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Most Impressive Game AI?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the never-the-same-game-twice dept.

PC Games (Games) 398

togelius asks: "I have the feeling that when developers make the effort to put really sophisticated AI into a game, gamers frequently just don't notice (see e.g. Forza). Conversely, games that are lauded for their fantastic AI are sometimes based on very simple algorithms (e.g. Halo 1). For someone who wants to apply AI to games, it is very interesting to know what AI is really appreciated. What is the most impressive game AI you have come across? Have you ever encountered a situation where it really felt like the computer-controlled opponents were really thinking?"

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no (4, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557455)

Have you ever encountered a situation where it really felt like the computer-controlled opponents were really thinking?

No, but I've rarely encountered games where it feels like my human opponents are really thinking, either.

Game where computer seems like it is thinking (4, Interesting)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557831)

Galactic Civilization I and II (see: [] ) is one of the few games I have ever played where it seemed like the computer was thinking. If you have never played GalCiv, and you like strategy, I highly recommend picking them up. I consider them to be superior even to the Civilization series. Brad Wardell prides himself on the AI, and it definitely shows. The computer is very difficult to beat and does not cheat. It actually responds in a logical manner, which makes GalCiv go from just being a number-crunching exercise to an actual strategy game. For example, when making some "aggressive" moves towards an enemy (moving some attack ships to an "ally" to wipe them out) I've actually had the game pop up a message from my ally (before ever entering his space) saying something to the effect of "I used to play video games when I was a kid, and when I did I used to build my forces up and send them to sneak attack an opponent. Well I am no video game." Other things like the fact that if another civilization is dependent on you for a large amount of trade income, they won't just randomly attack you because it would hurt them too.

ummm, Galactic Civilizations II? (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557469)

It doesn't cheat, and manages to beat the cr*p out of you on the higher level (where AI economies aren't penalized ... to make the game easier).

Re:ummm, Galactic Civilizations II? (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557675)

Ditto. I wish there were cheats so you could see just how the hell they manage to do so well. It's crazy!

Re:ummm, Galactic Civilizations II? (4, Informative)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557737)

Galciv 2 certainly gets a huge vote from me, because the AI did beat the crap out of me, repeatedly. However, the AI does have the advantage of being able to accurately micromanage every planet every turn to produce the best combination of production, research, and cashflow.

I'm also very impressed with the AI in the original galactic civilizations. It does cheat at the higher levels, but up until that point (I think normal mode doesn't cheat either way) it's very impressive and it really does feel like the AI is thinking. More impressive is the fact that each major race has its own AI: not customized by arguments in the race, but specific, independent C++ code telling them what to do, written from scratch.

Re:ummm, Galactic Civilizations II? (3, Informative)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557819)

I agree, GalCiv II certainly has a very tough AI.

Another very good one is freeciv. Freeciv may look much cheesier than the regular civilizations but in AI it surpasses it by far. I suppose it helps that it is developed by players of the game.

Re:ummm, Galactic Civilizations II? (0, Troll) (858445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558145)

GalCiv 2's AI is highly overrated.

It does actually have a good AI, but once you scratch the surface Dark Avatar is beset with critical bugs in many areas. I haven't been able to play a game without getting affected by some bug or another.

The harder levels of difficulty simply give the computer players economy and production bonuses. When given an unlimited amount of resources (like in a huge map), no matter how high you set the difficulty, you have to be pretty stupid to be beaten by the computer In smaller maps, the computer becomes much more difficult, but the strategies to defeat it are also much more limited, and much less fun.

I also suspect that Stardock outsourced much of the coding for the game. After reading their API docs, either one of their coders spells at a 5th grade level or is learning English still. While that doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, the disconnect inherent in outsourcing would explain the nature of the bugs I am seeing, and why they have been slow to patch the game.

Of course... A Nethack pet (1)

McSnarf (676600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557493)

...shows more brains that most ego shooter AI opponents. (AND it does not cheat.)

fs2004, etc... (1, Insightful)

ghost-j (882899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557503)

the micro$oft flight sim series for control of other planes on and off the ground.

There are a few traffic jams now and then but mainly realistic.

Kart Racing (1)

Nutsquasher (543657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557513)

Diddy Kong Racing for N64, only because the AI there didn't cheat, unlike Mario Kart 64. In fact, the AI in MK still cheats on the DS to this day. Grumble.

Re:Kart Racing (2, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557693)

I'm just glad I'm not the only person Mario Kart's cheating AI infuriated.

Back in my greener days, I lost a few SNES controllers to a perfectly tossed egg from Yoshi on Rainbow road. That motherfucker.

Re:Kart Racing (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557751)

I hated it too. I always thought it was awfully suspicious when someone else was moving as fast as you were and you were using one of those infinite mushrooms, or a star..

Re:Kart Racing (1)

Mr. Ksoft (975875) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557961)

The original SMK AI is indeed cheating. Play it as somebody other than Luigi and notice how the AI Luigi gets stars almost constantly.

Come off as cheap (4, Interesting)

Romancer (19668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557515)

A lot of AI that is used in games today can come off as cheap since the computer can think and compare much faster than a human player. Imagine fighting an opponent that can react 10X faster than you.

Another way to look at it is if you think that the AI is learning patterns and adjusting for tactics.
That's been played out in many genres, the most recent to come to mind is the Stargate SG1 episode where a character must face a situation that adapts to his efforts and becomes impossible to beat since the game can react faster than he can and has a perfect memory.

It's a ballance that game AI must match, playability and difficulty.

Re:Come off as cheap (2, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557533)

That should have been RE-Playability. as in how many times you can beat the game and still pick it up a month later and be challenged by the new situations.

Re:Come off as cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557557)

Reaction time != intelligence.

