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Your Favorite AI Moments in Games

Alex J. Champandard on October 30, 2007

This week’s discussion on AiGameDev.com is targeted towards the gamer’s spirit inside you! Remember you have another two days to write your interesting comments to win T-Shirt prizes

Here’s the topic for you to run with; what are your best and most memorable “AI moments” in any game? Specifically, think in the following lines:

  • Interacting with AI characters.

  • Playing against invisible AI opponents.

The most popular suggestions will be included (with credits) in a mega-compilation in a few weeks! So don’t hesitate to describe many different moments. Click here to join the discussion.

Discussion 5 Comments

alexjc on October 31st, 2007

One of my favorite moments is in Black and White. I spent a while teaching my oversized cow to move wood from the forest into storage. It took a lot of demonstrations with the leash, and a fair bit of slapping until I gave up. Then, a bit later, I noticed the cow doing this on its own! I can't tell you how proud I was then :-)

Andrew on November 1st, 2007

Ramble alert... ;) I must admit my mind travelled back to Star Wars: Republic Commando, which has quite a decent squad AI - and a lot of moments where the AI does, actually, work quite well (in a basic kind of way) making the fights frantic, but winnable, and against the heavy droids - ever so pressured. It might be a set piece but the different timed defences on the starship, where there were about 3, are bloody difficult and ramp up. It was entirely fulfilling to setup the strategy and complete it - either with me, or one of the team doing the controls. It also had the best voicechat and command system, and being away from the team for a while really was harsh. I did feel a bit for them (Although the ending was a bit hackneyed, and no sequel is in sight... :( ). I must admit black and white was okay, but not entirely that cool to me since my creature never seemed to learn to cast the forest creation spell properly, ahhggg! I needed wood dammit! (the rest was fine though, leaving it to go off by itself was fun to watch). Another perhaps odd moment was experimenting with the demo of Age of Empires 2 (the game wasn't out I recall at the time) and the final tutorial level, messing around with it so much that I was testing if the AI ever could defeat me, and doing strange things to try and get it to be better (and, since the demo is so limited and tutorial quite short, experimenting a lot with the units available) - of course, it couldn't do much, but was fun playing against it and I think is the best demo I've played (and nowadays, not many RTS demos are even released). I also like to try in Call of Duty to keep my entire, initial, squad alive. If you've played them you'll know how hard this is without practice and knowledge of the levels (it's not that the AI is utterly dumb - but the enemies are just as good shots as your allies, although they never go ahead of you). A level in Call of Duty: United Offensive aimed to infiltrate and explode a big gun in a British special forces team, and you got 2 guys who if died, meant you were by yourself. Satisfying to get through that, on hardest difficulty, and they were quite good in fact. Half Life, the initial encounter with the (stealthed!) ninja black ops, was pure crazy, them jumping all over the place. In Opposing Force, it was fun having some moments with largish squads, and keeping them all alive (which was difficult! they sucked against the black ops assassins). In Starcraft, you know you cannot ally with AI's (which is odd really...), so I was forced to create a new level, script in the AI alliances and then, finally, be able to play on a team with the AI (which I enjoy doing!). An achievement, and the Starcraft AI wasn't entirely bad either. The height of my favourite moments though, was starting my own work on Neverwinter Nights NPC AI - working and improving it with a few lines of code so it cast spells in a certain order, and seeing it basically kick my ass, was so great! I remember an old link to a post on seeing an AI created, and how good it is. Even just editing (and basically rewriting) the NPC AI was good. I need to get the time to finish off what I have for NWN1/2 which I was rewriting from my 4 year old mess of an AI. Totally the best thing ever. Man, I'm going to put this on my own site, awesome amount of writing here.

Dave Mark on November 1st, 2007

I am going to go way back to 1988 when I played Ultima V for the first time. When I saw that the world had a game time day/night cycle... and that the people in the world actually followed daily schedules, I was blown away. This was so far out of the norm for the gaming world that it stood out quite a bit. It really got me thinking about what all it would take to do such things.

Ian Morrison on November 1st, 2007

I remember one time in the street levels of HL2, I managed to get a group of civilians to last a very long time. They helped me storm the museum and I managed to get through that, the rooftop, and back down to the street. There was one in particular I was trying to keep safe the entire time, because she seemed to have a hell of a lot more personality than the others. Then we hit the striders. At this point, they started dropping like flies while I was trying to get them under cover, until only the one aforementioned citizen was behind me. We were just about to get into the cover of a pipe when a strider took notice and gunned down my ally. While not intentional, the scene was particularily dramatic: she was slumped against the wall, just out of view of the thing that had killed her. Then I went and blew up some striders. ;) It impressed me how Valve managed to unintentionally have me form emotional attachments to my squad even though they were little more than fire support with voices, faces, and expressions. I've always wondered how you could build on that.

mihaic on November 2nd, 2007

Two games that impressed me and I actually played more than just once were Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic: the Sith Lords. What I can say about them, is that the designers did a really good job with some of the NPC's that were helping the main characters, like Bastila and the HK-47 assassin droid. These NPC's can really get under your skin. Also the feel of some of the places on the Sith home world of Korriban remind me of the Uncanny Valley effect, and the non-linearity of the story made the game experience really fun and enjoyable. It was nice to find that depending on your actions and answers the story was a bit different each time you played. Perhaps in the future we will see more games like that as I heard that automated storytelling is a new field of research in the industry. Speaking of Star Wars universe, what do you think of the upcoming game in the series "The Force Unleashed"? If it is going to be as they present it, I believe it is going to represent a new step in gaming evolution. The Euphoria AI system sounds really interesting by implementing basic survival instincts in the game characters.

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