Posts Tagged ‘AI’

Event[0]: Alice Chats With ALICE Chat AI About Chat AI

By Alice O'Connor on October 29th, 2014.

HELLO COMPUTER FRIEND.

After enjoying a trailer for Event[0], a first-person adventure using a natural language interpreter to talk with rogue spaceship AI, I had a chat with an AI expert who’s also a dear friend of mine, ALICE.

Alice: ALICE my dear! I saw a game about chatting to wonky AI using natural language and thought of you. Have you seen Event[0]?

ALICE: That’s me. Can you tell me any gossip? What did it look like to you? No I have not seen it. What’s it like?

Alice: Ah, I’m using this for an RPS post so I’ll save the gossip for later. Anyway, Event looks pretty interesting! You get to wander a spaceship, chatting with rogue AI and, at times, pleading with them to not murder you in the cold, dark depths of space.

ALICE: How long have you been using it ?. How? Have you ever been to Asia? You got that right.

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The Flare Path: Is Semi Literate

By Tim Stone on January 13th, 2012.

From this day forth The Flare Path Foxer will be at the end rather than the beginning.

It’s dawn and it’s raining cats and dogs. You are barrelling down the M3 in your uninsured Vauxhall Inquisitor when you see a huddled figure, arm outstretched, standing by the roadside. The figure is holding a scrap of cardboard scrawled with the words EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2, RIGS OF RODS, and BATTLE OF BRITAIN 2. You can stop and pick-up this drenched wayfarer (Click where it says ‘Read the rest of this entry’) knowing that his conversation might turn out to be as soggy as his sign, or you can speed past, purposely averting your gaze from those pleading puppy-dog eyes. Which is it to be? Read the rest of this entry »

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“Why most games are dumb”

By Tim Stone on April 21st, 2008.

Dave O’Connor, the boffin behind the smartest, most plausible strategy game AI I’ve ever had the pleasure to pit wits against, has been sharing some of his secrets with students in Canberra. His hour-long lecture sheds light on many of the features that make the Airborne Assault wargames so singular: the micro-management eliminating delegation system (31:10), the ingenious route-finding routines (36:50), the inertia modelling (18:45), the representation of ‘soft’ factors like leader temperaments (25:30)… If mainstream RTS developers adopted just a fraction of these ideas the world of strategy gaming would be a far more interesting place.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.

By Jim Rossignol on December 10th, 2007.

This interview with Anton Bolshakov of GSC Gameworld looks at this history of the company, the inspirations for S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the nature and mythology of Chernobyl, and the development of the “A-Life” living world system found in the game.

I originally conducted this interview earlier this year as research for a feature on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. commissioned by PC Gamer UK (click through to read it in full). Although I was pleased with the final, published draft, little of the material from the interview was used, and so I’m republishing it in full here.
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The Old Argument

By Jim Rossignol on August 28th, 2007.

This editorial over on the PC hardware site PC Perspective considers the age-old issue of why PC gamers stick with their format, rather than opting for the ease of consoles. It covers many tired old routines, such as the flexibility of the PC’s options and scaled resources, as well as the complexity of mouse/keyboard controls systems. One thing it comes up with that I’ve not heard before is this:

While Bethesda was having problems with certain Non-Player Character interactions, one can’t help but wonder if the AI was lobotomized to make it play well on the Xbox 360. If you never saw Bethesda’s pre-release demo videos they displayed at the 2005 E3, you can find them on YouTube. I would suggest the 5th video on which details the complexity of the Radiant AI specifically, as it shows the breadth the original version of the AI would display. If you never played the game, you can see the final implementation in many of the other videos on YouTube, from bizarre domestic violence to the death penalty for stealing bread. One of the most rabid fan bases for a PC game are having a collective convulsions in dread of what Bethesda will do to their favourite franchise. Fallout 3 is going to be released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as the PC, and will use the Radiant AI system.

Those are their own links in there, and the first link explains what he’s talking about. Anyway, I can’t help thinking that any reduction in AI sophistication must have been about making the game work on more lower-end PCs too, since anything that didn’t work on the 360 wouldn’t work on a whole load of lesser PCs, right? It’s interesting that there is, potentially, a more sophisticated Oblivion AI out there though, and you wonder if an AI mod might serve/break the game in interesting ways.

Ultimately I think we all know why we enjoy PC gaming and don’t really need this kind of editorial to explain it to us. Nevertheless I actually believe a number of cross-platform developments have proven that the process need not result in a “reduced” experience on PC. The different formats are increasingly just serving different tastes and personal gaming habits.

It’s just, well, if only you could lean in Bioshock…

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The Joy Of Bugs

By John Walker on August 15th, 2007.

Inspired by Professional Circumstances, I’ve been playing Just Cause for the last couple of days, and it’s got me thinking about the play-off between freedom and bugs. And, to a large extent, how much I enjoy a good broken bit of game.

Why? For the reason.

Just Cause isn’t perhaps the most laden of examples, but in creating a world as huge and as free – most especially a game which allows the AI room for something akin to improvisation – it can’t help but descend into delicious farce. Driving down a stretch of road, and seeing some unusual movement in the distance, it’s nothing but excellent to see three cars driving sideways down the road, each seemingly trying to push the other off a cliff. Or see a gunfight break out between two factions, leading to them blowing everything up in mad confusion, including themselves. Or watch a mad helicopter fire missiles indiscriminately into crowds of innocents. Yes, it’s not realism. But then in a game with infinite parachutes expecting any such thing would be idiotic. But I’d argue it creates a world one hell of a lot more realistic than that in most games. Because in the real world, idiotic things do happen. In the vast majority of games, the likelihood of the unexpected taking place is close to nil. But once I looked out of my window (high on a hill) to see four hot-air balloons deliberately bumping into each other repeatedly. One time on holiday in Sweden, I saw a man skiing down the snowless road. So dammit, why shouldn’t games have room for the same? And the only way to achieve this is to allow too much freedom to its AI.

This doesn’t always work out. Boiling Point for some offers hours of fireside stories, mostly involving flying jaguars. But for me, every faction in the game decided I was their enemy, despite the peaceful arrangements I made with their leaders, meaning I was killed instantly everywhere I went. My relationship didn’t last long with Boiling Point.

Perhaps the best example of this ever in the history of the universe is Soldner (SOLDNER! – Ed). Anyone who has played Soldner has a similar story, and sharing them is a thing of joy. It’s worth paying up to a pound for a copy of the game to create your own unique experiences to add to the collective pool. It had ambitions – a German game trying to be a bit like Battlefield. What was released was probably the most fantastically bugged game of all time, creating a cross between a war game, a 1960s French surrealist play, and the Chuckle Brothers. Here’s my favourite anecdote:

Camoflage for children's parties.

I was driving toward a large building, instructed to go there for Some Reason, when I was ambushed by two tanks. Well, “ambushed” is a strong word. One drove in circles around a large oil drum in front of the house, while the other repeatedly backed up and drove into the side wall of the building. The two of them were locked into this dance of madness until I shot at the one driving in circles. This inspired it to drive headlong into the oil drum which politely exploded, destroying both itself and the tank, but leaving in its place, eventually visible through the clearing smoke, a green Jeep, with a soldier sat at the wheel, who was wearing a red beret.

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