February 9, 2018
#2: Modeling Social Dynamics in Gaming with Ben Samuel

Ben Samuel talks about his “social physics” engine that drives the social dynamics within his indie game Prom Week where you’re able to guide interactions between high school students in a social simulation during the week leading up to prom. The engine models bidirectional relationships, unidirectional social networks, personality traits, ephemeral status, cultural facts knowledge, and a history of social facts and relationships. All of these factors dictate the types of interactions each character can have other characters. It provides a mechanism for interactive storytelling that allows the player a lot of flexibility in exploration and experimentation within the bounded context of these relationships and how they can grow or devolve over time based upon your actions.

Samuel calls his engine “Comme il Faut,” which translates to “as it should be,” and it’s been used on other AI-driven experiences including Bad New Game (co-produced by Samuel), and the IMMERSE project.

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