Post-Play'em - Observations on Game AI

Skyrim: Points of Interest

Another minor observation. I was hanging out in a small town and, for some reason, there was a Frostbite Spider corpse in the middle of the road. I don’t know why it was there since I wasn’t the one that killed it. However, what I did notice was that various villagers walked up to it while making eye contact (head contact at least) with it, stopped to look at it for a moment, and then moved on. A guard even knelt down and touched it.

This is such a huge point of immersion in games. That is, people noticing things that are out of the ordinary whether those things are objects that shouldn’t be someplace or events that are unexpected. Certainly, we can’t afford the processing power for people to suggest that a chair would be better off in the other corner of the room, but having a large venomous spider corpse the the middle of the road (or even in town at all) is certainly worthy of note.

Sure, we have done this with the monsters when they are alive. (Although there are plenty of examples where NPCs don’t notice this as well.) However, often people ignore things after they are dead. Even the agents that kill things will often simply state change to walk away from something as if it never existed in the first place. This, on the other hand, is very different. To me knowledge, these people didn’t even see the spider get killed. They simply noticed the corpse as an object that was worthy of note.

Well done!

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