In an earlier blog post (Let’s Get Personal), I talked a bit about the Personality System used in Human Orbit, what it is based on and what it is used for. One of the things I talked about is how the Personality System is based on the Big Five personality model. The Big Five model is based around five groups of six traits: Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness. In this blog post, I’m going to be talking about Extroversion and its six facets: Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity Level, Excitement-seeking and Cheerfulness.
Extroversion in Human Orbit relates mostly, but not exclusively, to the way that NPCs interact with one another (Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness), the way that they interact with their environment (Activity Level, Excitement-seeking) and their tendency to feel and respond to positive emotions (Cheerfulness). As well as having a greater tendency to feel positive emotions, NPCs who are strongly extroverted are more likely to spend their free time in ways that will improve their emotional well-being – for instance, an NPC who has a high Activity Level and who is Excitement-seeking will be out in the evenings looking for ways to have fun and others to have fun with, and because they are extroverted they are likely to enjoy doing so.
The Extroversion Traits
The first thing to note about the Friendliness facet is that it doesn’t map directly to the way that we use ‘friendly’ and ‘unfriendly’ in everyday life. An NPC for whom the Friendliness facet is only weakly expressed is not necessarily mean to other NPCs or dismissive of them but they are less likely to approach them. An example of how this trait might show itself on the station is in the way that an NPC relates to their colleagues – an NPC who is very friendly is likely to approach their colleagues personally and make friends with them, whereas an NPC who is not very friendly is likely to keep themselves to themselves and not easily forge a strong personal relationship with their colleagues.
Gregariousness is quite a simple trait. It relates to how much NPCs like to spend time with other NPCs and how actively they engage with larger social groups. A very gregarious NPC is likely to seek out larger social groups and enjoy spending time with them. A gregarious NPC will be talkative, comfortable in social situations and relatively uninhibited in social interaction. NPCs who are gregarious will need to spend time with other NPCs in social situations in order to maintain a good mood.
Assertiveness is a very important trait in Human Orbit. NPCs who are assertive are likely to be the type that leans in – they won’t be hesitant to put themselves forward for leadership roles and they will be unlikely to be afraid to negotiate for better pay or even promotion. An assertive NPC is also likely to put themselves at the centre of social groups outside of work and will often be the one to initiate group activities. Most of all, an assertive NPC will be ready and willing to act immediately upon whatever motivates them. Whenever there is something happening on the station, you can bet that an assertive NPC started it.
Activity Level relates to how often and how easily NPCs will respond to their motivations. This, at first glance, seems quite similar to Assertiveness and it interacts with it quite strongly. The difference is that Assertiveness indicates how eager an NPC is to act upon their motivations, whereas Activity Level indicates how much energy and effort they are willing or able to commit to that. An NPC with a high Assertiveness but a low Activity Level will be quite relaxed and ready to speak their mind, but may be more happy to direct others to take action than to take action themselves.
Excitement-seeking is another simple trait. It relates to the amount of stimulation that an NPC seeks and enjoys. An NPC that is not Excitement-seeking will prefer quiet spaces and activities that they are familiar with, whereas an Excitement-seeking NPC will prefer new experiences and sources of stimulation. In Human Orbit, there are occasional events where in-universe characters will visit the station – in some cases, these characters will be entertainers and hold events in the conference room below the central tower. You can expect Excitement-seeking NPCs to anticipate these events most strongly and to be the first on the scene when they start.
Cheerfulness relates very directly to the internal state of an NPC. An NPC for whom Cheerfulness is strongly expressed will bounce back more quickly from emotional lows and be less prone to experiencing them in the first place, because they feel emotional highs more frequently and more intensely. An important thing to note about Cheerfulness is that it relates to an NPC’s internal emotion state – a very cheerful NPC is not necessarily going to express themselves openly and may still appear to be quite cold and reserved to other NPCs. Cheerfulness is the counterpart to Depression (from the Neuroticism set).
When an NPC has a number of extroverted personality traits expressed strongly, it creates a set of motives and behaviours that are likely to create positive feedback loops that reinforce that NPC’s emotional well-being. However, it is also possible to have some extroverted personality traits strongly expressed while others are weakly expressed – and, in such cases, this can be bad for an NPC’s internal state. Take, for instance, an NPC who is strongly expressed in all extroverted character traits except for assertiveness and friendliness: this NPC is likely to desire frequent and spontaneous social interaction in large groups, but because they are not assertive and not friendly, they will find it hard to make friends and will often end up lonely and frustrated at an isolated lifestyle that they feel that are not in control of.
Stepping outside of talking only about extroverted character traits, it’s also important to consider how they relate to the other categories of traits. I gave an example earlier of an NPC who is strongly expressed in all extroverted character traits and how that means that they will spend their evenings out in large social groups, and also that they will enjoy doing so. The thing about humans, however, is that they often do things that are counter-intuitive and it is perfectly possible for there to be an NPC that spends their evenings out in large social groups even though they do not enjoy doing so. An example of a set of character traits that might result in this sort of behaviour is someone who is not generally extroverted but is highly friendly, weakly assertive and highly cooperative (Cooperative is a trait from the Agreeableness set) – this sort of person would be easily coerced by their friends into group activities but, due to their relative introvertism, they may not always feel comfortable with that. If they are strongly expressed in Anxiousness (from the Neuroticism set), then they are likely to find it a significant source of stress.
Next time, I’ll be talking about Agreeableness and the role that it plays in Human Orbit.