The Protagonist will enter an idle state if no Controls are pressed for 20 seconds.
There are a number of idle activities that The Protagonist may perform, which depend on location. It is possible to move the camera, and jump, without canceling the idle animation, but the idle action will stop if the movement controls are pressed, or if The Protagonist is shot, punched, nudged or hit by a vehicle. While idle, the HUD will be hidden.
Most idle animations will continue indefinitely, while others will only occur once, such as taking a photo, when The Protagonist will take one photo then put the camera away. After The Protagonist stops an action, they will not repeat it until they have been moved.
Since Idle nodes are set positions, when there is a Civilian already performing an action, such as fishing or reading, the Civilian must leave that position before The Protagonist can perform that action. While The Protagonist can theoretically join Cheerleaders and Yoga groups, it is difficult to remove one Civilian without scaring the others.
- Whistling may occur anywhere.
- There are Fishing locations on most piers
- In Clothing, Liquor, and Jewelry stores, The Protagonist may examine products on shelves. While Civilians can examine weapons, The Protagonist can not.
- Photographs may be taken at many tourist locations such as the Phillips Building, or the Marina lighthouse.
- There are dumbbells which can be used in the prison yard
- When Goths are seen playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, The Protagonist will approach them and fold his arms across his chest in a stereotypical "sleeping vampire" pose.
- At a manned Hot Dog stand, both Civilians and The Protagonist may buy a Hot Dog.
- If a Hot Dog stand is unmanned, The Protagonist will walk to where the vendor usually stands.
- If the Idle action is interrupted, the vendor will continue his action of handing over the hot dog and accepting payment.
- When Civilians are playing Craps, The Protagonist can either join in if there are less than three playing, or will stand beside them and drink a 40oz.
Some weapons have associated Idle animations.
- Baseball Bat, Sledgehammer - The Protagonist will stretch, and hit the weapon against each shoe.
- Samurai Sword, Nightstick, Knife - The Protagonist idly swing it around.
- Shock Paddles - Looking at them while rubbing them together slowly.
- Pepper Spray - Shaking the can.
- Stun Gun, Pistols - Spinning around a finger.
There are a number of objects around Stilwater that it is not possible to directly "use", but may be used when idle.
- Hotdog stand
- Pinball machines
- Fire - warming hands
There a number of Civilian Activities that The Protagonist may join when idle.
- Conversing with NPCs
- Drinking alcohol
- Dancing (Common in Cribs, uncommon in Clubs, but possible)
- Live Action Role-Playing
- Mourning (at the cemetery)
- Playing Dice
- Reading on the ground (Shown in video)
- Smoking (Cigarette when outside, Blunt when in a Crib)
- Tai Chi
There are a number of things that Civilians can be seen doing in the game that The Protagonist definitely cannot do, although these can be enabled through modding.
- Pole dancing
- Playing pool
- Suicide jumping
- Sleeping on the ground
- Using a megaphone while protesting
- Handing out flyers
- Barber Shop Quartet
- Any action performed by enemy gang members, such as the Samedi drum players.
- According to developers, there are over 20,000 hand-placed "action nodes" all over the city. Some of these nodes control The Protagonist's idle animations, others control the actions of Civilians.
- The Idle timer will still run while in the Crib Customization menu, so after exiting the menu, The Protagonist may immediately walk to the dance floor and begin dancing. This happens often in the Hotel Penthouse.
- Other Idle nodes often seem to be near Activity markers, so that when The Protagonist is left idle after exiting an activity, they will often do something. This happens often at the Racing Activity near the Marina Lighthouse.
- In Saints Row: The Third, in Kinzie's Warehouse there is a map of the idle locations on a newspaper page, although the headline of the page is "Zombies Everywhere!!!".
- ↑ Referred to internally as "R_LARPers", with the 3rd position named as "Vampire". See talk page for list.
- ↑ This happens simply because "Position 1" is vacant. It's possible that a Civilian may buy a hotdog from The Protagonist, but unknown if this actually occurs.
- ↑ Screenshot of "Zombies Everywhere!!!' quote.