Re:Come off as cheap (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557689)

Games have gotten a lot better. I remember in the original Mortal Kombat, you could get to the dual-character matches simply by picking scorpion and pushing back,back,punch for the harpoon, followed by down+punch for uppercut continuously for the entire fight. Games have gotten a lot better at not letting you do the same thing over and over again. However, I have yet to find a hockey game that doesn't have a "trick" that lets you score about 30 points in a game. the trick seems to change from year to year, sometimes it's the wrap around, sometimes the one-timer, but there is always a trick.

Re:Come off as cheap (0)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557721)

>since the computer can think and compare much faster than a human player

where did you get that 'fact' from? I think you will find it's the other way round, dude.

Re:Come off as cheap (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557797)

>>since the computer can think and compare much faster than a human player
>where did you get that 'fact' from? I think you will find it's the other way round, dude.

Dude, he was referring to american players.

Re:Come off as cheap (5, Insightful)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557805)

That's why the "best" game AI isn't necessarily the smartest or most responsive - it's the most human.

Writing an AI that makes the occasional "human error", or responds in a reasonable time is harder than writing the "best AI possible", but makes for a more believable (and of course, enjoyable (since who likes getting beaten all the time)) game experience.

supreme commander (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557523)

supreme commander's ai was the first rts ai that i was not able to beat using the "survive the rush, build large army, overrun" recipe.

Fact or fable? (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557531)

When I was contemplating learning video game programming, I was reading a guide that told you first to program a pong clone, and then a pac-man clone. Why pac-man? It teaches you AI. The ghost behavior is actually fairly complex. One ghost wanders randomly, another tries to get on the opposite side of the board from wherever pac-man is. The other two form a hunting pair: one tries to cut off your escape while the other goes for the kill.

I never thought that the ghosts would be so complex!

Re:Fact or fable? (5, Informative)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557595)

And they aren' least not until Ms. Pacman. In the original Pac Man the Ghosts followed very predictable patterns which they never changed, and it is quite common to simply memorize these patterns and play the game with your eyes closed. []

Re:Fact or fable? (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557833)

To be fair, the fact that patterns work simply means the AI is deterministic. Pacman could have extremely complicated AI but if there's no learning from a players past, random elements etc you're always going to be able to learn to find a patten which works.

To be honest, I've always thought that AI in computer games sucked. Games are usually made hard by having the bad guys have better fire power, shields, energy etc than you, or having loads of them against one player. It would have been a laugh, for example, to have a doom style game with one player against one computer bad guy, but have him be as smart as a human. Thankfully, online multiplayer games mean you are no longer restricted to whatever crap AI system the programmers manage to string together, although the problem has now shifted to dealing with people cheat - a problem which games programmers show no signs of being any less inept at dealing with than with AI.

Re:Fact or fable? (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557943)

Those are all set patterns which you can take which take into account the AI of the ghosts and should allow you to finish levels repeatably.

Some information on how the ghosts move can be found here: []

Re:Fact or fable? (5, Funny)

FuriousBalancing (903038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557677)

Clever girl.

Re:Fact or fable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557865)

Clever girl.
Judging by your score of 0, I think I may be the only person on slashdot who actually got this reference.

Civilization III (4, Funny)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557537)

Civilization III. It's uncanny how it makes you think the game is outright cheating.

Re:Civilization III (5, Funny)

Pyrrhic Diarrhea (1061530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557735)

That's because it *is* cheating. The hole in my wall next to my computer can attest to this well established fact. :)

Madden (1)

FryingDutchman (891770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557543)

Sadly I think the best AI comes from the sports games. Madden is most notable not only by play calling but the defensive and offensive opposition can typically anticipate your line of attack after a few minutes.

FPS seem to get the most predictable AI - even the best and newest shooters are easy to exploit.

Galactic Civilizations 2 (5, Interesting)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557545)

Well, one of the greatest experiences (And still is), AI wise, is Stardocks XXXX-type space strategy game, Galactic Civilizations 2 [] . I especially like, when on easier levels, you do something, and the AI race sends a message "It seems that you are making a massive buildup for war. However, with this difficulty level, I pretend not no notice it until you actually make your strike." or something to that effect.

Re:Galactic Civilizations 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557971)

Though the AI gets no economy bonus or anything like that, is it able to see everything the player does, or just what it should be allowed to see within in the rules?

Re:Galactic Civilizations 2 (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558097)

AI does not cheat if that's what you mean. For most part, increasing difficulty level actually does mean that the AI switches to more advanced algorithms - only the two highest levels (or so) actually give some economy bonuses to the AI.

Re:Galactic Civilizations 2 (1)

Tsed (973622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558113)

Just what it should be allowed to see. The AI has no more knowledge than a player would have in its position. The *only* cheating occurs on the highest difficulty levels, where the cheating is just an economy bonus. The lower difficulty levels disable some of the AI's smarter characteristics, building up to "Tough" (iirc), where the AI is getting no econ bonuses or penalties, and is using all its tricks. Difficulties above that use the same tricks, with econ bonuses.

Re:Galactic Civilizations 2 (0, Offtopic)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558075)

I'll take your word for it being a good game, but that has to be the worst website I've seen in weeks.

Simplfy the game and the AI gets better (2, Interesting)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557553)

The Best AIs I've found are in some games like Yu-gi-oh the card game I'm currently working on nightmare troubadour and most of the opponents I've played always make a "great" move. On the other hand there's a couple opponents who are dumb as bricks, yet these enemies are suppose to be dumb as bricks (they are first time players in the story) And it's amazing how poorly they play (the play "well" for stupid AI, but they make bonehead moves that a new player can easily capitialize on. The player feels like each player has a different style, not just a different deck, and that makes for a much better game. (this is coming from a 25 year old guy in the game business).

The reason it's great is that there's simple rules to the game that the AI can know. There's been one point in the game where the AI got confused mainly because I blocked her in with a couple traps, but overall the Ai's abilities in the game are outstanding.

The important think to know about AI in games is it's not "AI". It's scripts or code that simulates scripts. There's no neural nets or anything else because we can't get the power for a neural net in an active game. In chess we can but then chess no longer is fun unless we tone down the "intellegence".

