80 Level Digest: Programming NPCs For Video Games

For this week's 80 Level Digest, we have collected some incredible tutorials, articles, and other resources on how to set up in-game NPCs using various game engines.

Hello everyone! As most of you are aware, programming non-playable characters (NPCs) is a crucial element of game development that can significantly impact the overall gaming experience. NPCs can enhance the depth and realism of a game, serving as companions, quest providers, and generating countless memorable moments.

However, crafting compelling and convincing NPCs demands technical expertise that aspiring developers may lack. To address this, for this week's 80 Level Digest, we have compiled some exceptional tutorials, articles, and other resources that explain how to create in-game NPCs using different game engines.

We'll begin today's list with an easy-to-follow tutorial by Gorka Games' Gorka Aranzabal, which covers the basics of writing AI for NPCs in Unreal Engine 5. In the guide, the author shared a beginner-friendly workflow behind setting up non-player characters in UE5, providing an overview of the engine's tools and showing how to set up an enemy AI capable of following the player, has its own vision area, and can attack when it is near the player character. Overall, a great starting tutorial for aspiring game developers planning to power their games by Unreal Engine 5, which has recently been updated to 5.2.

With one of NPCs most important responsibilities being to communicate with players, give quests, and such, setting up a dialogue system is just as important as programming the AI, that's why Gorka Aranzabal returns to our list for the second time in a row, all thanks to his great guide on accomplishing the task in question.

In this tutorial, the developer demonstrated how to create NPCs capable of talking with the player character using UE5's node-based Blueprints virtual scripting system, showcasing the toolset and its capabilities. Similar to Gorka's previous video, the guide is very beginner-friendly and allows new creators to understand the process without confusion.

If Unreal is not your cup of tea and you would prefer to use Unity for your projects, here's an amazing guide that will help you out. Shared by the Dave/GameDevelopment YouTube channel, the tutorial shows how to code simple 3D enemies that can patrol the area, chase the player, and attack the player when they are in range. Much like our previous entries, this tutorial would be perfect for beginners getting the hang of the game development process.

If Godot is your engine of choice, then look no further than these two illuminating tutorials shared by the DevWorm YouTube channel. Released as part of the author's comprehensive series on creating an action RPG in Godot 2022, the videos work great as standalone tutorials, thoroughly explaining the entire process of programming an AI for NPCs and the workflow behind creating a simple dialogue system in the engine.

If you would like to watch the entire series and start creating your first game, we also recommend checking out the rest of the series by clicking this link.

Another great starting tutorial on setting up a dialogue system was shared by the BMo YouTube channel and is dedicated to creating a setup similar to the ones seen in many modern-day indie games. With this video, you'll learn how to make a simple system in Unity that types out sentences one character at a time, with the conversation being triggered by the Start method of the script. According to the author, the tutorial would be particularly useful to developers looking for "a great starting point for just being able to get a narrative into a game and interactions with NPCs".

With the basics covered, our next entry is a tad more advanced and would be of interest to the developers looking to make their NPCs more lively. Shared by the Barcode YouTube channel, the guide shows how to set up a pedestrian system for NPCs in Unreal Engine 5 in a little over 10 minutes, covering the basics of pathfinding, demonstrating the code required to create the setup, and sharing some tips and tricks along the way. With this tutorial, you'll learn how to have your NPCs walk along sidewalks and paths in a realistic manner.

For those interested in how big-league studios approach the task in question, here are some incredible Game Developers Conference (GDC) sessions dedicated to all-things NPCs:

The next guide of today's digest was shared by the Vypur YouTube channel and is dedicated to setting up hitboxes and hurtboxes in Unity 2022, making it a must-watch if you are working on a shooter or any other game that involves attacking an NPC. In the tutorial, the author explained how to set up a versatile hitbox system in the engine that can be easily implemented into any project, as well as spoke at length about designing said system in an intuitive manner. Moreover, the code seen in the tutorial is avaiable for free and can be accessed via Vypur's GitHub page.

And finally, we have a great tutorial by StreamStudiosLLC that shows one possible scenario of how developers may be creating NPCs in the future. In this guide, the author showed how to integrate GPT into Unreal Engine using a plug-in, creating a somewhat unique MetaHuman-made NPC with an AI-written backstory.

What tutorials did we miss? What videos helped you to learn how to program NPCs? What topics would you like for us to cover next? Tell us in the comments!

Also, don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

Join discussion

Comments 0

    You might also like

    We need your consent

    We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more