Personal Preferences

Personal preferences are specific likes and dislikes of an individual human. Special attention should be paid to each individual’s preferences, as they can have a large influence on the decisions that person makes and how they behave. Over the course of time, seemingly minor personal preferences can have a great impact on the character of your expedition.



  • Personal preferences are specific likes and dislikes of an individual human.
  • There are several kinds of personal preferences, each related to different aspects of a human’s behavior.
    • Attraction preferences play a role in OC’s human life cycle system. These are physical and non-physical criteria that a person looks for in a potential romantic partner. Liking redheads or fighter pilots are examples of attraction preferences.
    • Item preferences describe the sorts of items that a person likes to own. These have a large role in determining whether a person is satisfied with his accommodations. Liking an awesome audio system in their room is an example of an item preference.
    • Item property preferences describe the sorts of features that a person likes in items. The quintessential example here is flavor preferences in food. Liking sweet edibles and disliking spicy ones are examples of item preferences, and these preferences influence the experiences and memories that result from using specific items.
  • Many factors influence the generation of a person’s preferences. Cultural norms play a large part, and personality does, too. Certain specific preferences are unpredictable, and there’s some variety among individuals in even the most monolithic cultures.

Preference Definition

Many factors influence an individual’s personal preferences. The culture to which a person belongs is one of the foremost factors in preference definition. While an upcoming article on culture modeling will provide more insight into how cultures and factions work in OC, we can examine a single, concrete example here for demonstration purposes.

If we look at the screenshot above, we can see that Torle Xorin belongs to the Surssian faction. Surssian culture is intensely disciplined and militaristic, esteeming soldiery, valor, and achievements in battle very highly. Torle finds infantry soldiers very attractive and has a marked like for combat pilots. These attraction preferences almost certainly result from living in a culture where warriors occupy a very high social stratum.

If we examine Torle’s item preferences, we can see that she likes fancy mirrors. There’s only one item preference here, which seems like a small number, but once again, Surssian culture is probably somewhat responsible. While Surssian culture recognizes private property, its materialism rating is fairly low, meaning that most people don’t have as strong a desire for consumer goods. An intensely materialistic culture, like that of the Core Worlds, will produce more people that tend to love lots of items.

Finally, if we look at property preferences, we can see that Torle likes sweet foods. Dishes made with sweet fruits, candy, desserts – consuming these sorts of foods will yield positive experiences for Torle and help to keep her happy. Again, this preference makes sense for a Surssian. Surssian cuisine features its fair share of sweets, and there’s a marked, culture preference for sweet foods.

In the above examples, we’ve demonstrated the role that culture can play in defining personal preferences, but it’s important to bear in mind that other factors are in play. Personality is extremely important, especially the conformist <-> rebellious trait. Conformists will tend to embrace societal norms, while rebels will actively reject them. Torle is fairly heavy conformist, but even she breaks with norms in some ways. Most Surssians find blue eyes attractive, but, for whatever reason, Torle doesn’t. The same goes for her liking of fancy mirrors. Why does she like fancy mirrors? I have no idea, and I’d have to really dig through her preference generation process to figure it out. It’s likely that she just picked out luxurious mirrors as something she enjoys.

Attraction Preferences

Of all the things humans in OC like and dislike, attraction preferences may be the most important. Whenever two NPCs interact via socialization, attractiveness calculations are performed to determine whether one NPC sees another as a potential romantic partner. This topic will be covered in more detail in the upcoming human life cycle article, but personal preferences are an extremely important part of the attractiveness calculations.

Why are attraction preferences so important? Because they influence who reproduces and who doesn’t. If you play an expedition for multiple generations, this will determine the character of your citizenry, so exerting different influences on attraction preferences at your expedition’s cultural level can yield all sorts of different results.

The consequences of attraction preferences can be far reaching, and they aren’t always straightforward. Let’s consider the Surssian culture’s preference for infantry soldiers. By preferring soldiers, these NPCs are going to get paired up more quickly and easily than their counterparts, so, on average, they’ll reproduce more prolifically. This is going to indirectly promote traits that help soldiers survive battle and excel in it, like aggression and stamina.

In some of my testing so far, I’ve seen bad traits not only survive in a population, but spread rampantly because of their attachment to an individual who’s benefited from cultural preferences. Core Worlders love combat pilots. It’s an extremely glamorous, cool profession in their culture. Suppose you’ve got a deeply neurotic fighter ace, who achieves a stunning victory in battle through a combination of luck and remarkable hand eye coordination. It’s likely that his neuroticism will be overlooked by prospective romantic partners in light of his achievements, and, because of the cultural preference, he might reproduce in a big way. If he happens to get paired up with a mildly neurotic partner, and they have 7 offspring, and you can easily end up with an expedition of people who are seriously prone to depression and suicide in a couple generations. They might have the dexterity to be incredible snipers and fighter pilots, but the detrimental traits that incidentally accompanied the good ones can leave your society impossible to manage.

Ultimately, some of these topics will be covered in more detail in the human life cycle article, but the key point here is that attraction preferences are one of the most important factors in defining the future of your expedition.

Item Preferences

Item preferences play an important role in maintaining the happiness of individuals, especially in materialistic cultures. Providing individuals with the items they crave can be an easy route to enhancing their happiness. Dropping an elegant mirror, made from a silver frame and adorned with ivory, in Torle Xorin’s room will help to generate positive experiences every time she sleeps there. Satisfying these item preferences can have a life long, positive effect on people.

It’s also worth noting that cultures play a role in determining which items a person is prone to like. For example, Surssians tend to like martial sculptures in their homes and public places. Most core worlders would never want such a thing. Core worlders love watching technovision and toying around with elaborate audio systems. This further differentiates the gameplay experience for different cultures, as these cultural preferences often impose different manufacturing requirements. If you’re leading an expedition of Core Worlders, you’ll need access to the materials and expertise needed to manufacture the complicated, electronic devices that your citizens crave. Kelgonians don’t have to bother with this.

These ideas will be detailed more in the upcoming culture article, but item preferences are an important part of generating positive experiences and maintaining a happy mood, and they can indirectly drive much of your expedition’s manufacturing.

Item Property Preferences

Item property preferences go hand in hand with item preferences. These preferences help determine whether a person likes a particular item, based on its properties.

A great example of item property preferences are a person’s individual flavor preferences. Some people like spicy food. Some people hate it. Some people have a real sweet tooth. Others go for a bag of peanuts after dinner. This sort of variance is modeled in OC, and flavor preferences are discussed a bit in the manufacturing article. It can be beneficial to keep food on hand that’s specifically tailored to satisfy the flavor preferences of your expedition’s key personnel.

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