AI and the open ingame-world

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AI and the open ingame-world

Post by Korrvin » March 15th, 2012, 1:49 pm

As this is (or will be, awesome) cRPG, many of us already have mentioned many things that are important for this genre of games, such are quests-structure, delayed or not c&c, main and side stories, POV etc. But, rarely do we mention importance of an AI as an essence of the living, breathing and dynamic world. If you have played any recent high profile “RPGs”, you must have been painfully aware how plastic NPCs looked, their unnatural stances, same body-types as they are clones of each other, flat and purely predictable behavior, their naiveté and harmlessness. Not to mention other creatures and how static the whole world have been or how empty it feels after you pass through some “sector” of the game as if it literally freezes behind you. ..

Although I’m aware why sometimes it’s necessary to stop quest plot’s to unfold (to enable player to take part in it which I’m for), there is a vast range of other things that stop also.

And they do not and should not need to.

If we want this game to be really fun, curious, immersive and unpredictable, way the game handles its game-world is of up most importance and AI is the main part of it.

If you ever played one of the Stalker games, I’d like you to remember how atmospheric world has been. With recent mods it’s even more scary and challenging. Of course, weather, a design of the terrain and sounds had a lot to do with it, but as I spoke with my friends, nothing can beat sudden, unpredictable and random encounters purely as a result of game’s AI. In the past, these things has been done using “special encounters” which is highly work and time demanding from designer standpoint, but with the advance of the computer power and AI behavior algorithms these thing could be done in a far more efficient manner.

The Stalker is just an example and I don’t even want to compare these two games, but this nugget of wisdom of how they have used world AI and procedurally generated NPC behaviors are too precious not to be used and enhanced. If that’s easy, bethesda (needless to say, if this is Beth’s forum, I wouldn’t even mention this:) ) or someone at EA would already have used it, but it’s not. The HALO indeed did do great job on a combat AI side, but the game world is still just a backdrop for the killings.

So, I would like to see some kind of all-encompassing world AI (as i.e. GOD in egosoft’s X game series), because it could lead to a whole new level of interactivity with the game itself.

Of course, NPCs and creatures are not the only things that could be enhanced through clever Ai design. There could be all kind of terrain changes starting from deforestation or floods to a volcano eruptions (I think you guessed so far, only imagination is a limit – in a reasonable scale, computer power isn’t any more THE problem)

I hope someone who could make a difference likes some of this and will make an effort to apply some of it into Wasteland 2.

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