Living World - persistence


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So i want to make an open world game where the AI feels like it is always alive, and the world is persistent and permanent. The way i thought to do this was to have lists for items/corpses/any effect you have on the world.. then spawn those things in the right places upon scene load (so it stays between saves)

Then for AI that seems to "keep living even when you're not around", i keep lists to track their position/health..etc, then update it with math every few seconds, as if they are roaming, fighting, looting.. when the player is near to their position it spawns the AI into the game with the right items/health..etc

Anyone got tips n techniques for this kind of thing? Would love to hear your ideas :D