NPC (Non-Player Character) Bibliography


Tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, thrive on human interaction and imagination. In these realms, a player assumes the role of their character, reacting spontaneously to the unfolding story. Here, the “non-player character” descriptor emerges naturally. These characters, controlled by the game master or dungeon master, contrast directly with player-controlled characters. The term emphasizes the distinction between human agency and narrative structure, reminding participants that not every entity they meet springs from a player’s imagination. Instead, some are tools of the storyteller, helping to guide, challenge, or surprise the players.

Video games, on the other hand, are digital constructs where every action is dictated by lines of code. In these virtual worlds, characters are categorized based on their playability. Hence, the term “non-playable character” finds its relevance. It differentiates between avatars players can control and those designed purely for interaction. While both player characters and non-playable characters operate under programmed directives, the distinction lies in the player’s agency. NPCs in video games, whether they are merchants, quest givers, or simple bystanders, underscore the game’s mechanics and intricate design. They act as waypoints or narrative tools, pushing the player through the digital narrative or offering moments of immersion.

The choice between “non-player” and “non-playable” is more than a mere semantic difference; it’s a reflection of gaming’s diverse landscape. Tabletop games emphasize human interaction and spontaneity, leading to the adoption of a term that highlights the human vs. narrative element. Video games, being structured digital environments, require a term that focuses on player agency and game design.

See also:

100 Best ChatGPT NPC Videos | 100 Best Electronic Arts NPC Videos | 100 Best Fortnite NPC Videos | 100 Best Games with NPCs | 100 Best GPT-3 NPC Videos | 100 Best NPC Videos | 100 Best Pokemon Go NPC Videos | 100 Best Roblox NPC Videos | 100 Best The-Sims NPC Videos | NPCEditor (USC ICT) | NPC (Non-Player Character) & Chatbots | NPC (Non-Player Character) & Social Simulation | SecondLife NPC & Artificial Intelligence


  • Africa, A. M. M., Cortez, K. A. G., Fontanilla, G. K. A., Go, P. M. O., & Cheng, D. C. (2022). CAN: Case-based reasoning in an adversarial non-player character.
  • Belle, S., Gittens, C., & Graham, T. N. (2022, January). A framework for creating non-player characters that make psychologically-driven decisions. In 2022 IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE) (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
  • Carroll, D. (2022). Attention and Communication in Virtual Worlds: Interacting with Non-Player Characters in Virtual Reality.
  • Chan, H. Y., Liu, S. W., & Hou, H. T. (2022). An Analysis of the Acceptance and Anxiety of a Historical Strategic Planning Game by Combining Real Person Non-player Character Mechanism.[Paper presentation]. In The 14th Asian Conference on Education (ACE2022), Japan.
  • Cheng, D. C., Fontanilla, G. K. A., Africa, A. M. M., Cortez, K. A. G., & Go, P. M. O. (2022). Adaptation of an adversarial non-player character through case based reasoning.
  • Dzardanova, E., & Kasapakis, V. (2022, September). First Impressions Matter! IVR Haptic Feedback Effect on User Perception Towards Non-Player Characters. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (pp. 1-3).
  • Haq, M. Y. A., Akbar, M. A., & Afirianto, T. (2022). Pengembangan Non-Player Character (NPC) Menggunakan Unity ML-Agents Pada Karting Microgame. Fountain of Informatics Journal7(1), 15-21.
  • Hernandez, J., Muratet, M., Pierotti, M., & Carron, T. (2022, October). Can We Detect Non-playable Characters’ Personalities Using Machine and Deep Learning Approaches?. In ECGBL 2022 16th European Conference on Game-Based Learning. Academic Conferences and publishing limited.
  • Ho, J. C., & Ng, R. (2022). Perspective-taking of non-player characters in prosocial virtual reality games: Effects on closeness, empathy, and game immersion. Behaviour & Information Technology41(6), 1185-1198.
  • Jlali, Y. R. (2022). Training an Adversarial Non-Player Character with an AI Demonstrator: Applying Unity ML-Agents.
  • Johansen, N. S., Kær, L. B., Stolberg, J. A. B., Tollund, R. G., Hyldig, N., Oktober, P., & Torralba, A. (2022). Towards believable non-player characters with domain-independent planning. In 2022 workshop on scheduling and planning applications workshop.
  • Lin, F., Ning, W., & Zhai, H. (2022, June). ICDVAE: An Effective Self-supervised Reinforcement Learning Method for behavior decisions of Non-player Characters in Metaverse Games. In 2022 IEEE 10th Joint International Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence Conference (ITAIC) (Vol. 10, pp. 1727-1731). IEEE.
  • Liu, T., & Lai, Z. (2022). From non-player characters to othered participants: Chinese women’s gaming experience in the ‘free’digital market. Information, Communication & Society25(3), 376-394.
  • Mehta, A., Kunjadiya, Y., Kulkarni, A., & Nagar, M. (2022, February). Exploring the viability of Conversational AI for Non-Playable Characters: A comprehensive survey. In 2021 4th International Conference on Recent Trends in Computer Science and Technology (ICRTCST) (pp. 96-102). IEEE.
  • Misztal, S., Tarrach, A., Ebeling, M., Ritter, A., & Schild, J. (2022, November). Visualizing Perceptions of Non-Player Characters in Interactive Virtual Reality Environments. In Proceedings of the 28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (pp. 1-2).
  • Mori, Y., & Miyake, Y. (2022, December). Ethical Issues in Automatic Dialogue Generation for Non-Player Characters in Digital Games. In 2022 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (Big Data) (pp. 5132-5139). IEEE.
  • Nur, R., & Basari, A. (2022). Translation Techniques of the NPC (Non-Player Characters) Utterances in Toram Online Video Game. UJARAN (Undergraduate Journal for Academic Research in Humanities)1(01), 85-95.
  • Pereira, A. M. M. (2022). Study and analysis of behaviour decision methods of non-player characters in first-person shooters (Doctoral dissertation).
  • Prakosa, Y. A., & Suni, A. F. (2022). Backtracking and k-Nearest Neighbour for Non-Player Character to Balance Opponent in a Turn-Based Role Playing Game of Anagram. Khazanah Informatika: Jurnal Ilmu Komputer dan Informatika8(2).
  • Subandi, S., Syahidi, A. A., Zakiah, S., Kiyokawa, K., Riyadi, A., & Noor, M. H. (2022, November). Sasirangan Cloth Recognition and Shopping Experience Simulation Based on Virtual Reality Game with Non-Player Character Integration. In 2022 8th International HCI and UX Conference in Indonesia (CHIuXiD) (Vol. 1, pp. 53-58). IEEE.
  • Weir, N., Thomas, R., D’Amore, R., Hill, K., Van Durme, B., & Jhamtani, H. (2022). Ontologically Faithful Generation of Non-Player Character Dialogues. arXiv preprint arXiv:2212.10618.
  • Wittmann, M., & Morschheuser, B. (2022). What do games teach us about designing effective human-AI cooperation?-A systematic literature review and thematic synthesis on design patterns of non-player characters. Player Characters, 95-104.