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AIGameDev Column: The Art of AI Sidekicks

Batman and Robin make an appearance in my Developer Discussion column at AIGameDev.com this week. In The Art of AI Sidekicks:Making Sure Robin Doesn’t Suck, I touch on the recent shift towards providing consistent, engaging sidekicks for the player. Certainly there are unique challenges in an AI agent that is so ever-present. To lift a segment from the column:

If we are going to have an AI that’s tagging along behind us for hours on end, wouldn’t it be better for us to love him/her/it? Let’s face it, if you are playing 10 or 20 hours of game content, any form of repetitive AI may have you digging through the manual for scouring cheat codes online in order to find the “slap your sidekick upside the head” control. You can’t simply get away with seven seconds… or even 5 minutes of believable behavior. Beyond that, the sidekick needs to be more than just something you are entertained and amused by. You need to be able to depend on it… as if it were your lifelong partner.

The ensuing discussion spurred many great comments. Take a gander at it and chime in with your opinion (or a solution?).

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