There's a cool Skyrim mod that makes the game's NPCs act like Sims.
If you've played Skyrim, or any of Bethesda's open-world games, you'll know the NPCs follow a strict routine that, typically, sees them wake up in the morning, go to work (or do whatever it is they're supposed to do), then on an evening go home and at night go to sleep.
Like Westworld's android hosts, Skyrim's NPCs are not supposed to deviate from their programmed path. But this mod tinkers with that design for some surprising results.
The mod, which you can download from Nexus Mods, focuses on improving NPC to NPC interaction and player to NPC interaction to create a social model that makes Skyrim feel a bit like The Sims.
Now, it's worth noting the social model is only active in two locations near Whiterun (the first town you run into in the game): The Honningbrew Meadery and in a new house called Comme il Faut. The NPCs in these locations use quests to recreate social interactions such as flirting, complimenting, insulting and embarrassing. The NPCs will try to pursue romantic partners and insult those who they feel disgusted by. They try to make friends and introduce themselves to strangers. You can insult them, too, or flirt with them, or ask them to marry you.
You can even try to manipulate the NPCs, destroying their relationships or helping them build new ones. Or, you could just wait and see how things play out.
The video, below gives you a good idea of how it all works.
The ambitious project is the work of redditor TheDarkRyze, who created the mod as part of his Master's Thesis and released it almost a year ago. (It's come up now after the mod was spotted by r/skyrimmods and blew up.)
"The goal is to investigate if social characters can automatically create interesting stories that players want to interact with," TheDarkRyze said.
"To do this we decided to implement a social architecture model, the Comme il Faut in Skyrim and check if it was possible and if people are interested or not."
(The "Comme il Faut" model, by the way, is described in the book Game AI Pro 2: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals.)
TheDarkRyze said he ended up getting a very good grade for his Master's Thesis and got a job as a researcher at an AI research center in Portugal. There, he's working on a Virtual Reality Police Interrogation Simulation and improving an Emotional Model called FAtiMA. It sounds interesting!
As a result, TheDarkRyze is no longer working on the mod, but called on others to his work it and improve it. "I encourage any modder to expand or take what I've done and build upon it," he said.
"I want to share what I've learned and hopefully Bethesda notices this and thinks, 'maybe people actually want complex social interactions after all.' " Are you listening, Todd Howard? One for The Elder Scrolls 6, perhaps.