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What is considered advanced AI?

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I need some opinions on this one: What do you as a programmer, designer, or gamer consider to be the line between regular AI with not many features to the lets say creme de la creme of AI? I am not a big gamer, but I am very talented with programming. I would like to know what people consider to be advanced and what qualities should be added to AI in NPCs to make games better.

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Advanced AI definitely needs to learn from its mistakes and be able to play at least nearly as well as a human.

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Definately needed, and a very thoughtful puzzle to program. Do you think that there is anything else that completely gives a difference from the basic AI to advanced like certain qualities that the NPCs have like talking to one another or investigating a thrown rock. Anything along those lines?

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Original post by M-Works
What do you as a programmer, designer, or gamer consider to be the line between regular AI with not many features to the lets say creme de la creme of AI?

The definition of artificial intellegence has been changing since it was first coined, and will continue to evolve to mean "better than we expect today."

The "creme de la creme" AI right now is what will be called "regular" a year from now. Todays "regular" was the "creme de la creme" of the year before.

The ideal best AI for an NPC really depends on your game.

Example case: Star Fox and Star Fox 64. When released they were both called revolutionary, in terms of gameplay and AI of the wingmen. Today they both seem very formulaic.

In an RPG, the perfect NPC AI would give every NPC lives of their own. Each one would be able to hold interesting conversations. Different villages would have different clothing styles, different group mentalities, different sayings, interactions among themselves, NPCs could move from place to place and interact with everybody there; basically complete autonomus individual identities for everybody, not just the major characters.

For a shoot'em game, the ideal AI is much different than a perfect AI. Players use perfect AIs (cheat bots) for never missing, standing on an errant polygon, or for miraculusly dodging an attack. A perfect computer AI would do all of that and more, destroying the fun of the game. An ideal AI would probably be just as good as the humans it is playing against, using a wide range of strategies, and not falling for the same trick over, and over, and over again.

But this is real life.

Script all the AI that seems appropriate, hope you get some emergent behaviors, and spend your time focusing on the release date.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
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Original post by frob
Players use perfect AIs (cheat bots) for never missing, standing on an errant polygon, or for miraculusly dodging an attack. A perfect computer AI would do all of that and more, destroying the fun of the game.

i disagree with you on that point, as you said that isn't an AI as it has no intelligence at all, it just shoots at the coordinates of the head of the enemy. an perfect AI would be the one you said to be "ideal".

btw my first post :D

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
i disagree with you on that point, as you said that isn't an AI as it has no intelligence at all, it just shoots at the coordinates of the head of the enemy. an perfect AI would be the one you said to be "ideal".

btw my first post :D


And I have to disagree with you as well.

Game AI has nothing to do with "intelligence".

Game AI is all about APPEARING intelligent.

A bot that moves in a level and fires at you, LOOKS intelligent, therefore can be considered, in my book, game AI.

The line is thin between what is considered AI and "calculations". Think about pathfinding... its nothing but a simple graph search... but still, that's something I consider as an important part of game AI.

As frob said, AI used in games and "perfect" AI are two different things. You want your game to be fun, not unbeatable.

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Original post by xEricxGame AI is all about APPEARING intelligent.


That's one of the big things I'm getting from the books I've been reading.

For example, you have the AI give an annoyed gesture when it's not sure what to do, so when it does something bad "it's because it was angry and in a rage". Or, if you only let a few enemies fire on the player at any given time, have one yell "Cover me" when it runs out of ammo, so it looks like the one that starts shooting next was actually coordinated.

Never mind the fact it isn't actually intelligent, mad, or coordinated: all you have to do is fake it.

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one thing only

Advanced AI is producing useful but Unexpected responses.

i.e. it doesn't EXPLICITLY code for this but it does it and it's good.

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Original post by ROBERTREAD1
Advanced AI is producing useful but Unexpected responses.

'Unexpected' doesn't require intelligence... heck, a random action generator would produce unexpected results.

I would say that 'advanced Game AI' merely has to produce meaningful behaviour given any context in which it finds itself. Of course, the "meaning" doesn't have to be that of the player, but rather meaningful in terms of the game world and the story.

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Original post by ROBERTREAD1
I wouldn't say meaningful, as it implies understanding.

Not at all... the only understanding has to reside in the observer. This is why Game AI is different to regular AI... it only has to pass the 'illusion' test.

