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Half-Life: All The Right Moves

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- Lately it has occured to me, that the soldiers in Half-Life move very well. Such as, the amount that they lift their legs corresponds well to the distance they step. And fighting them is a real hoot. I do not get the same effect when I play the variants ''They Hunger'' or ''DarkStar'', neither of which uses the soldier characters -only space-monsters. - The guards and scientists, on the other hand, definitely don''t look right when they run. And I notice that in a couple other FPS''s I have on hand (Shadow Warrior, Duke Nukem 3-D, Doom 2, Quake 2, Tomb Raider gold) that the enemy people just do not look as good on the move. - Which wouldn''t mean much except that many of the people who told me that H-L was a good game to get, said so because it "looks good". And I am wondering if what they were noticing was the enemy soldiers'' movement (where your attention is focused), because the rest of the game is for the most part, fairly unremarkable. - Just a thought. - Lubb

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The thing that makes any game in my books is when enemies are placed in the virtual world for a reason. Most games chuck enemies in because the developers think that the player should have a battle at this point in the game. Whereas halflife has enemies placed in becuase it makes sense that this would happen at this point in the game. I think that this is a turning point for all games.

"So you're the one that designed that game are you?"
*Gulp* "Umm, yeah"

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I don''t know about unremarkable. I thought that H-l was an excellent game. Can''t you remember the few times you jumped in your chair because a headcrab had frightened you so much you almost wet your pants?(Not litterally) Anywho the story was sweet ant levels were extremelly well designed. The only bad part about H-L was the lamo guns it had.

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I never really felt *scared* when I played HL, but my
adrenaline really started pumping whenever i heard the
crackle of the radio and the soldiers talking about me.
And the Black Ops folks....*shudder*.
Also, if I remember correctly, the soldiers'' AI was
coded in a squad-based manner. Just watch some time,
when you find one alone, he''ll put down some suppressive fire as he retreats towards other Soldiers, and when you run into multiple soldiers, one or two will try and get behind you while another couple lay down cover fire.
Sure Q3 and UT have *GREAT* Deathmatch AI,
but DAMN those soldiers have to be some of the finest pieces of work i''ve seen a while.
-Run_The_Shadows
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com

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The AI for the soldiers is great! The whole damn game is great! I like the use of the scientists and security officers to open doors for you, and assist you in getting through the maps. I also like the way that a security officer will kill you if you accidentaly shoot him!

And yes, i did jump a few times when a head crab got me!

G Coates
-------------------------------------------

Green ribbon campain, for freedom of innovation
Windows: The only virus with a GUI!

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I found HL a bit overly scripted and hyped. The AI that everyone liked was dumb as a brick. I regualarly saw groups of marines yell, ''gernade, duck'' and crouch down next to the gernade for extermination. Also, the aimbot mentality of the AI underpinnings resulted in numerous ''monsters'' blowing themselves up while standing at a corner of a doorway. That coupled with scripted events just not working if you distrupt their path too much, made the game more comical and tedious than what it should have been. At most, the AI was clumsily executed in places.

All in all, only the marines had any decent AI of the group, with the rest of the AI being your classic death fest shooter AI which used the rush the player until you run out of warm bodies. The marines for the most part tried to execute logical maneuvers only to be ruined by impercise path finding and lack of proper threat analysis (see my reference to the ducking next to the gernade behavior).

The more commonly overlooked AI is the AI from Unreal which had much better execution and much better results from the path finding. I found myself regularly surprised when the AI would pin me down behind an embankment or wall while its buds would flank or encircle me. If HL had better pathfinding, I might have been more impressed with the AI that what I was with Unreal. Instead, I am left with a feeling that everything in HL was a scripted event with no AI to support it beyond some minimal efforts at maneuvering.

Some other cases of bad computer AI from more games than just HL are:
1) chase the rabbit - you pop around a corner, if that, let go a few rounds and wait for the ai to blunder into your sites.
2) dead body indicator - a stack of dead bodies rarely deters AI from doing the exact thing that his fallen comrades have already done - blunder in to an ambush
3) corner surprise - the ai fires a rocket at you and seems surprised that there is a corner in his way
4) B-line - the ai heads straight for you without trying to dodge your fire
5) leap of faith - the ai blunders off a cliff or other ledge device to his death. Ignoring the fact that he is neither fire proof, a bird, or can''t live without air.
6) point blank rocket attack - if you don''t have a heavy weapon at your disposal, but have good armor and a good percentage of your life, you know that you can trust the ai to fire an explosive round if you stand right in front of him.
6) line of site - the ai will fire at the nearest know enemy threat irrigardless of whether there are fellow units in his way. With a bit of maneuvering, you can get a single ai to take out large numbers of other ai. (This also applies to RTS)
7) blind man''s bluff - the ai will blindly walk into trip mines or other visually identifiable hand place ordinance without though to personal safety.
8) guard it like rum - the ai will willingly walk past explosive devices that are set of by gun fire. These devices are normally barrels or boxes and sometimes set off by the AI''s fire or can be taken out well before the AI get''s near them.

A lot of the above AI tricks can be fixed by adding threat analysis to the AI''s pathfinding routine. The rest can be fixed by either improving the AI''s LOS ability or giving the AI an incling about what a weapon will do when used close to other objects.

HL was over hyped for what you really got in the box. It was a good start at getting everyone else to do a one upmanship on HL. I am happy that it at least did something right.

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There was a hell of a lot more to HL than just AI thank god. All of the creative talent that went into the game was brilliant. The creative element like this in games is the most important!

"So you're the one that designed that game are you?"
*Gulp* "Umm, yeah"


Edited by - Paul Cunningham on October 12, 2000 11:02:39 AM

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