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GoatLord

Most impressive use of A.I. in a game?

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I was watching my buddy play GTA5 on PS4 recently, and was kind of amused that the pedestrians are still fucking idiots. GTA3 came out 15 years ago and there has been literally no progress in that department. They still barely react and they still spout non-sequiturs. So yeah, not too impressive. But surely there's some examples that show how far we've come. Got any?

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This may come as a surprise but I believe the best (non heavily scripted) A.I. comes from the Russian "S.T.A.L.K.E.R" series. Although it's the mods that can make the A.I. shine. The vanilla game has half decent combat mechanics and great path finding for a game of its time.

The best and most complete Stalker mods tend to have A.I. explore the open world by themselves and use some form of smart terrain path finding. The NPCs tend to take advantage of both terrain and structures alike for cover, sneaking, grenade throwing and ambushes. Oh do they love to ambush the player sometimes. However you will still occasionally come across stupid or unorthodox A.I. behavior but for the game's age and depth it's damn impressive.

I always want to recommend the stalker mod 'Misery' to everyone as that has some of the best added features, A.I. and challenges out of all mods but the difficulty is very high. It's pretty much like introducing Doom on Nightmare or Ultra Violence to a new player who never played Doom before.

Otherwise I hear Fear has some interesting A.I. especially when you hear them communicating and organizing with one another. "I see a flashlight, ok you flank left and I will flank right" and stuff like that.

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I think the stupidity of GTA pedestrians contributes to the charm of the game, as a sort of parody of the stupidity of actual people.

Chezza said:

Otherwise I hear Fear has some interesting A.I. especially when you hear them communicating and organizing with one another. "I see a flashlight, ok you flank left and I will flank right" and stuff like that.

Major peeve of mine right here, calling scripted events "A.I." By that logic, every machine ever invented is a form of artificial intelligence.

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AndrewB said:

Major peeve of mine right here, calling scripted events "A.I." By that logic, every machine ever invented is a form of artificial intelligence.


Add that to the Peeves thread!

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AndrewB said:

Major peeve of mine right here, calling scripted events "A.I." By that logic, every machine ever invented is a form of artificial intelligence.


That's not a scripted event. If they see your flashlight at any point in the game it alerts them of your presence and they start getting into position.

Was just playing FEAR actually and while I was crawling in a vent I heard one shout 'Where is he?!' and another yell 'He's in the vent!'. Next thing I know bullets everywhere.

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AndrewB said:

Major peeve of mine right here, calling scripted events "A.I." By that logic, every machine ever invented is a form of artificial intelligence.

You either haven't played FEAR or this post is a complete non-sequitur.

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STALKER and FEAR were my first good impressions of AI, with Half-Life being a runner-up.

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I guess you haven't played The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct or Right To Hell: Retribution if you think that in GTA worst IA.
Yeah... F.E.A.R, S.T.A.L.K.E.R has good IA

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Glaice said:

STALKER and FEAR were my first good impressions of AI, with Half-Life being a runner-up.


Nowadays HL's AI is laughably bad. Considering Unreal and Kingpin came out around the same time, but HL eclipsed those so people don't remember their impressive AI.

Just beat HL again, haven't touched it since 2012, now I see the 'good' AI was just a clever illusion most of the time.

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In agreement with STALKER here. I've been in a few firefights in that game which actually surprised me with how NPC's on my side functioned in combat. I've seen them take effective formations, provide cover for each other, and even ME occasionally and this was before adding mods like Misery and such. After adding mods like that you'll see even crazier stuff. NPC's really hold their own well when the game's AI is pushed pretty hard.

Doesn't sound like much, I know, but considering that this is a practically indie game from 2007 made in Russia and AI in general is basically just the computer/game coming up with it's next move on its own...that's pretty impressive.

The FEAR games were alright until the third game. Too much scripting in FEAR3 for me. FEAR2 was really the best balance between survival horror and fucking murder everything on screen the series got. The replica soldiers were trollish assholes with their AI at higher difficulty and use pretty effective divide and conquer tactics to get you sometimes. In FEAR3 they just rushed straight at you like human first time FPS players and that's no fun.

I can't really complain too much about GTA5's NPCs since I play those games mostly to just drive cars and wreak random havoc. I can't imagine it would be easy on a system to give that many NPC's unique behaviors even scripted, so that could be why Rockstar's had them basically be total retards since GTA3.

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Speaking of Stalker, have you guys ever played DeadSpace 2? The A.I. in general is not noteworthy except one particular creature... The Stalker.

My memory is vague but I do remember these pesky bastards would work as a team, look around corners, DISTRACT you while another sneaks around and charges your flank. Seriously, they operated like this. And I can't get my head around how much it is scripted and how much is the real deal. But I was impressed, and enjoyed it.