Timkin

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Game AI usually involves Agent-based AI, if you can call it that. And the definition of an intelligent agent is one that responds the best way it can to the input it is given, or the situation its in. So, classic example, we can't say an agent is dumb for walking on the side walk if it just so happen to be hit from debris falling from 30,000 feet up from some airplane passing by. Of course, if it had knowledge of this event and didn't react to it, then it wouldn't be intelligent.

As for what is Advanced AI? Well, I don't think we even agree on what "regular" AI is. Yes, everyone says "well, to define AI, we must first agree on a definition of 'intelligence.'" However, Knuth once posed the question of what is "artificial?" But that's a totally different conversation.

Personally, I don't feel there's an actual discrepency between "advanced" AI and "regular" AI. The big difference is in how you use AI. You can take the best learning strategy in the world and implement it in a poor way and work on a problem it wasn't designed to solve and it would give you crappy results. On the other hand, a well implemented basic method can give you great results when used properly. AI is just another tool. Sort of like everyone has like a zillion tools in the tool shed. Every tool has its use and the same goes to "techniques" in AI. If you really wanted to classify them that badly, I'd personally say "advanced" AI is like your power tools while "regular" AI is like your handy screwdriver.

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Original post by Timkin
[...]Not at all... the only understanding has to reside in the observer. This is why Game AI is different to regular AI... it only has to pass the 'illusion' test.

Timkin
I like chess AI systems far better than typical game AI systems, because they can (to an extent) 'explain' their actions. 'X would be a good move because it secures square Y, protects pieces Z, A, and B that would otherwise be threatened, and any other move leaves option Q R S open for the opponent'
In games where the AI acts as a player (for example, RTS games where the AI follows the rules, or deathmatch fps games like quake3 and unreal 2004) and not simply an opponent (FPS games like halo where the player and opponents are not on equal footing because the player is severely outnumbered), I would love a similar kind of display that made sense to me.

It could also make bot vs bot battles an interesting thing to watch. I can just imagine having a game like The Opera generating action movies (minus the unneeded parts like dialog =-) in realtime, with subtitles or overlays showing the tactics of each side with enough detail to induce the 'Wow! What an awesome idea!' kind of feeling that chess players can get from seeing a very well-thought out plan go into action and then again when it finally comes to fruition.

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I think that, to get a "crown of AI" award next year, you'll probably need something like a multi-level planning system (i e, I want goal X, how do I get there?), an adaptive (Bayesian?) desires system, and a fair bit of good-old game-specific knowledge coded in (typically as primitives and weightings for the more general algorithms). Making this all run in real time on both console CPUs (CPUs the level of a Pentium with overclocking) and modern desktop CPUs (multi-core, out-of-order, cache-dependent) would be an interesting challenge.

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Original post by Extrarius
'Wow! What an awesome idea!'


So are you suggesting that you'd consider an AI to be advanced if it could not only find the easily computable solutions to problems, but also the ones that aren't necessarily obvious to you?

Most AI techniques could be implemented to include an explanation phase. Indeed, this is often something you want during development (particularly for adaptive agents) so that designers can work out what the AI was thinking when it made a decision.

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Original post by hplus0603
I think that, to get a "crown of AI" award next year, you'll probably need something like a multi-level planning system (i e, I want goal X, how do I get there?), an adaptive (Bayesian?) desires system, and a fair bit of good-old game-specific knowledge coded in (typically as primitives and weightings for the more general algorithms). Making this all run in real time on both console CPUs (CPUs the level of a Pentium with overclocking) and modern desktop CPUs (multi-core, out-of-order, cache-dependent) would be an interesting challenge.


That's probably doable. I'd say that within 5 years, we'd be wanting to see this sort of thing for multiple significant characters within a story, all acting to create a dynamic storyline while working toward designer-specified story goals.

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Original post by Timkin
[...]So are you suggesting that you'd consider an AI to be advanced if it could not only find the easily computable solutions to problems, but also the ones that aren't necessarily obvious to you?

Most AI techniques could be implemented to include an explanation phase. Indeed, this is often something you want during development (particularly for adaptive agents) so that designers can work out what the AI was thinking when it made a decision.[...]
Not just nonobvious, but also indirect and somewhat complicated. Combining these three attributes means a plan will be 'difficult' to bring to fruition because many things could go wrong (which should result in a different plan that is less interesting but still strong), but when it does work it would be very fun and potentially surprising.

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The best AI is the AI that does what is is ment to do without flaw; meaning basicly, if you want a (in real life) robot that cleans the house, if can clean the house perfectly then it is perfect. However, what frob said is the most on the money:

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Origanal post by frob:
The "creme de la creme" AI right now is what will be called "regular" a year from now. Todays "regular" was the "creme de la creme" of the year before.