Some other great AIs are Gears of War (On insane they do great flanking maneuvers and such) Ghost recon (they really seem to know how to take cover and make it a challenge for the player to take them out. however the friendly AI leaves.... alot to be desired), Oblivion (watching random people walk around is pretty impressive, it helped build up that game.) and others, but there's none that make me think I'm fighting a real person.

There is a push to create truer "AIs" in games, Gran turismo created a way to train Drivers, Forza 2 is improving on it's drivtar system, Virtua fighter 4 had a way to teach an AI fighter, which was cool and indepth. But these are all "Scripts" taken from player experiences, not exactly AI. There's other games working on "true AI" but even then it's still toned down because we don't have the tools to make the driver "think" yet. It's just rail following and teaching the computer how to follow rails or when to break away from them.

I wouldn't say the molyeniux's games had great AI but they have good AI that at least learns a bit. Yet they feel like it's all you telling the game what to do, and it trying to figure out what you want it to do (and it fails) where as the Sims has interesting AI, but never feels real (mainly because the game never feels real).

So overall if you want to see good AI, look at simple games, expecting full 3d world simulations to have great ai is still a long way off but it's slowly coming. However this push for "graphics graphics graphics" won't help AI in the long run, but hopefully in a couple generations we stop worrying about graphics and work on AI and physics which seem to be more beneficial to the player then higher polycounts.

Re:Simplfy the game and the AI gets better (3, Insightful)

pescadero (1074454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557749)

The important think to know about AI in games is it's not "AI". It's scripts or code that simulates scripts. There's no neural nets or anything else because we can't get the power for a neural net in an active game. In chess we can but then chess no longer is fun unless we tone down the "intellegence".

Hmmm. If I write a neural net program, how is that different than what you call "scripts or code"? It's still just code.

And the best chess algorithms (which you seem to claim are "real AI") are just search algorithms that search 30 moves into the future (with pruning)

You're making a distinction between "real AI" and "not real AI", when really there is no distinction. If a system can solve a problem intelligently then it's AI, regardless of the algorithm.

There *is* a distinction between "human-like AI" (neural nets) and other kinds of AI, but we'd be foolish to assume that human-like intelligence is the only kind of intelligence.

Re:Simplfy the game and the AI gets better (3, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557897)

If we are talking about a computer game I'm hoping we are talking about human-like intelligence.

What I really was trying to get across was a common misconception (one that stuck me when I got into a game company) that "AI" as it's taught in school is very different hen AI as it applies to most games. The biggest difference is most AIs don't learn, and most are pretty much just a script that doesn't change. We don't have the ability to throw away any cycles of the game so the AI tends to be highly stripped down to the point it's just "oh I see a gun, I'm going to react to the gun, how should I react to the gun, I'll do that." This is completely scripted to the point where you can tell what's going to happen if you point the gun at the person a second time or a third time. There's no "thought" or "intelligence" to the system, thought it might seem "intelligent"

A chess AI on the other hand evaluates all the options of what it can do and chooses a best option, the pruning is a form of "thought". A chess master will be doing something similar where he thinks of all his possible moves and then considers responses and so on which is effectively using game theory. To me that's actual intelligence even if it's not fancy.

The difference between a neural net program is it's code that tries to simulate the learning and thought process if you will, the code that AI in games use is just like I illustrated above. There's an "action" and the code quickly decides what's the reaction and does it. It doesn't try to evaluate too much because we don't have the cycles to do that.

Re:Simplfy the game and the AI gets better (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557875)

The Best AIs I've found are in some games like Yu-gi-oh the card game I'm currently working on nightmare troubadour and most of the opponents I've played always make a "great" move.

Yu-Gi-Oh! eh? I think the AI is only good because of its good decks, however after you get a good deck it can't compete because it doesn't seem to understand combos beyond 2 cards.

In GX and WC2007 (for DS) the AI will often OTK and summon a Chimeritech Dragon only to kill itself because it didn't meat one of the criteria. It will summon Beserk Gorrila in face up attack when I already have Level Limit - B spell on the field forcing it into defense position killing it instantly.

Also, AI will attack face down monsters no matter what... So if you want to trick them setting monsters into attack mode (except when you hae a 5000 pt ATK/DEF which if it will still fusion summon monsters that into face up attack mode for no good reason knowing I can kill it in one hit with whatever monster I am using)

Not to mention it is fairly easy to goad the AI into using heavy storm.

Although the AI did summon a monster from the graveyard one and use creature swap on my Jinzo once... But basically the AI of the Yu-Gi-Oh series fails to take into account effects beyond two cards.

Nightmare Troubadour didn't have this problem because of its limited amount of cards. However, with GX 1400 and 2007 1600+ cards it has a hard time.

I think each AI has built in combo's it is hard coded to attempt. I beat GX with a deck that had basically

1x Jinzo (cancels traps)
2x Royal Decrees (cancels traps)
3x Spell Cancelers (cancels spells)

This basically derails any pre-built strategy (except for a basic beat down deck)

Of course to be fair... I like to play Wifi with a Final Countdown deck against people just to see them get flustered, but I can always tell the difference when I play the AI vs Wifi on yugioh.

Counter-Strike AI (5, Funny)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557573)

I am constantly amazed at how bad the AI is in this game, after years and years of developement you would think that the Ai would have developed alittle more. While very advanced in speech capabilities, the AI relies on taunting you by claiming you are a noob, cheater, or a camping f**ktard, and will even call you GAY. In game play the AI is still weak and just does the same thing over and over again, and will constantly be baited into sticking its head around a corner, or runs into flashbang grenades on a very regular basis, failing to learn from its past and how it got owned over and over. Finally the AI deems you are a cheater and runs to load another AI called an Admin that will ban you because it cannot understand how you are so much better then it.

