IA Logo


IA Information
Communication

Dave Mark's books

IA on AI


Posts Tagged ‘Post-Play’em’

Gamasutra "Expert Blogger"

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Today I was invited to begin writing as an “Expert Blogger” for Gamasutra, the game industry’s #1 news and information source. This is apparently something they have started recently. There are “member blogs” and “expert ones”. It seems like anyone can start a member blog on the site, but the “expert” ones are invite only. Anyway, I’m in some good company. Some of the other experts that are blogging there include Mark DeLoura, Brenda Brathwaite, and Noah Falstein. Not bad company!

Anyway, I was encouraged to cross-post some of my material from IA on AI and Post-Play’em so if you follow those, you will see some duplication at times.

Anyway, mosey on over to my new blog at Gamasutra. I’m very honored to be included in that family.

Web site troubles… new posts coming!

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Ok folks, I know this is getting old. I have been having horrible problems with my ISP since early April. I won’t name the ISP yet, but you can look it up for yourself, I suppose. I have been with this company for 6 years and things started fairly well. However, in recent years, especially since a buyout, things have been a little more dicey. Well, this latest issue has to do with a server move gone awry. If the issue persists, I won’t hesitate to name them… at about the same time as I go shopping for a new ISP – something I don’t want to have to waste time doing.

Because the site has been up and down for 5 weeks, I’ve been a little hesitant about posting. I have plenty of material I want to put on IA on AI and have been wanting to start putting some new observations on Post-Play’em. I have been assured that the ISP issue will be solved soon (although I was told that over a month ago). However, I think that I may just start writing some of this material anyway. Since I use Blogger, everything is stored on their site first anyway. It wouldn’t take me much to republish if I were to lose things.

Anyway, for those of you who have been checking the blogs and finding only errors, I apologize. I appreciate your loyalty nonetheless.

Thank you,

Dave Mark

GDC 2008 – AI Stuff

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’m in the process of uploading all my GDC-related things to this page. You can actually listen to my audio of the 3 AI roundtables and read my (barely comprehensible) notes that I furiously took during each. Also, it has links to the pictures that I took during the roundtables and the AI Programmers Dinner on Friday night.

On that page, I will also be posting other AI-related tidbits such as my notes from lectures such as those by Soren Johnson’s (Civ 4), Damian Isla (Halo 3), and Peter Molyneux (Fable 2). Give me a few days to get it all straightened out, though.

Also, I sat down with John Abercrombie of 2k-Boston on Sunday morning and spoke with him about the AI that he did for Bioshock. That should be posted on Wednesday. Look for it over on Post-Play’em.

(Remember to tap the RSS feed to keep up with these additions and all other AI-related things.)

One final note about GDC… it’s always an exhilarating week… but it sure does make my head hurt!

Far Cry 2 and AI promises

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

I happened upon this blog entry by a reviewer of the new Far Cry 2 by Ubisoft (note, not Crytek). I include this paragraph here but please visit the blog for more information.

Ubisoft also makes some very grandiose claims about Far Cry 2’s AI, which makes me far more leery than any promises of beautiful graphics or realistic physics. Every game I’ve seen that promises realistic artificial intelligence has fallen short. It’s not about bad AI, but more about developers making promises they can’t back up. According to Ubisoft, Far Cry 2 will sport complex, nonscripted artificial intelligence that has enemies and NPCs reacting to personal needs. I’ve heard that enemy soldiers will seek shade when it’s hot, take breaks then they’re tired, and seek out food when they’re hungry. Combine these claims with a sprawling world and I find myself having flashbacks of the buildup to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks promised some amazingly realistic behavior in its NPCs, but it didn’t quite make it. The game was still very good and its characters occasionally showed glimpses of intelligence, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I saw an enemy medic pick up a wounded soldier to carry him to safety in Far Cry 2 and was impressed by the action, but until I play the final game myself and see that sort of behavior manifest consistently, I’ll take the promises of AI with a generous spoonful of salt.

I seriously agree with the skepticism. One thing that Far Cry 2 has going for its AI is that Crytek is not doing it. Far Cry had gaping holes in it and Crysis continues that trend (see my observations on Crysis at Post-Play’em.). That being said, I would seriously like to see the claims come true, of course. Anything that advances the technology of autonomous agent-based AI is cool with me.

Level Designers trumping AI Programmers

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

I hate glomming on to a blog chain, but I’m going to link to AIGameDev’s article on an article (which may very well be about an article.) The title is Watching Level Designers Use Scripts to Disable Your Autonomous AI: Priceless – which just about covers it. Alex does a nice job of not just reporting on it, but explaining the mindset and even the things to watch out for.

Regular readers of my other blog, Post-Play’em will know that I talked about the idea of scripts over-riding AI behaviors in Call of Duty 2 in a post entitled Call of Duty 2: Omniscience and Invulnerability. Specifically, this was in reference to one of the behaviors mentioned in the other article where an AI agent takes on a temporary god-like quality of invulnerability until such time as he finishes a scripted event – at which time he is no longer important to the level designer’s wishes and is cast back into the pot of cannon fodder so that I can mow him down properly.

Getting back to the initial topic, my thought is that part of the issue between artists/level designers and programmers may very well be that the level designers don’t have a trust in the capabilities of autonomous AI agents… or even and understanding of what could be done with them.

For example, with the use of goal-based agents such as those found in F.E.A.R. (related post), rather than a designer saying “I want the bot to do A then B, then C on his way to doing the final action of D.” he could simply tell the goal-based agent that “D is a damn good goal to accomplish.” If constructed properly, the agent would then realize that a perfectly viable way of accomplishing D would be via A-B-C-D. The difference between these two methods is important. If C is no longer a viable (or intelligent looking) option, then the scripted bot either gets stuck or looks very dumb in still trying to accomplish D through that pre-defined path. The very nature of planning agents, however, would allow the agent to try to find other ways of satisfying D. If one exists, he will find it. If not, perhaps another goal will suffice.

The problem is, while AI programmers understand this concept (especially if you are the one who wrote the planner for that game), level designers and particularly artists, may not have an intuitive grasp on this. They are cut more from the cloth of writers – “and then this happened, and then this, and then it was really cool when I wrote this next thing because I wanted the agent to look smart, and then this…” That is being a writer - and is why many games continue to be largely linear in nature. You are being pulled through an experience on a string of scripted events. (See related post on Doom 3’s scripting vs. AI)

So, can the problem of designers trumping AI programmers be solved? It will always be there to some extent. But education and communication will certainly help the matter.

Post-Play’em does “MarioKart: Double Dash” AI

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Make sure you check out Intrinsic Algorithm’s other blog, Post-Play’em for my new analysis of the AI of MarioKart: Double Dash for Nintendo GameCube!
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Latest blog posts:

IA News

IA on AI

Post-Play'em




Content ©2002-2010 by Intrinsic Algorithm L.L.C.

OGDA