Chapter 2.8. Emotioneering Techniques Category #8: NPC Toward NPC Relationship Deepening Techniques
Giving NPCs layers of feelings toward their fellow digital creations.
illustrates ways, with very little reliance on dialogue, to make it feel like two NPCs have a rich and complex relationship.
Revisiting a thought from Chapter 2.4, if I were to ask you how you felt about your mother, father, brother, or sister, you might respond, "Well, that's kind of complicated…."
Which is exactly the point of this chapter. We often feel several emotions simultaneously toward a person. If we can capture this in the relationships between NPCs, we add to their life-likeness. If we don't, we've missed a great opportunity to create a more emotionally immersive environment.
Two NPCs can have layers of feelings toward each other.
Here's a hypothetical game example: You lead a SWAT team. On your team is a seasoned Veteran, as well as a Rookie. The truth is, the Rookie is braver and a better shot than the Veteran. The Veteran, however, is a smarter tactician and less likely to get the group killed.
In this kind of situation, I like to diagram the layers of feelings of each character toward the other. To simply this example, we'll focus on only the feelings of the Veteran toward the Rookie. The diagram could have one, two, three, or more layers.
In this relationship, the Veteran feels a variety of things toward the Rookie: (1) Protective, (2) Admiring, and (3) Jealous, and the Rookie makes him (4) Feel Nostalgic for His Youth.
I call this technique of a character feeling several layers of feelings toward another Layer Cakes. I use this expression because the image of a layer cake easily conjures the image of layers.
If you're designing a relationship like the one between the Veteran and the Rookie, you might decide that one or two of the layers the Veteran feels toward the Rookie are present more often than the others, or you may opt to give them all equal weight.