Memories of specific occurrences are very important to humans in OC. They influence mood, drive behavior, and allow NPCs to store and recall important information needed to act effectively.
- Humans remember all sorts of events from their lives. Recollections of specific events are retained as memories, and everything from what a person ate at their last meal through burying a relative is remembered.
- Some memories of mundane experiences have finite lifespans. For example, a person will forget what he ate at a particular meal after some period of time. This is a bit like real memory. I can’t remember what I ate last Wednesday evening, but I can remember what I ate for breakfast today.
- Some memories last forever. A person never forgets things like a funeral or an egregious professional failure.
- Recent memories have a profound impact on mood. The things that have happened to a person recently drive how they feel.
- Personality and personal preferences play a large role in how many events are perceived. Two people can have exactly the same experience, but if their personalities are different, they’ll remember the experience in different ways. A normal person might remember a mining job as a satisfying work experience. An extremely ambitious malcontent might remember it as a menial, unfulfilling task.
- Some memories have important effects on human behavior in terms of how actions are conducted. A soldier with multiple combat memories is much more likely to maintain composure in the face of danger.
- All sorts of details are stored as parts of memories beyond just the experience type. If a person has had a bad experience eating a particular dish, they’ll remember not only the unpleasantness itself, but also precisely what was consumed. This then affects later behavior. Even if a dish is made with better ingredients that the person might enjoy, they’ll try to avoid that sort of food, because of how bad it was before.
Memory & Mood
Memory is an extremely important part of OC’s human AI model, and perhaps the most stark effect of memory is its influence on a human’s mood. For the most part, mood is just the result of a human’s experiences and personality. If a human experiences a bunch of great things in a short time (eating luxurious food, sleeping in extravagant accommodations, enjoying very positive socialization), they’ll be left in a positive mood. If a human experiences a bunch of bad things (being forced to sleep outdoors, being ostracized from a social group, having someone important in their social network die), their mood will become sour. Mood has a very important impact on behavior, and memories drive a person’s mood.
Memory & Behavior
Aside from the effects that memories indirectly cause by way of influencing mood, some specific types of memories have certain specific effects on behavior. As noted in the summary, food, drink, and narcotic consumption memories have specific effects on later selection of which items to consume. This has happened to everybody with some sort of food they’ve had in their lives. Think of a food that you’ve tried once, had a bad experience with, and now actively avoid. Maybe you just had bad luck and the dish was prepared incorrectly or was made with crummy ingredients, but you still avoid the foul thing like a plague. NPCs in OC do the exact same thing. This is just one example of a specific behavioral effect of a specific sort of memory, but there are many, many more effects along these lines.
Right now, memory data is presented in narrative form as part of the human information interface, as shown in the screenshot above. I have a task on my list to devise a more concise mechanism for presenting memory data and details, in order to give more insight into exactly what a human remembers and exactly how they perceived a certain experience. The narrative is generally effective and has been sufficient in my estimation, but expansion of the user interface might be worthwhile to give further insight into the inner workings of the system.