Hey, just a few suggestions for some stuff that could really help flesh out the NPCs.
Suppressive Fire - When engaging in gun battles with NPCs, even if you miss,
there should be a chance that the NPC you’re firing at becomes “suppressed.” This will cause them to get behind the nearest cover, and they will be less likely to fire at you, should you continue to keep them pinned down. If they do attempt to fire at you, they will suffer moderate to severe accuracy penalties depending on their skills. Not all NPCs would suffer the effects of suppression. NPCs who feel confident, have high skills, or are just plain stupid (very low Intelligence score) are much less likely to take cover if you shoot at them. Also, friendly NPCs, (assuming they’re willing to) should be able to suppress a hostile NPC, if they have a ranged weapon. Unless they’re ordered otherwise, or are in immediate danger from another NPC (“threat level” possibly could be calculated however the turrets at military bases choose between multiple targets), NPCs will fire upon a target until it dies, they no longer have a shot on the target, or they run out of ammo.
Truly random RNG - It’s kind of frustrating when it feels like NPCs are using the same 12 names. I know it’s not that few, but still, an actually random RNG doesn’t feel like something that’d be that hard to code in, although imputting all the names could be a bit tedious. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)
The URL below is a link to the RNG I use for all of my creative writing, so feel free to check it out.
(Debug Menu) Ability to change the names of NPCs - It’s a little difficult to take my longtime companion in the Cataclysm seriously when their name is Urist McPrudent. Sort of related to the RNG, it’d be nice to change the names of NPCs through the debug menu.
Nonrandom/Semirandom equipment for certain NPCs - I’m kind of curious how the NPC who spawned in my shelter at the beginning of the game came across both a lab coat and a pair of leather pants. Any profession requiring one would not abide the other. It’d be interesting since it might help give certain NPCs a “story” of sorts. An NPC wearing full kit and carrying an L523 variant probably would have been a soldier before the Cataclysm. They might have special missions, too, like tracking down their unit (who are all most likely dead) and reporting back to them, or having them come along to find the unit with you. They might be able to give you special rewards-- maybe an NPC who was a scientist before the Cataclysm would offer up a science ID card as a reward for successfully completing a mission from them, for example. Other NPCs, like “survivor” NPCs, would obviously be wearing whatever gear they could get, so more mismatched clothing could be expected from them.
Many hands make light work - NPCs who have a good construction skill can help a survivor construct something more quickly if they’re nearby. It’d take two people half the time to construct a door or dig a pit that one person would need. If an NPC didn’t have any skills in construction could watch the player building to boost their skills, and eventually they’d become just as capable.