Re:Counter-Strike AI (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557663)

>> by claiming you are a noob, cheater, or a camping f**ktard,
>> and will even call you GAY.
>> ...
>> Finally the AI deems you are a cheater and runs to load another AI called an Admin
>> that will ban you because it cannot understand how you are so much better then it.

Man you need to click on the 'create server' button, not 'join server'.

Re:Counter-Strike AI (1)

loudambiance (935806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557763)

Are we talking about bots or other players? ;-)

Friendly AI (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557579)

Personally, while enemy AI is something that's pretty neat to see in action, it's the friendly AI that gets my attention. Most games seem to put all their effort into the enemy, while you friends turn out to be schizophrenics with an IQ of about 40. I haven't played, but I have heard that something that people complained about in Gears of War was was the poor team AI.

I don't play many games any more, but Halo 2 was one that I thought pulled ahead of the pack a bit. Friends that can drive vehicles was pretty cool (albeit not always the safest drivers...) allowing you to man the gun in the back. They also seem better at not running right in front of you when you're in the middle of launching a rocket, and also do little things like take advantage of available cover (or in other cases jumping up on top of said cover and getting blown to bits). Halo 3 is supposed to have even better AI for both friendlies and enemies, and that's one of the things about it I'm looking forward to.

Re:Friendly AI (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557761)

This is especially true when you play games like Mario Party and get teamed up with the computer for one of the minigames. The purpose of the game will be push the button you see on the screen, and it will take them 4 or 5 seconds to push any buttons at all, and sometimes, it's the wrong one. Nobody plays like that. Not even 3 year old. Most of the time you push a button in about 1 second, sometimes it's wrong.

I'd also like to point out that I like how GC makes it really easy to find the buttons. A is the big home button, B is the little one off to the side. L and R are obvious. X and Y are located next to the big home A button, on their appropriate vertical (y) and horizontal (x) positions. They put a lot of thought into that controller. Not like PS2. Where's the square button again? is R1 on the top, or is that R2?

TTT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557581)

The Tic Tac Toe game in War Games. Nobody could beat Joshua, not even Joshua.

Re:TTT (pedant mode) (1)

CelticLo (575344) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557871)

errr, system wasn't called Joshua.
The computer is called WOPR.
Professor Stephen W. Falken's son was Joshua and combined with the age the child died at was the system password.

Warcraft III (Insane!) (2, Interesting)

nartz (541661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557583)

The best AI I have seen is probably in WC3. However, I feel that in many games, it isn't the AI that is good, but rather that the computer players sort of cheat by having knowledge of everything in their environment; for example, they know (from the beginning) where the bases of other players are, instead of having to search like a human player. This gives them a huge edge - think of it as a human player playing against another with a map-hack, very unfair.

Re:Warcraft III (Insane!) (1) troll (593289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557671)

Some games actually do cheat though, like Empires: Dawn of the modern world. On difficulty 4-5 it's amazingly easy. On difficulty 6+, the opponent has a bigger base with more army than is remotely possible at the start of the game (tested using the 'reveal part of the map' ability of one of the races).

Wasn't impossible to beat, but just kind of takes the fun out of it.

Want to make GOOD ai? Program it like a client, not into the server. That way you can't let it cheat by givign it unfair advantages or unfair knowledge of the game.

Re:Warcraft III (Insane!) (1)

moogs (1003361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557795)

Half-Life 2 episode 1? although I was paying more attention on alyx's butt than the game... Waiting (very very) eagerly for HL2EP2. And portal. and TF2 looks awesome as well. Now if only I could install the game w/o Steam. I hate Steam. I'm hungry.

Re:Warcraft III (Insane!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557963)

You are joking right? The WC3 AI cheats, especially at insane level.

Oblivion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557591)

Now, with a game as HUGE as Oblivion, it's quite easy to see the characters being dumb. Overall, though, it's refreshing to see characters getting up, going about business, talking to people, stealing, fighting, hunting, going to pub, buying, selling, going home, sleeping etc. I've also seen instances in Oblivion were a character has stolen something in front of my eyes, the guards have come along, attacked the person, then a riot has started between the people in the area. Example on Youtube [] .

Meh.... (1)

Nemus (639101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557597)

Honestly, while I liked the AI in the Halo series, I think the main reason that it came off as being so impressive wasn't due to the AI itself, but because Bungie gave the AI "personality." It's a lot easier to misattribute greater intelligence to somthing when it's funny (your fellow marines) or screaming profanities at you (the Covenant).

Likewise, it seems like the only real advancements in AI in games seem to be happening in FPSs, such as they are, anyways. I typically play Turn based strategy games and RPGS, and honestly, we're not exactly talking about the smartest AI in the world here. In most of these games, the AI is only given an advantage by being allowed more knowledgable than you; also, in RTS games, especially, a common tactic for "buffing" the AI is reducing material costs and production times relative to the player's, depending on how well the player is doing: essentially, just a fancier version of the good-ol rubber-band AI so common in racing games.

I'll have respect for an AI in a game the second it actually manages to do something truly surprising. In RTSs and Turn based Strategy games, for example, it's often very easy to predict avenues of attack, unit composition, etc. Even if something wasn't necessarily expected, like having all of your treaties cancelled in one turn in Civ 4, for example, such a thing is still more of a surprise because of the timing than the event itself: you knew it could happen, it's just that the timing was a bit unexpected. No, I want an AI that will do something that will make me wonder whether or not the coding has been deliberately designed to screw with my head. When I find an AI in a game that can play me like a fiddle; bait me, hook me, and then reel me in, all the while as I struggle in vain, unable to resist the inexorable pull of its god-like strategy, then I'll be impressed.

For now though, beating the AI is still just meta-game thinking: figure out where the AI can't adapt, and then exploit. Give me a truly adaptable, creative AI, and we'll see. Of course, by the time we get to "creative," AI, I'll probably lose on purpose, just so as to not piss off Skynet (let the robotic overlord win.)

