Favourite AI Moments

I participated in AlexJC’s “Favorite (sic) AI Moments” thread. It’s a mighty post, so well worth keeping a note of on my own site I think.

Ramble alert… 😉 but read on if you like.

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.

2 thoughts on “Favourite AI Moments”

  1. you know, An drew, you never do mention the AI in the Thief games, whenever you constantly go on about it in a place where we cant stop you. you know i do like the thief games and, while the early ones where a little simple minded, AI wise, where still reasonably well made. there where 3 basic levels of awareness from the stupid amount of enemies, but each enemy, even in the early ones, where more or less aware then each other, and of course there is that trick of scaring a civilian to run to a guard and then running past that guard while he is out of his usual post. its relatively simple but still good AI, certainly based on a fair few variables, sound and light levels for example to trigger the awareness.
    you should play thief again, you did buy thief 2.

  2. Yeah, I might have mentioned it, apart from I, myself, haven’t played more then a few levels of the games 🙂 I know you love it though, and I really should play it (after these other dozen games I have to finish).

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