When testing AI in real life, there are three major checkpoints (for the current decade): 1) Self awareness; 2) must be able to talk to other people and not be recongized as a psuedo-human; 3) must be able to problem solve as well as a average human or better.

This is just in reallife though; for games it depends on the type of game and how difficult it is meant to be. Just because an AI is weak dosn't mean it is poorly built, it could be ment to as a easy enemy. As I begun with: The best AI is the AI that does what it was meant to do. I am kinda going in circles I guess.

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As other people say, a good game AI to me would be one that can play an learn to play better using exactly the same information the human player is given.

In the case of FPS shooting, the AI should have to do pattern recognition to target the enemies, at least.

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Original post by Servant of the Lord
When testing AI in real life, there are three major checkpoints (for the current decade): 1) Self awareness; 2) must be able to talk to other people and not be recongized as a psuedo-human; 3) must be able to problem solve as well as a average human or better.


...only if you're talking strong AI...

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Perhaps you would be interested in embodied animats, where embodiment referes to the seperation of the brain and the body. The basic idea behind this approach is that an animat is more reactive to the environment it is put in because it uses sensory. I picked this information up from a book written by a gentleman named Alex Champandard (I hope I spelled that name correctly) He has designed a little system that works from the quake 2 engine called fear, I belive fear is on source forge but don't quote me on that... The name of the book is AI Game Development, and it discusses animats with the use of Neural networks, decision trees, genetic classifiers and much more...heh, not trying to advertise a book or anything, but if you are interested in some new approaches, this is a good thing to look into. Just my 2 cents

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Original post by Nox587
I picked this information up from a book written by a gentleman named Alex Champandard


Hehe.. Alex has been a long time member of GameDev... although I haven't seen him around for a while. Having been a reviewer for this book in its production, I can certainly recommend it as good reading! ;)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
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Original post by owl
As other people say, a good game AI to me would be one that can play an learn to play better using exactly the same information the human player is given.

In the case of FPS shooting, the AI should have to do pattern recognition to target the enemies, at least.


First, Yay gamedev staff for fixing the servers. I can (finally) add my two cents.


That type of AI that continues to learn and do better is wonderful at an AI convention as a polite conference goer. ... But I feel they have no part in a game.


A quickie slash-and-burn player will face an easy AI at the end, since the AI won't have had time to train and improve.

A casual player will face a difficult AI at the end, since they tend to spend more average time playing yet don't spend time improving their own twitch-respose to the game.

A player who goes through from beginning to just before the end, then backtracks to the beginning, then goes looking for every concievable back door and flaw, is going to face an AI that is impossible to beat.

That's why I drew the distinction I said before... The ideal AI to have in a competative game is certainly not the ever-improving, self-training, and eventually perfecting style of AI.

The ideal AI in a game is one that provides a realistic, game-appropriate challenge. Whatever that is.

frob.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
The ideal AI in a game is one that provides a realistic, game-appropriate challenge. Whatever that is.


Well, that's what I was talking about. :) Realistic in the sense of playing against someone/something that is able to give fight without cheating. That's game-appropiate challenge to me :)

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Quote:
Original post by owl
As other people say, a good game AI to me would be one that can play an learn to play better using exactly the same information the human player is given.

In the case of FPS shooting, the AI should have to do pattern recognition to target the enemies, at least.


First, Yay gamedev staff for fixing the servers. I can (finally) add my two cents.


That type of AI that continues to learn and do better is wonderful at an AI convention as a polite conference goer. ... But I feel they have no part in a game.


A quickie slash-and-burn player will face an easy AI at the end, since the AI won't have had time to train and improve.

A casual player will face a difficult AI at the end, since they tend to spend more average time playing yet don't spend time improving their own twitch-respose to the game.

A player who goes through from beginning to just before the end, then backtracks to the beginning, then goes looking for every concievable back door and flaw, is going to face an AI that is impossible to beat.

That's why I drew the distinction I said before... The ideal AI to have in a competative game is certainly not the ever-improving, self-training, and eventually perfecting style of AI.

The ideal AI in a game is one that provides a realistic, game-appropriate challenge. Whatever that is.

frob.

Interesting, I remember in the game Test Drive 4 the AI controlled cars would get faster if the player got faster, even when you chose a car that should be way out of their league and cut your lap times in half. That thing was crazy, it had to be cheating.

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