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Post-Play'em - Observations on Game AI


Left 4 Dead: Forget Something?

I saw an interesting error of logic (which is different than an error of execution) in Left 4 Dead earlier today. As I was holed up in a safe house, about to head out on the next stage of the map, Zoey neglected to grab a health kit. She was slightly injured at the time. The rest of us had health kits already so it wasn’t that she was saving it for us or a semaphore was set saying “leave it for the player”. Also, because we were in the safe house, there were no distractions requiring her attention. She simply was oblivious to the fact that there was a health kit there.

I thought that this was very odd. It would seem that the one thing that the AI sidekicks should do is stock up on stuff whenever they can. This is very much like how they take a moment between battles to do things like reload, pop some aspirin, or heal up. Those are the times that you are supposed to do things. Additionally, during those lulls between the frenetic nightmares, you should also make sure you are stocked up on “stuff”. You never know when you are going to need it. However, while everyone else seemed to do so, she did not.

Because she was almost healed, I have to wonder if there was a fuzzy threshold that was not quite crossed at the time. I had half a mind to shoot her and see if she would change her mind. If I see it happen again, I will do so. Still, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the purpose of what is an obvious pit-stop in the game.

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