Post-Play'em - Observations on Game AI

Skyrim AI Weapon Selection

Say what you want about Lydia and her lack of pathfinding prowess, she does do some things right. The problem is (as is the case with all good AI), unless you are looking for it, you might not notice.

Early on in my relationship with her, I had noticed that she would switch between her bow and a sword. Later on, as is part of her duty (which she will remind you of in her sarcastic, resigned drawl), I had given her a bunch of stuff to carry for me. That included a few different weapons and 3 different magical staves with varying abilities.  During a combat, I noticed that she was using a paralysis staff to disable a mage we were fighting. After knocking his ass to the ground in such fashion, she joined me in whacking him into oblivion (not to be confused with “into Oblivion”).

I’ve seen her in other situations use the paralysis staff, switch to using two other more offensive damage staffs, and then pull out an axe in place of one of the staffs… all as the situation warrants and all in the same combat sequence. This is something I’ve  been looking for in games for quite some time.

I haven’t been able to completely discern whether she is using a specific rule-based system or if there is some sort of underlying utility model at work. I would tend to say that it would be at least a portion of the later. That is a model that is far more expandable which is necessary when you include the number of potential weapons (and other objects, I’m sure) and potential factors to consider. If I notice more, I will mention it.

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