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Post-Play'em - Observations on Game AI


Driving Crisis in Crysis

Just a brief note as I played through the downloadable demo of Crysis. I was curious about the AI. The reason stems from a GDC a few years back – one of the AI guys I was having a beer with pointed out on a nearby playable setup of Far Cry that you could lure the enemies into the laggoon, make them tread water, go get more enemies into the lagoon, and when you collected enough of them, lob a grenade in to where they were happily treading water. Well, I wanted to see how Crytek improved since then…

Well, I was intruiged at first – the enemies looked like they were doing cool stuff. When I quit for a while, I found the massive number of AI videos on YouTube about Crysis. They were all about the dumb stuff the AI does or doesn’t do. How come I hadn’t seen this? I realized that it was because I was playing the game the way it was supposed to be played… I was letting the AI agents play their roles without challenging them. The guys in the videos were stepping just outside of the parameters at times and the AI would get stuck in a particular animation/behavior and not adapt.

In the example below are some fantastic examples of the AI being almost confused. And this is just a sample of what’s on YouTube.

Well, I went back to playing the next day. Almost immediately I had a situation arise that had me shaking my head. I had driven a jeep along the road for a bit and then decided to hop out – leaving the jeep blocking the road. Soon, an enemy jeep approached from the other direction. I watched from the rocks and trees beside the road as the jeep drove up to mine and, in an effort to stay on its patrol, ran up onto the front bumper of mine. It stayed that way, its front wheels spinning a few feet off the ground. The driver and gunner were oblivious – still stuck in their animations as if they were still out for a Sunday drive.

So, 2 things went wrong – they didn’t react to the fact that my jeep was in their way and adjust their course accordingly. Second, once they were stopped by the physics engine, they didn’t react to this fact. I should have stepped out of the bushes to see if they would have even noticed me at this point (like the boat drivers in the video above didn’t notice people).

It’s a shame that Crytek got so close and so convincing on some things – but has such massive gaping holes in others.

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One Response to “Driving Crisis in Crysis”

  1. Paul says:

    Here is an image of some of the config options for the AI though: http://img157.imageshack.us/my.php?image=aasettingsfulldi2.gif

    You can see reaction time as a setting in there. Those YouTube videos are a bit suspicious since anyone could have edited the config and then done their vid capture.

    I haven’t actually played through Crysis yet, but I will keep an eye out for things when I do.

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