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Yea FEAR AI is pretty much up there. They work as a team and can execute varied tactics to engage the player. Also they swear which is funny as hell. Haven't seen a smart AI like that since then, even with its successors.

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You know what? The combat ai in fallout 4 ain't half bad keeping in mind that it's an open world Bethesda game. I've been killed not watching my flank more times then I'd like to admit, and they seem to know how grenades are supposed to work. Beats the fallout 3/NV 'charge the PC' way.

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What's the difference between scripting and true A.I.? Is it all technically scripted or is that a misnomer?

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I'm always impressed by RTS games like Starcraft, Warcraft, and Command and Conquer that they come with AI that can play surprisingly competitively in such a complicated game.

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Captain Red said:

You either haven't played FEAR or this post is a complete non-sequitur.

Why can't it be both??

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GoatLord said:

What's the difference between scripting and true A.I.?

A scripted event is fully predefined and started by a single trigger. AI implies some non-trivial degree of feedback from player's actions, position, behavior, inventory, objects currently located near him, objects not directly related to him at all, etc. In other words, AI is supposed to count with a wider range of inputs than a single trigger, and do something effective and more complex than a scripted event would.

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I think random AI similar to what is in Doom is the most interesting, maybe combine it with some waypoints/hotspots to allow them to get around complex obstacles. The random AI probably gets around those eventually, but waypoints/hotspots could speed it up.

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In my completely personal and arbitrary opinion, nothing less than a self-modifying success-seeking system should be called A.I. Not that I'm some sort of authority on the proper use of English, I just think that by referring to any type of computer opponent as "A.I.", we're helping create a generation of people who don't have the foggiest clue what intelligence actually is, how it works, and how we might go about artificially creating it.

Here are some things that I do not consider to be artificial intelligence:
- Chat bots (the self-modifying property is sometimes there but not the success-seeking)
- The 20 Questions toy
- Computer opponents in pretty much every video game ever made (success-seeking but not self-modifying)

Here are some things that I think qualify as A.I.:
- Watson
- When that guy created that program that learned how to beat Super Mario Bros level 1
- Analytics software, for example what Uber uses to find better and better routes for drivers

This also means that there are ridiculously simple examples of artificial intelligence, such as a program that keeps rewriting itself until it outputs increasingly random numbers, but I could go on....

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If not "artificial intelligence," then how should we refer to non-player character behaviour? Personally, I think "AI" works fine, as long as we all know what we're talking about. Hell, I've seen programmers refer to particularly complex decision-tables on websites as AI, and I would agree at least colloquially.

Also, re scripting versus real, goal-oriented, decision-making systems: A video game is a very limited environment. There isn't much a human avatar can do in this environment, so getting an 'AI' to mimic those actions ('scripts,' like shoot-gun, hide, find-health, etc) isn't that hard. I remember playing Unreal 2004 for hours before I realized my opponents were all artificial.

Additionally, I would argue that it's possible that real life runs on scripts (FAP). That's an example of instinctual behaviour, but it's not that hard to imagine that more complex behaviour could be emulated by running much smaller scripts that might link together dynamically, which are prone to interrupts by higher priority script-starts.

Anyway, this is all personal opinion, and I don't have any studies to back up my meanderings, so grain of salt, obv.

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schwerpunk said:

If not "artificial intelligence," then how should we refer to non-player character behaviour?


NPCB? But let's not kid ourselves. One does not simply coin a phrase. We've settled on "AI", kinda like we've settled on "could care less", and there's no reason to believe that will change.

Personally, I think "AI" works fine, as long as we all know what we're talking about.

For the purposes of threads like these, sure. But because we use the same acronym for two completely different and unrelated concepts, it's incredibly difficult to use both in the same discussion (e.g. "I'd like to see more AI in games and less NPCB"), without prefacing it with long rambling posts like mine. And I guess that's why it's such a peeve for me.

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HL2 definitely had a better AI in comparison to its predecessor.

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@AndrewB: I've accepted the looser definition of "AI" after I found out that "AI" is one of multiple requirements that should appear in my semestral work for an university course of Java programming basics.

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Kingpin:Life of Crime, the thugs will chase you down till' you're dead, had a hard time against them on normal and if you think that's bad already then you don't wanna try a harder difficulty, because that's where the worst is.

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HL1's AI is still really incredible for the time.
It wasn't groundbreaking, but the Grunt's level of AI caught me by surprise.
FEAR would probably be number one though.
I don't know why people say HL2's AI was incredible compared to the first game.
It really wasn't much better than HL1. It really remained the same and made accommodations for all the physics in the game.
Maybe I'm just bitter that the AI never could do all the stuff they showed it doing in the E3 2003 presentation.

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The Civ said:

HL1's AI is still really incredible for the time.
It wasn't groundbreaking, but the Grunt's level of AI caught me by surprise.


I was going to mention that but you beat me to it. I remember replaying sections of H-L1 with the Grunts because they were fun to fight.

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