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GDC 2016: Learn from ’80 Days’ Writer Meg Jayanth how to create engaging NPCs

The 2016 Game Developers Conference has begun to announce the talks they have planned. One of which is from award-winning 80 Days writer Meg Jayanth. Her talk, Forget Protagonists: Writing NPCs with Agency for “80 Days” and Beyond, will focus on how to make NPCs with motivations and depth.

Jayanth proposes that when NPCs have drive and goals, even when it sometimes constrains or limits what the protagonist can do, it actually makes the experience better for the player. Too often protagonists are treated as rock stars or toddlers, with NPCs and the world around them existing only to show their importance, Jayanth says.

Jayanth says her talk will give people the tools to evaluate the purpose, function, and value of NPCs in their games. She also will be outlining best practices to utilize NPCs to give players an engaging and surprising experience.

The Game Developers Conference is taking place March 16-18 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.

Caylie Sadin
Caylie is a writer and all around nerd. She started reading fantasy novels when she was 8, which naturally led her into playing DnD. Her favorite video game series is Dragon Age and her favorite book is “The Name of the Wind.”
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Caylie Sadin
Caylie is a writer and all around nerd. She started reading fantasy novels when she was 8, which naturally led her into playing DnD. Her favorite video game series is Dragon Age and her favorite book is "The Name of the Wind."

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