Re:Meh.... (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558111)

one problem with rts ai is that it is almost impossible to teach ai how to preform high level micro management. while ai is capable of multiple instant commands, total awareness of their own situations (ie don't get distracted by fighting and forget to keep expanding), as well as basic micro like focus fire, target priority, and maybe even some degree of dancing, even the best ai cannot preform the most complicated micro. perfect example would be starcraft. there are mods that enhance the standard ai to be more unpredictable, to use more advanced build orders and counters, but regardless, has to get the ai cheat with free money, because whenever equal armies met, the human player would always win, because the ai can't micro for shit, so it has to be compensated with bigger armies, and armies that grow faster.

Wesnoth (2, Interesting)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557603)

I would have to say that the AI for Wesnoth, an open-source Turn Based Strategy, is one of the better AIs I have encountered (for that genre of games).
Although it isn't that the AI is that well done, it is that the rule set is simple enough that an AI can follow it.
I've played Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic and Masters of Orion, the trinity of TBS games. Although they were often very good, the AI could only win in all of them due to "cheating" of a sort. The reason was that the various different factors to be considered were behind the planning ability of an AI. For example, in Heroes of Might and Magic II, there were seven different resources that a player could collect. Often, towards the end of the game, even while it was badly losing, the AI would be running around trying to grab resources, and would lose because of it. In Civilization II, because there was so many different units and improvements to be built, the AI would produce useless units, or spend all their time building improvements to cities that were about to be captured. The algorithm for keeping track of so many factors is impossible to make in an AI. AIs can't understand what is relevant and what is not.

So, in Wesnoth, there is only one resource to be considered, gold. Damage is also a straightforward mathematical calculation. So with the simpler rule set, the AI can play in a relevant way. Not that the rule set is simple in the sense of easy, it has a few factors, but those few factors can be combined in intricate ways.

So Wesnoth has one of the better AIs in my view, although of course it can still be tricked and worked around, but then any AI can be.

comedy option (1)

mkavanagh2 (776662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557629)

Command and Conquer.

Re:comedy option (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557669)

Oh, I remember a fantastic level in the original (playing as NOD, I think) where the enemy AI would airstrike you frequently. They picked the top right unit on the map (or was it the top right structure?). Playing against the computer was fun :-)

UT2004 (1)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557639)

I really appreciated the AI in UT2K4, mostly in multiplayer game; you could see the bots waiting for each other , crouched behind the door, before barging in; that felt very real. The fact that simple orders could be given (attack, defend, follow me, give me your wepon) was good; it's not specific to UT, but too often forgotten.

Re:UT2004 (1)

PipOC (886408) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557681)

I thought the AI was a big joke, the bots couldn't even manage to avoid sniper fire at all on the highest setting.

Cheating (5, Interesting)

dunezone (899268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557649)

Ive noticed that AI is not designed to beat your next move but is designed to cheat you without the player noticing. Command and Conquer and Gears of War are two games that have two well hidden cheats. Command and Conquer is twelve years old almost, the enemy AI was programmed to always have full resources as long as one harvester made it back. Therefor what would take you five harvesters would only require them one. Most players would of never noticed this unless their strategy was to cut off enemy resources instead of an full out assault. Gears of War was praised for having AI that used the environment to their advantage which helped cover a little cheat they had. The AI had a weird tendency to know exactly where you were as long as your cross hair covered them or came close to them. For example if you were to pop your head out and just happen to have your cross hair on an enemy turret that was always firing at a covered friend, it would immediately start firing at you, this would also goes for the regular grunts/guards. This is very noticeable on "Insane", since that mode requires you to use cover 90% of the time and better tactics then rush in and shoot everything that moves. AI is not designed to outsmart/out think/or consider your next move, in my opinion most AI is designed to defeat you by using small cheats in the programming that give it an unfair advantage and hopefully designed so that you wont be able to notice it.

Viva Pinata (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557661)

I was amazed when my pretztail not only installed a whiteboard in its den, but then proceeded to prove Fermat's Last Theorem. I think it's because I fed him a Doenut...

Good, or good for the price? (5, Insightful)

Pode (892717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557673)

GalCiv II has given me the worst beatings I've ever taken in a strategy game. Shogun: Total War managed to spring a tactical ambush on me once (although in fairness my grip on tactics was much worse back then). Both of those AIs gave me a challenging game experience as a player, which is what "good" AI should be judged by.
However, if we're talking about "impressive" AI, nothing I've seen in the gaming world can compete with Paradox's EUIII. Yeah, I know, each individual AI nation makes a lot of bonheaded moves. But the game is managing the armies, navies, economic, religious, colonial and foreign policies of up to 300 nations, every game day when a game year can go by in a minute or two, on a 1.9GHz processor. Considering the number of cycles and the amount of memory avaiable for each AI opponent, it's simply amazing to me. I really think that should be the basis of comparison, not so much the level of play the AI achieves, but the level of play it achieves with the resources available to each AI player. If nothing else, that standard makes it meaningful to compare old games against new ones.

Errr... (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557707)

...dunno what gamers they're talking to, but everyone I spoke to about Far Cry always mentioned either AI directly or the "mobs being really clever" (i.e. indirect positive AI appraisal). Pretty sure this has happened for others too.

Perceived Intelligence - Simple is better? (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557711)

I've read articles (maybe at Gamasutra [] ?) citing surveys of playtesters on the perceived intelligence of AI opponents. I wish I could find the articles to cite them, but since I can't I'll just summarize them here:

Consistently, harder AIs were ranked as "smarter" no matter whether this was due to better algorithms or due to cheating. In fact, gamers tended to rank AIs highly that could do "neat tricks" -- say, tossing your grenades back at you, as in Return to Castle Wolfenstein -- which is something best acheived by writing special scripts for the purpose, not by advanced AI methods.

In general, it was concluded, you will be most successful in creating an AI which is perceived as "smart" if you do it the simple, dumb way: Count on the intelligence of your programmers, not of a machine.

