Gamasutra is running an opinion piece about the way video games handle simulated emotions
. Most often, an non-player character's emotional state is used to either tell a story or to drive gameplay. The author suggests that as both concepts become more complex in modern games, the simulation of emotions must also become more dynamic to remain interesting. Quoting:
"Most of our emotional simulations use a simple sensation/calculation/behavior loop. Someone says or does something to a character; this influences his emotional state; he acts upon his feelings. His emotional state then reverts to a more neutral state over time (I was angry half an hour ago, but I've calmed down now), or changes again in response to another sensation. If these systems are really simple they produce absurd results: a character is furious one moment and cheerful a second later, like a Warner Brothers cartoon character. This is the kind of thing you get with finite state machines. This approach doesn't take into account the fact that behavior itself changes emotions. Behavior is not merely an output to be exhibited; it also affects how we feel. It feeds back into our emotional state."