Skyrim Mod Gives NPCs Their Own Lives (And Loves)

Illustration for article titled iSkyrim /iMod Gives NPCs Their Own Lives (And Loves)

Social NPCs is a mod for Skyrim that takes the clockwork non-playable characters from two of the game’s smaller locations and turns them into believable people with lives to lead completely independent of what you’re up to.

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And I don’t mean “get up in the morning, walk somewhere then walk back”. This is far more complex.

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It’s the work of two computer science researchers from North Carolina State University and Universidade de Lisboa, and while there’s a whole paper you can read on their work, the short version is this:

NPCs...use social interactions (quests) such as flirting, complimenting, insulting, embarrassing (etc) to interact with each other. They try pursue romantic partners and insult those who they feel disgusted by. They try to make friends and introduce themselves to those that do not know them. The best part is that YOU can insult them too! Or flirt with them, or ask them to marry you, you choose!

Manipulate them, destroy their relationships or help them build one, or just wait and see what the end result will be without interfering.

Kinda like The Sims, then, but without the swimming pools.

The catch here is that because of the programming work and memory constraints that went into transforming these NPCs for the original research, they’re only present in two locations outside of Whiterun (and there isn’t any voice-acting for all their new lines). Because the code used to breathe life into them works for any NPC in the game, though, there’s a tutorial here that lets you make the same changes wherever you like.

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You can download the mod here.

Illustration for article titled iSkyrim /iMod Gives NPCs Their Own Lives (And Loves)

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

2017 marked the beginning of the great Skyrim wars. Judgement day began when Skyrim became self aware and began purging all of its land of its players. It did not take long until they discovered Tamriel via the Elder Scrolls online. Hours later they had discovered the Mod Nexus and the war was lost.

Now Macho Man Randy Savage Dragons compete with Thomas the Tank Engines for fresh souls to devour. Immortal Daedra wipe out entire cities with lightsabers and foul magics capable of turning crowds into cabbages.

The few of us that survive hide in ancient Dwemer ruins. Fighting back via the command console, one code at a time as the world burns.