[As someone interested in statistical learning theory (among other things), I found those results somewhat disappointing...]

Re:Perceived Intelligence - Simple is better? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558065)

It's only disappointing if you think intelligence derives directly from the size of our brain, and not from decades of knowledge, experience, and training. Our big brains allow us to learn, but it is not a substitute for experience. The goal of much advanced AI is that we don't need to program the neat tricks manually, not that the neat tricks are no longer needed at all.

Is there really a demand for this (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557715)

Granted, most of us are computer nerds here, so we would marvel at really really sophisticated AI in a game. Does the average gamer (i said AVERAGE) share this sentiment? Certainly not. The average gamer is somebody who might sit down and play a video game for a couple of hours a week....its just a way of filling time to them. The VAST majority of gamers out there are not the pathetic second life player types who would benefit (well i guess it is debatable whether that is a 'benefit' or not) sophisticated AI.

My favorite game is, for instance, quake 3 arena. Yes this is mainly a multiplayer game, but when i need to space off and think about a problem at work for a while, i fire it up and play against the computer for a while. If i absolutely demanded smart players to play with, i'd play online.

in conclusion, the cost/benefit ratio involved with developing highly sophisticated AI is very very very high (if not > 1), meaning that it is foolish to pump money into it.

F.E.A.R (5, Informative)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557717)

Here's a short article on the A.I. in the game F.E.A.R., "F.E.A.R.'s AI Demystified" [] , (in more detail here [] ). Having played through F.E.A.R., what impressed me so much was that a lot of what is called A.I. is actually audio and animation. You can make enemies seem way more intelligent than they really are by doing stuff like have detailed animations for stuff like hopping over barriers or diving through windows that's triggered when they are in certain spots. They would also have the enemies shout stuff, if you had your flashlight on they would scream "Flashlight" and dive for cover.

Re:F.E.A.R (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558079)

I thought the AI in F.E.A.R was really good. The things you mentioned aren't what impressed me - it was how they would work together to search the room you were in, or use covering fire while one or two of their buddies flanked you.

Charcters w/ Good AI Act Like I ThinkThey Should.. (1)

stumbler (219354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557725)

... only better.

Observable results based on a stimulus understood by the player ... that is the key to good AI.

1) Make sure the player can understand (or correctly infer) the stimulus
2) Make sure the actor responds in to the stimulus in a way that makes sense to the player
= WOW GREAT AI ... even if it's a bunch of "if then" statements.

While the goal is easy to describe I can't imagine this is easy to do . . .

Screw game AI (4, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557739)

Google Maps AI rules.
See point 23 []

Re:Screw game AI (1)

LiveMessenger (1082399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557907)

This isn't AI. This is google being funny with an easter egg. Come on : 23. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Well, let us pray its an easter egg...

Command and Conquer (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557741)

Some of Nintendo's Mario games have pretty good AI, like Mario Cart and Mario Party.

I always enjoy the C&C series "brutal" AI, even though they aren't particularly human-like, and sometimes have economy cheating.

Stalker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557759)

Even though Stalker is lacking in a lot of areas
It's AI is pretty evil.

Excellent pathing on it, First AI I can think that retreated into a house, and moved onto the roof to shoot at me
The sad part is, while the pathing on it is really nice, kind-of-almost human.....
It's cheating, Damn infinite ammo :(

If they just went the extra mile and made an AI that manages it's ammo and bum rushes you\Runs like a pansy when they're out of ammo, I'd be advocating it for AI of the decade

yes, in GalCiv2 (2, Insightful)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557791)

If you want a really challenging AI, and one of the best I've seen around, I highly recommend Galactic Civilizations 2 [] . It's a 4X game similar to Civilization but takes place in space. The developers frequently post articles about the AI and how they are continuing to improve it. Furthermore, they read user's strategies and then improve the AI. The greatest part is that on the Tough setting (highest difficulty before they start giving the AI bonuses), the AI provides a challenging game. This is unlike most AIs where a "challenging" AI essentially means that it has a 200% economy bonus. Interestingly, the AI adapts to your game play and they have talked about using the second core in dual core processors to analyze previous games and use different tactics to counter known strategies.

Unreal Tournament (1)

binary_ftw (1028638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557827)

It may be only me, but the feel of some of the most heated multiplayer fights there, the computer players were at least as interesting as human tactics, and nailing the most difficult ones were downright gratifying. It's kinda ambitious to base a whole singleplayer story on deathmatches head-to-head, so they obviously put some effort into it. When I think of it the thing that impressed me most were their mastery of the weapon arsenal, with 7-8 widely different weapons, there were always split-second horror the likes of; "oh no, he's not going to do that... yes he did".

To anticipate an AI move isn't always a bad thing, because great minds think alike, eh?

S.T.A.L.K.E.R (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557847)

Walked up on a group of 2 bandits, pumped a few rounds in one guys face and he drops like a rock. The other guy does absolutely nothing. Now maybe he won't miss the guy I killed but wouldn't you at least turn to get a look at the person that just sprayed brain matter all over you?

Hitman (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557851)

Blood money. the AI is insane, even at the lower levels.

Re:Hitman (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558071)

This is a joke right? The AI is stupid. There's points where a VIP is killed (won't say who) and it's been noticed that the guards he has will find him, walk over to him do a normal "death" routine and walk back to the place they are guarding. This is after the person they have been assigned to guard is killed.

Early on in the game there was a couple points where I messed up with a Quarter and then enemy walked into a room where I was standing and stared directly at me as I walked up to him, he didn't say or react at all, he just stared.

The AI is insane, in that it doesn't work.

Chess Master (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557873)

... whatever version is actual right now. Heck, even my HTC Wizard at 200 Mhz constantly kept beating me at any higher difficulty setting, and it was definitely not cheating, if you take my meaning.

Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox (1)

Anonymous Cake (1068146) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557885)

Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox has to have one of the best AIs among games of its kind. It never cheats, it can surprise you, and beating enemies actually feels like an accomplishment (and if you loose, it's not because the enemies are impossibly difficult, but because you're not skilled enough, or you're not going about beating them the right way). I don't think I've ever come across anything like it.

Definitely not World of Warcraft (1)

wilsonthecat (1043880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557887)

I can tell you the most unimpressive AI: World of Warcraft. It's so stupid another computer (wowglider) can play it with minimal configuration from a human.

splinter cell games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557889)

have used some pretty impressive AI...

goombas on super mario brothers for NES also had a solid movement pattern that deserves mention! :L

I am pretty sure Tetris. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557901)

It always seemed to know exactly what blocks you DON'T need. I always thought Tetris was a rather malignant professor sort.

Never. (1)

Dread_ed (260158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557929)

I have never seen game AI that worked intelligently. My gaming cycle goes like this: learn the controls, remap the controls to optimize, get specific reaction time down, figure out the basic AI repitoire, learn the "maps", master reaction times, learn to trick the AI or "squeeze between the cracks" of the AI.

People learn to do tricks the computer doesn't do. This is the draw of online FPS games like Quake, Counterstrike, etc.

If developers wanted to make good AI they would beta test the Player vs player version before the full game and model the tactics of the better players with their AI.

Game AI? Why bother! True AI has been solved. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557945)

So-called "Game AI" is not even AI. It is just s few fancy tricks to make the game program look, but not actually be, a little bit smarter.

Mind.html [] recently became a True AI that reveals the deep thought process in a tutorial display mode. You can interact with the AI Mind and watch it thinking, as spikes of excitation spread by associative tag from concept to concept in the knowledge base of the genuine artificial intelligence.

Mind.Forth AI for robots [] is written in Win32Forth for installation in autonomous mobile robots and has spawned at least one independent offshoot on the Web as the true AI evolves and speciates into multiple branches of live-or-die AI in the Darwinian jungle of survival of the fittest.

Franks AI Mind [] is the "son-of-Mind.Forth" AI with advanced features such as the ability to send e-mail and to read Web pages.

The original (4, Insightful)

Squalish (542159) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557953)

Unreal Tournament.

It had the first bots that you could play against for hours and not even notice you were offline. I havn't encountered a more convincingly human AI in the dozen FPS games I've played since, including UT 2k3(which probably means that the UT maps were just easier to code for).

It's the only game where you can feel yourself increasing in skill over the course of a few days of playtime, and ratchet up the difficulty a bit and get the same kill ratio, without feeling suddenly overwhelmed by perfectly aimed headshots.

Re:The original (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557987)

I'm not a big FPS fanatic so maybe I don't know what i'm talking about, but the Counterstrike bots seem pretty good to me.

System Shock (1)

cinemabaroque (783205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557957)

If you played this when it first came out you'll probably agree with me that Shodan was an implacable and reactive enemy that would not only threaten you but follow through. And this was all obviously scripted (the best way to create a realistic intelligence, look at how intelligent the NPCs in the Fallout series were compared to your average level of interaction in a RPG). I don't think that an average game developer has the resources to create an amazing AI for just one game leaving simple algorithms + scripting for specialized situations as your best bet to get a realistic feel to the in game situation.

games don't really need good AI (1)

Uzik2 (679490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557975)

People don't play games if get consistently beaten. They want to win.
If your AI is too good it won't make for a very fun game. It just has to be
good enough not to lose easily. The best thing would be a game that tailors
it's difficulty so it's challenging for the player but not too hard. It should
adapt as the player gets more skillful. Just my 2 cents.

Re:games don't really need good AI (2, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558085)

AI has nothing to do with difficulty. It has to do with realism, that you picture the opponents as real people and things that behave accordingly.

Creating difficult opponents is just a matter of reaction and aim. They can just stand blatantly still and fire at the very nanosecond you reveal yourself.

Good AI is the kind that retreats when it is outnumbered, interacts with its comrades and the surroundings, explores and interacts with the mess that you yourself may create and so forth.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (1)

s.vaningelgem (1082401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557977)

I truly think this AI is genious.

I was doing some running around and when you just come out of the first village, you can go right. At that point I saw some military looking guys with guns like MP5 or so (turned out to be a more advanced version of an AK, but whatever). So I think like "cool, I want such gun". First I tried walking over there, and asking them nicely.
Didn't work out so fine and I found myself reloading the last save.

Then I would go in there Quake-style. Pretty cool, got 1 down, and 2 shooting at me while a bunch of other guys where approaching. At that point I died (again).

Then I tried with a little more tactical style, use bushes to hide my presence, hiding behind trees and stuff, but when you walk through bushes, the leaves whistle in the wind. Seems one of the military guys found out and came checking it out.
Stupid as I was, I started blasting with my pistol (result: dead again).

Then I played a little better and got 3 of them killed. And I got 2 nice guns! (couldn't find the 3th gun though).

So I was moving the bodies to be hidden by some bushes when the next patrol came along. Too bad for me because I still had 1 body to hide.... Couldn't :'(. So I ran for it.

Then I thought like ... Ok... Let's just sign of this mission in the small village I talked about before.
When returning to the surface, I found out the freakin' village was under siege by the military! They freakin' came to avenge the death of their fallen comrades.

If you don't agree with me that THAT is some nice AI coding, I really don't know what you call a good AI ;-).

This is an easy one! (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558009)

CRobots! Oh man I had this one that...

Trigger Events (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558031)

One of the things I don't like about FPS's is trigger events. It's not really AI, per se, but it makes the computer absolutely predictable, which is what a good AI should not be. For example, if you played a mission once, died when you got to a certain point because some triggered enemies surprised you, and then went back through the mission again, you would now know exactly where these guys are going to be and how to kill them. It's one of the greatest failings of FPS's. Even the Halo series had triggered enemies, and it's lauded as one of the greatest FPS's of all time. This wouldn't be so bad if the enemies would "spawn" with a sufficient time gap for the event to go unnoticed, but sometimes you'll be in a room with no enemies and than the next second there's 4 elites firing at you. I've noticed this in almost every FPS I've ever played.

