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jdturner11

Can AI Rival Online Players?

15 posts in this topic

This is a common thought of mine.

 

 I play a game every so often called Mount&Blade:Warband. There is a mod called "Persistent World" in which you are thrown into an MMO sandbox-type world and you're essentially left with the standard fare choices to make. You can collect, craft, be a doctor, knight, whatever. Upon death you lose everything (though you do respawn) and are asked to roleplay being a new character. While I am not a fan of roleplaying, I agree to keep up the atmosphere.

 

 The mod is fun, you have bandits, ransoms, duels, wars - it's all very "Persistent". But it had me thinking. This game would be reasonably more fun with absolutely no latency and a more surefire way to ensure that all players keep to some basic rules. At this point I was back to thinking about AI again, if it could match what an online player contributes and still has the same unpredictability.

 

 

 What games have excellent AI? Do you think singleplayer can give the same multiplayer experience? If anyone plays the popular competitive multiplayer games (TF2, Halo, etc..) I'd love to hear your thoughts also.

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AI as an opponent or team member is very widely used. It can play equally well or even overpower human players. But there's a reason why it's more fun to play with human players than with AI (even if AI is very good).

 

What task are you going to give AI?

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AI as an opponent or team member is very widely used. It can play equally well or even overpower human players. But there's a reason why it's more fun to play with human players than with AI (even if AI is very good).

 

What task are you going to give AI?


 Oh this isn't for a game I planned, just theoretical stuff.


 What's the reason for online play being better?

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What's the reason for online play being better?
Because people are people, and do crazy or unpredictable things. The AI will just play the game to the book, and usually as efficiently as possible. The AI also doesn't laugh/talk/enjoy the experience with you over their non-existent headsets.
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Sometimes AI is laughably bad. Sometimes (as in the original Resistance for PS3) AI is so strong as to be oppressive. I've seen many games where they have crackshot accuracy. There are some games, like Black Ops, where you can play against AI and the have to outnumber the player in high amounts to be challenging.

AI also don't adapt tactics, don't pick up on dead giveaways to certain things that players pick up on, etc. They can't effectively be told to do many things a human player can do and it's hard for them to work with a contingency plan if something goes wrong.

I guess what I'm saying is it really depends on the game.
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I think that its possible to make an AI to pass the Turing test even, if you have powerful computers. But that's not a large market for commercial games.

 

That said you can definitely make a game where the AI can play the game in multiple ways, react to opponents unit choices and so forth. Not anything that can fairly compete against competitive players though. For RTS games you would still need a recent computer model something put out this year maybe, but an FPS might be viable on normal computers.

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First you should define what it does mean to have a "good" AI.

 

For example, in FPS, making an impossible to beat AI is very simple. Just make a bot with 100% accuracy and instantaneous detection of enemy characters.  You could probably set it to run in circles and it will still defeat the player, without any fancy behavior.

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100% accuracy and instant detection sounds like the AI is cheating, as players often get some drifting and randomness imposed upon them and have to look behind themselves to see someone there.

I think a good AI would have to challenging even when playing by the same rules as the player. If it needs to cheat its just a cheap bandaid to make it appear better to new players and will annoy players who will find out by it showing seemingly impossible knowledge or behaviour when being watched over a bit of time. And feeling cheated is 10 times worse than not feeling challenged.

The problem then is making a good AI, but that is much easier said than done and will probably never be as good as a human knowing the game.

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Personally i wouldnt like it as much as if it had real players rather tgan realistic ai. If its ai i feel not connected to the world and feel like im throwing instructions at a box and it affecta or contributes to nothing.

However, this can be fixed by adding a community like forums where most players will go and add their stuff to show to others.
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100% accuracy and instant detection sounds like the AI is cheating....

 

I've got some random thoughts to share; hopefully there's some value in here for you. :)

 

Something to keep in mind here is that, in games that are sufficiently complex, an AI may need to cheat in order to effectively compete with a human opponent. Consider how many games you've played over the years where you've been able to outsmart an AI-controlled opponent and how you were able to do that. If, for instance, you manage to bait a player through a door into a frag mine, that player will learn very quickly to be cautious of following you around doors. If you figure out how to bait an AI-controlled adversary through a door, in many cases that tactic will work all the time...or never work. (An AI that "learns" is more difficult than it sounds; though you could reasonably make an AI that appears to learn. Another topic, perhaps.)

 

There's a reason that difficult mode settings do not simply ramp up how "smart" an AI controlled opponent is. Very often they boost the opponent's resource availability, strengths, durability, etc. Starcraft (the first one) in Insane AI mode gave the computer infinite resources (really, everytime it hit 0 vespene or minerals, it gave itself 2000 of each). In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the aliens each have more HP and better accuracy, in addition to better tactics, as you ramp the difficulty up.

 

AI in games is not a trivial thing; it's a very difficult problem. Making an AI super effective at winning doesn't intrinsically make it a good AI for your game; that's fine for chess, but for other games it can be fun for an opponent to panic and act irrationally (this happens in the recent Batman games, for instance) and that becomes a fun element of game play.

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I think the key to making interesting AI is to make the variables that drive the AI like accuracy randomly fall within a "playable" range. So if play tests show accuracy between 30-50 is "playable" then create a script that randomly sets accuracy for each encounter (maybe even target specific range based on the players ladder rank) For example the AI sites an enemy and before it fires its weapon the AI is reset randomly choosing the levels of the variables that drive the difficulty of the AI character. To make this matter, animation needs to depict the changes as a "reaction" to this change. Even something subtle like changing the idle silhouette enough to make it clear the AI has been affected by the situation, just like players. This is using the same system that dice rolling RPGs use and it adds a fair amount of luck to the gameplay.

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Also, if you're a fan of racing games, their AI seems to be on the same level as human players, and often times they even beat them. At least, games like Midnight Club or Need for Speed.
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After playing for more time player come to know about AI logic. So it's more fun to play with humans than AI.

Any one can experience this while playing Counter strike and can easily find the difference by playing game like Virtual Cop.

When multiplayer games were not there at that time playing Virtual cop was fun, but after playing multiplayer games I prefer them only. 

There is no repetitive action or the same logic. Its fun to play.

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Something I often find fun about playing against humans vs. AI is unspoken diplomacy, personal emotional plight and the big picture. When one player is doing well often the underdogs will turn their cross-hair from a weaker enemy to the stronger one even when they have a clean shot on a weak target. This moment of hesitation to possibly lose the match though fight for the greater good could be a fine addition to the AI world.

 

Seeing AI think about the fight is important in my opinion. Because everything everyone does in most games is pretty repetitive when it works. But if an AI character clearly changes its mind (even at its own peril) because of the bigger picture or because of a clearly "personal" situation it feels more like your playing with something that isn't just a part of the game, it feels like its something your playing the game with.

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Something I often find fun about playing against humans vs. AI is unspoken diplomacy, personal emotional plight and the big picture. When one player is doing well often the underdogs will turn their cross-hair from a weaker enemy to the stronger one even when they have a clean shot on a weak target. This moment of hesitation to possibly lose the match though fight for the greater good could be a fine addition to the AI world.

 

Perfect Dark did some simple but interesting things with AI opponents.

They had: JudgeSims, VengeSims, KazeSims, PreySims, CowardSims, FuedSims, PeaceSims, and one or two less-behaviorally interesting sim types, aside from difficulty levels.

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Skill wise, I believe so. As for an actual experience no AI is just bent on killing you while players can just be different. My experience is based off CS and CoD BO.
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