Artificial Intelligence

February 26, 2008

I  have always wondered about this … how does a computer game environment work if your not the main player of the game … you always see people running around when your flailing your rocket launcher around in grand theft auto … but why are they running what tells them to be scared – ARE THEY REAL??

Taken from – http://davidgrantwordpresscom.wordpress.com

NPC stands for Non-playable character. NPC’s  are the characters in a game that are controlled by the AI. Here is a picture from the game Mafia, it shows a city populated with NPC’s. Here a screen-shot of the player in the enviroment with the NPC’s.

The ‘core tasks’  of NPC are to seem realistic in the environment. For example if the NPC was an alien it might react to a joke different to say the way a human would react to the joke. But in an action game they might be given the task of killing you and they would do that to the best of their abilities.

NPC’s require alot of data to perform their task properly. They need to identify hiding positions, analyse 3D topology (not walking into buildings), it needs to find away to flank an enemy if he is in cover and it needs to choose the correct position of the camera.

Another name for world navigation is called ‘path-finding’.

World navigation is broken down into 2 sub-divisions. The first division is called world navigation, the second is called local navigation. The only real difference between the 2 is the scope. World navigation handles the geography of the game whilst the local navigation handles rooms, characters and objects.

I believe that the local navigation is more dynamic because it is having to deal with the characters and objects.

Flocking algorithms are the boundaries given to an NPC in a game that effect the way the NPC behaves. Basic flocking consists of three main rules.

Separation – Avoid crowding neighbours

Alignment – steer towards average heading of neighbours

Cohesion – steer towards average position of neighbours

Peter believes this because as time goes by our technology increases which means that the level of AI increases. He wants to make games that have people who think and have emotions. Also if the AI is good enough maybe we will begin to care about the NPCs.

Jess believes that balance is important because if a game is too realistic then fun will be removed. If a game is not fun anymore then the gamer will not want to play on it anymore. He also believes that variety and randomness are important aswell – variety in behaviors and some unpredictability within the believeable realm.

Chess can be considered “emergent game play” as it has a set of assigned rules that the computer must follow. But it can go about playing the game any way it wants as long as it stays within the rules.

Here is an example of an emergent game.

Star Wars Galaxies

And here is another example of an emergent game.

The Matrix Online


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