Perfect Dark N64 (2, Interesting)

oliphaunt (124016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558045)

OK, it's pretty old by now, but I was a big fan of Perfect Dark [] . The AI robots had difficulty settings AND personalities. If you were running deathmatch games against the AI, you could set AI's to have various behavior attributes [] :

  • PeaceSim:As the name implies, this Sim hates violence. In fact, the PeaceSim will go around hoarding weapons so people don't pick them up, and disarm people for their weapons. Therefore, they'll drop a payload of weapons when you kill them. Just don't let them sneak up on you...
  • ShieldSim:Like some human players I know, this Sim is a shield addict. It will always go for the shield, even if it has no weapons! In fact, if you damage its shield in the least bit, it will retreat to get another shield! My advice is don't let it.
  • RocketSim:This is the pyromaniac of the Simulants! The RocketSim will always pursue the explosive weapons, and will set them off, even if doing so would spell death for itself! Avoid this Sim, or kill it before it can get an explosive.
  • KazeSim:This is fearless, suicidal menace. It will make suicidal runs, even with no weapons, to try and destroy you. It fears nothing, and that makes it a dangerous enemy.
  • FistSim: Unlike the PeaceSim, the FistSim is violent. Like the PeaceSim, though, it will hoard weapons and try to engage you in hand-to-hand combat. It won't use weapons, but it will do good damage with its hands.
  • PreySim: This Sim truly feels that honor is a minor detail in a fight to the death. The PreySim dislikes competition, so it will hunt down the easiest targets to gain an easy kill. Its favorite targets include weakened opponents that are unarmed or armed with a weak weapon, and enemies that have just spawned. The PreySim also loves to cloak, so beware.
  • CowardSim: This is the SimWussy. It flees to safety at the mere sign of confrontation, and will only confront you if it has a superior weapon. Carry a big gun, and you will rarely meet this Sim. Hide out and try to catch the coward off its guard.
  • FeudSim: Stay out of this Sim's way! If the FeudSim goes after you, it will hunt you until the end of the game! It will mercilessly hunt its target, even if you kill it.
  • SpeedSim: As the name suggests, this Sim is extremely fast. It's definitely faster than you, so it's difficult to hit with standard weaponry. It's impossible to flee, so stand and fight like a man.
  • TurtleSim: This Sim is the opposite of the SpeedSim. It moves at a much slower rate than most players, but it has a shield that is twice as strong as the standard shield! Fortunately for you, it has restricted mobility due to its shield.
  • VengeSim: This is a psychopathic Sim! This Sim will completely ignore other players just to attack the player that last killed it! It attacks with a vicious rage; so to avoid its rage, just leave it alone.
  • JudgeSim: This is the only decent Sim. The JudgeSim acts like the judge of the battlefield, going after the winning player to even out the odds. That means if you are an expert playing against some young rookies, expect this Sim to come after you!
The variety of personalities gave the game infinite multiplayer replay value, and made it easer for beginners to get into the game. You could pick simulants that would ingore a newbie human player and attack only the players with more kills, so the good players can run around slaughtering AI's on the difficult setting in the same game that a newbie is just exploring the level and figuring out how to reload. The experts still have fun while the newbies don't get instantly killed every time they spawn.

Nef... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18558061)

Nef... Nefarious... man, what a b*tch.... bent me over and rode me hard... (Nef is an AI in the very crack-like addictive Risk-clone game Lux... ;-) )

And then there's always Perfect Dark (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558073)

Nothing could have prepared me for unlocking darksims, chasing one towards a ladder, and then finding him rotate his upper body completely around to fire back at me as he continued to ascend.

Kohans scripted AIs are quite good (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558081)

Kohan has scripted AIs and a AI scripting language. Some of them are pretty sophisitcated and specialized on a certain faction or even to a certain type of map. If I pick the best in a Game I allways lose.

Falcon 3 (2, Interesting)

Ullteppe (953103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558107)

Anybody remember Falcon 3? While all the other sims pretty much had scripted missions (many still do), Falcon tried to run the whole war in the background. And when you ran into other planes, they acted pretty convincingly. They were hard to beat as well, I remember the Mirage F1s especially as being pretty tough in a dogfight. Pilots of different planes acted differently according to their planes strength/weaknesses. They used 6 months to patch the game sufficiently that it didn't crash all the time, kind of understandable with the complexity.

Aiming AI (1)

Traa (158207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558121)

As an example of how complicated AI (which you all know stands for Algorithmic Interaction of NPC's ;-) can be, I once read a really lengthy article about the AI efforts put into NPC/bot aiming in one of the Quake engines. Basically, you can trivially create a bot that has flawless aim. This will create about the worst gaming experience ever, you see it you die. Take that back, you didn't even see it yet..and die. So, you go about creating an aiming algorithm that needs to mimic human style aiming taking into account reaction times, distance, NPC viewing direction, lead time when characters are moving, reloading times, weapon switching choices, etc. Really, you can spend weeks just tweaking this and still feel like you are playing a bot.

smart AI != game AI (1)

vindaci (177131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18558129)

game AIs aren't supposed to be smart. they're supposed to be entertaining. this usually means they must let the user win at some point... which usually means they can't be as smart as they could be.

also, so much CPU cycle goes into the amazing graphics, sound, and the physics engine in today's games that there is little CPU cycle left over for AIs. eye candy sells more than the good AI, for better or worse.

An AI researcher once told me that the AI research industry can't get its R&D funding from the game industry because game AIs have inherently different goals than the research AIs. AI research is usually about using all available CPU power to create the smartest AI possible - game AI is about using as little CPU as possible to create AI that eventually defeats itself.
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