How the Perceived Identity of a NPC Companion Influences Player Behavior

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This paper explores how the perceived identity of a Non-Player Character (NPC) effects a players behaviour in computer games. We explore whether the players will change their behaviour towards a synthetic in-game companion if it assumes different identities. Specifically, will the players change their behaviour if they interact with an identical artificial intelligence, assuming a guise of a human or robot companion. To investigate this question we developed a top-down, 2D on-line game where the player is given the objective of surviving successive waves of hostile opponents. As a secondary objective the player is asked to protect a unarmed male, female or robot companion. The intention is to explore whether the player is more protective over a known NPC assuming either a human or non-human identity. The results of our study indicate that superficially changing the identity of an AI companion can have a dramatic influence over the players behaviour. The players in this study are shown to be significantly more protective to human rather than robot companions, despite the underlying AI being identical. Moreover, our results highlight further differences between the male and female companions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransactions on Computational Science
Subtitle of host publication Special Issue on Cyberworlds and Cybersecurity
EditorsMarina L. Gavrilova, C.J. Kenneth Tan, Alexei Sourin
Place of PublicationBerlin, Heidelberg
PublisherSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-3-662-53090-0
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
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