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Artificial Intelligence in Gaming: Part I – Autonomy

Submitted by on Monday, 3 November 2008One Comment

Our good friends over at Three Speech have discussed the future of Intelligent Design and AI in gaming with part 1 of a 5 part series. The topic of today’s discussion is Autonomy. What exactly is autonomy you say? It is the way in which enemies think for themselves and react to player actions rather than follow some predetermined set of choices. The makers of F.E.A.R, Prototype, Dead Space and Wheelman were asked to give their opinion on the subject. Let’s see what they have to say…

The main focus of the article talks about Goal Oriented Action Programming and how enemies are programed with a set of goals and actions. Jeff Orkin of Monolith Productions sums it up quite nicely:

The basic idea behind real-time planning is that we provide the enemies with a set of goals, and a set of actions that can be combined to satisfy these goals, and let them work out the most beneficial sequence of actions at run-time. This allows the enemies to adapt their behavior to the specific situations they find themselves in.

Another interesting point is how players do not want some super AI making perfect decisions every time. We want one that has the ability to make mistakes yet still give us a challenge. Algorithms and designs are becoming more efficient and capable of creating dynamic AI, making a better experience for the player. Programmers, such as Sergio Garces Casao, Louis Gascoigne and Nick Davies, design techniques that best suit the type of situation their game is in. 

As an aspiring Computer Science major, I’ve had some hands on experience with AI and its implementation. I believe that AI will continue to improve but at what point do we call it quits? How smart do we actually want our enemies to be? Many of today’s games involve finding a pattern in the enemies and then it becomes much easier. Of course we want our enemies to react to how we play but at the same time, we don’t want them to completely destroy our every move. That’s when enjoyment turns into frustration. 

Clearly there is much to be discussed on the matter of Artificial Intelligence so for a more in-depth look at Autonomy, check out the article. It’s a great read and goes into more of the technical side of gaming than most. What are your opinions on Artificial Intelligence and gaming? Tell us in the comments.  Stay tuned for more discussions on Intelligent Design and AI from Three Speech.