U.S. Patent No. 10,668,381: System and method for transparently styling non-player characters in a multiplayer video game
Issued June 2, 2020 to Activision Publishing Inc.
Priority Date: December 15, 2014
U.S. Patent No. 10,668,381 (the ’381 Patent) relates to creating non-player characters (“NPCs”) in a multiplayer video game that are difficult for human players to identify as NPCs. The ’381 Patent details a method of creating NPCs to fill the role of a human player in a game using gameplay information such as team composition to fulfill a necessary role, types of in-game items (e.g. weapons and armor), player skill levels, and play styles (e.g. aggressive, or hanging back to be a sniper). These NPCs may be used in matchmaking when there are not enough human players to meet the minimum number of players required to start a match. An NPC management engine may create NPCs specifically to meet the needs of the match, or may select pre-generated NPCs from a database that fulfill the needs of a specific match. Profile attributes such as screen names and previous gameplay statistics may be anonymized to disguise the NPCs.
A system and method are provided for transparently styling non-player characters (“NPCs”) in multiplayer video games such that it is difficult to distinguish between human players and computer-controlled NPCs. NPCs may be styled to resemble human players in terms of both player profile attributes and gameplay actions such that players may not recognize NPCs as non-human, computer-controlled players. Additionally, or alternatively, NPCs and/or human players may be presented with a limited set of profile attributes that may reduce or eliminate the ability to distinguish between human players and NPCs, one or more profile attributes may be “anonymized,” and/or the ability to view player profiles of human players and/or NPCs may be disabled altogether. In certain gameplay sessions including real and/or practice gameplay sessions, human players may be prompted to select from among a predetermined set of playable characters having predefined profile attributes.
1. A computer-implemented method of generating one or more non-player characters in a multiplayer video game in a manner that resembles one or more characters controlled by human players, the method being implemented in a computer system having one or more physical processors programmed with computer program instructions that, when executed by the one or more physical processors, cause the computer system to perform the method, the method comprising: identifying, by the computer system, one or more human players to be matched for a gameplay session the multiplayer video game, wherein each of the one or more human players has a player profile comprising at least a value indicative of a skill level of each of the one or more human players; determining, by the computer system, whether a predetermined skill level value required for the gameplay session is met by a value that is a function of skill level values of the identified one or more human players; and obtaining, by the computer system, the one or more non-player characters to play in the gameplay session responsive to a determination that the predetermined skill value required for the gameplay session is not met by the value of the skill level of the identified one or more human players, wherein each of the one or more non-player characters has a non-player character player profile comprising at least a skill level value of the non-player character and wherein the predetermined skill level value required for the gameplay session is met by the value of the skill level of the identified one or more human players and skill level values of the obtained non-player characters; and generating the multiplayer video game with the obtained non-player characters.