Design Diary: Gossip (3)

January 13th, 2013

Today’s problem concerns the way that an NPC should react to another character’s statement of affinity or statement of indirect affinity. That reaction is an adjustment to the NPC’s affinity for the speaker that is commensurate with the magnitude of the statement’s deviation from the expected value. For example, if Bara tells Owen that Max is nasty, and Owen believed that Bara thought Owen to be nice, then Owen will think that Bara is lying to him and will downgrade his affinity for her.

But should Owen base his decision on his perceivedAffinity of Bara for Max or on his own affinity for Max? There are two competing principles to consider:

1. If I think she’s lying to me, I like her less. If I think she’s telling the truth, then I like her more.
2. If she feels the same way I feel about Owen, then I like her more. If she feels differently, I like her less.

If we use #2, we risk the lock on victory by telling everybody what you think they want to hear.

Jeez, the answer is obvious: use BOTH principles!