Intrinsically Motivated General Companion NPCs via Coupled Empowerment Maximisation
Non-player characters (NPCs) in games are traditionally hard-coded or dependent on pre-specified goals, and consequently struggle to behave sensibly in ever-changing and possibly unpredictable game worlds. To make them fit for new developments in procedural content generation, we introduce the principle of Coupled Empowerment Maximisation as an intrinsic motivation for game NPCs. We focus on the development of a general game companion, designed to support the player in achieving their goals. We evaluate our approach against three intuitive and abstract companion duties. We develop dedicated scenarios for each duty in a dungeon-crawler game testbed, and provide qualitative evidence that the emergent NPC behaviour fulfils these duties. We argue that this generic approach can speed up NPC AI development, improve automatic game evolution and introduce NPCs to full game-generation systems.