without a license or permission and is always on the lookout for security.
- Janitor - The NPC will do tasks commonly associated with janitors, like cleaning and small maintenance.
- Leisure - The leisure behavior controls how the AI behaves when they have free time during their schedule. AI will create a lifelike environment by relaxing and having fun, using the things that are available to them, such as exercise equipment, jogging routes, TV monitors, seats/benches, and their mobiGlas.
- Medical - A patient will arrive at the hospital and check themselves in at a terminal then wait to be seen called to a room for a diagnosis. The patient can then see doctors and nurses tending to sick and injured people. Other patients will wait to be called. Doctors and nurses can be seen washing their hands, checking medical stock and dispensing medicine. Some patients will be asleep in medical beds.
- Off duty activities/sleep/hygiene - NPCs will sleep, schedule toilet breaks, sometimes washing hands, and increasing hygiene values by taking daily showers.
- Combat, Untrained - Untrained characters (such as civilians) reactions in battle scenarios. Civilian AI will be able to use weapons to defend themselves in threatening situations, and will try to preserve their lives using cover or surrendering when necessary.
- Star Citizen Monthly Report: January 2021. Transmission - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2021-02-04