So...I'm playing in this game as an android that is a hacker and electrically skill based. It is not designed for front line combat and has a control chip which makes it obey the commands of it's human crew. It however has sentience, just no control when issued a direct order. It also has a moderate understanding of emotions, but cannot feel them, and some memory loss from a chest injury. As mentioned before, it's fighting in a group of human pirates. How can I give this character a goal or a challenge that isn't combat based?
closed as unclear what you're asking by SevenSidedDie, Miniman, Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 20 '14 at 23:26
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Non-robotic characters' goals come from a mix of logical decision-making and emotional connection. So, you might want to destroy the Evil Empire (for instance) because destroying the Evil Empire will bring you fame, fortune, and safety, and also because the Emperor killed your family.
Robotic characters' goals can only really come from logical decision-making, unless they've had emotions programmed in (which your character doesn't). It still makes sense for a robot to want to stop the Evil Empire because of the security it will bring, or perhaps because they turn normal robots into twisted killing machines and you don't that to happen to you. Or - more to your case - you're an advanced robot, and have the ability to learn, so perhaps you want to keep hacking because it improves your hacking, ad infinitum.
It will help to pinpoint something you want your character to do/get better at/achieve in the game, and work backwards, finding a logical or rational reason for it.
I'm not sure what kind of robot your character is; I don't know if it has true A.I. (i.e. the capacity to learn infinitely and improve upon itself) or "limited" A.I. (the concept of an artificial intelligence that is limited in capacity, usually to human-ish levels). "Emotion" is more emergent from logical decisions than some people might think. For instance, your robot would be described by virtually any bystander as "curious" if it prioritizes learning and acquiring knowledge. It has very logical reasons for doing so, but that doesn't stop it from "instinctually" doing it; it's part of the robot's fundamental programming. However, emotions don't drive a robot's decision-making.
I've seen several interesting takes on the disposition and personality of a hypothetical A.I. Here are a few:
- A strong bond with its creator; much like a dog might appreciate its master, although obviously less primitive in showing it.
- Bizarre and unnatural obsessions. If you've ever played Earthsiege, the plot of that game is that an A.I. is at war with the human race after it perceived a betrayal from its creator (more on that below). It self-replicated into various machines, and many of them have strange fixations on biological processes. One of them was absolutely enthralled with the biological function of "eating," despite not being able to feel anything from it, and ate recovered slain humans' heads.
- Insanity and unpredictable behavior based on unforeseen programming errors or corruption over time. This ties into the A.I. mentioned above (that's where the perceived betrayal came from). Another popular example is the Halo series' lore. "Smart" A.I.s like Cortana eventually corrupt themselves by nature of the simulated neural processes and go insane after about 7 years.