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AI Bots- Why are they hardly used anymore?

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I'm just wondering, does anyone know why AI bots for multiplayer modes are hardly used these days? I remember during the Past generations, games like Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars Jedi Outcast, and Unreal Tournament have AI bots. These days, the only games I could think of is Gears of War and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

To me, It seems like a no brainer to make AI bots an industry standard due to the benefits. People can play offline if their internet is bad or just to practice. I cannot think of any reason to not put them in a game. Does anyone know why?
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That's a good point, I don't often play multiplayer shooters, but it does seem strange that not every multiplayer shooter has them.

Especially since you largely need to program them anyway for your singleplayer campaign.

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I think it's the explosion of Multiplayer online gaming.  With Game consoles having networks that "find the game for you", no one wants to play against scripted AI computers.  Games that have an MMO element certinaly is not going to have bots (though I understand your comment about training).  I think before when LAN games were popular along with Internet gaming, you found more bots because friends wanted to team up and maybe you didn't have enough players to make a 12 player match.

 

That said, At my work, we still use bots for simulations and testing (but the entire match is BOTS, no Humans are playing).

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One of the selling points for Black Ops 2 with my group of friends was that it supports AI in local multiplayer. We'll gang up on the bots or use them to fill out our teams, which makes it far more enjoyable than yet another session of 2v2 against each other. The lack of split screen and local AI support is one of the biggest reasons I've lost interest in many mainstream titles. I do happen to enjoy spending time with my friends, which seems to be a foreign concept to most games. Short of each of us bringing a console and TV with us, of course.

 

Thus one of the driving interests in game development for me. I don't know of any other way to solve it.

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The fps project blackout has a bot mode, as well as combat arms and I think crossfire has a mode. But its co-op only- you can't team up with the bots. However I agree i do find it annoying to not have bots to train on so you can get used to the rotation speed in the game and such. I would imagine part of the split screen disapearing is because game makers wanted to make games look stunning, and thus didn't make it so it could render with 4 cameras,
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It's because "everone" has a decent internet connection now. Bots are not really needed anymore (sure there are exceptions, but these are, well, "exceptions" :D).

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From your title you make it sound like the whole industry is abandoning AI in games.

I just want to point out a few major games that use somewhat advanced AI for enemies:

Mass Effect series

The Elder Scrolls (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim)

Borderlands + Borderlands 2

Path of Exile (mmo-ish)

Defiance

 

There's even a mmo (or coop rpg depending on how you want to argue it) - Guild Wars 1 - that had full bots for combat (npcs you could take with you in lieu of real players)

Most other MMOs also have, if mostly simple, AIs for the enemy mobs - the AI for boss enemies is usually more complex)

 

If we're talking strictly the modern day shooters of the Battlefield, CoD, etc, then you may have a point - but I think that's a minor part of the entire gaming industry. I see those games these days as a Counter-Strike type games of quick player v player matches.

I think it's far from the truth to say that bots in general aren't used anymore.

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Team Fortress 2 has bots, actually they added bots years after the game initially came out. It's primarily for "offline training" but you can set up a live server that has bots on either team with the players. Also in the last year there has been added a game mode where its players vs bots (literally, robots..giant...freaking robots with lasers).

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I may be crazy to think this, but why isn't there an AI sort of toolkit that can used for a variety of games. Something that can start as very basic but be expanded on based on whatever unique gameplay elements the game has. It would be like the speedtree of AI.
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From your title you make it sound like the whole industry is abandoning AI in games.
I just want to point out a few major games that use somewhat advanced AI for enemies:
Mass Effect series
The Elder Scrolls (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim)
Borderlands + Borderlands 2
Path of Exile (mmo-ish)
Defiance
 
There's even a mmo (or coop rpg depending on how you want to argue it) - Guild Wars 1 - that had full bots for combat (npcs you could take with you in lieu of real players)
Most other MMOs also have, if mostly simple, AIs for the enemy mobs - the AI for boss enemies is usually more complex)
 
If we're talking strictly the modern day shooters of the Battlefield, CoD, etc, then you may have a point - but I think that's a minor part of the entire gaming industry. I see those games these days as a Counter-Strike type games of quick player v player matches.
I think it's far from the truth to say that bots in general aren't used anymore.


Sorry I wasn't being clear, yes I am talking about Modern Day shooters in traditional multiplayer modes like team deathmatch, CTF, capturing control points, stuff like that.
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I'm surprised nobody said that one reason why major FPS games don't include AI bots anymore could be to encourage people to get on-line (and since these days everything goes through their servers for the purpose of matchmaking, it can double as some sort of DRM).
 
Also probably because making a good AI bot takes effort and there aren't enough resources within the budgets to allow it (they'd rather push more budget on real multiplayer than on AI bots).


Hmm, good point, Guess importing the AI from single player campaigns to multiplayer bots isn't good enough...
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Yeah, I doubt the AI would transplant even remotely well. The gameplay is different, and while the core AI functionality like pathfinding and such can stay, the actual decision choosing needs to be redone from scratch, just because the goals are completely different. There's also the fact that one expects the AI in multiplayer to behave smarter than the enemies in a single player campaign.

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It's because "everone" has a decent internet connection now. Bots are not really needed anymore (sure there are exceptions, but these are, well, "exceptions" biggrin.png).

 

I don't know about that. There seems to be conflicting articles about people having internet.

 

Here is an article that supports you claim:

http://gigaom.com/2012/09/04/90-of-us-households-with-computers-have-broadband/

 

And here is an article that says otherwise:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/04/24/study-us-internet-speeds-still-rank-low-on-global-scale

 

Plus, you here people complaining about the rumored always online DMR on the next Xbox console, which suggests that people still don't have the internet capabilities of say.. South Korea. It's pretty ironic though, with multiplayer and social media being very popular these days, you think people would not have a problem with an always online function.

 

Disclaimer: I am one of those people who do not have high speed internet on 24/7 but do my online stuff on wi-fi hotspots. Due to these two conflicting reports, I cannot tell if I am in the minority or not.

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It's because "everone" has a decent internet connection now. Bots are not really needed anymore (sure there are exceptions, but these are, well, "exceptions" biggrin.png).

 

I don't know about that. There seems to be conflicting articles about people having internet.

Specifically in my case, I have a 1mbit connection (around 100KB/s download, 20KB/s upload). I checked my ping with Planetside 2 servers and its between 230-300 ms. Which many would consider unplayable :P I can only play if absolutely no one is doing stuff in internet besides me. If someone checks Facebook or god forbid, tries to watch a YouTube video, then I'm screwed :D

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If your internet isn't very good now a days odds are your not buying games either, or paying for memberships. So there isn't a point to catering to them because they don't have as much spare money to spend on video games.
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If your internet isn't very good now a days odds are your not buying games either, or paying for memberships. So there isn't a point to catering to them because they don't have as much spare money to spend on video games.

I see what you are saying but Its not always that case for the general population. While we do have internet access, it goes on and off just like that. It happens sometimes in wi fi hotspots as well. We do have enough money to buy games and pay for internet but technology itself is imperfect (ie: Simcity's and Diablo 3's Launch as well as internet going on and off in general). Sadly, the U.S dosen't have the best infanstructure in the world; rural areas may not have the best internet infanstructure.

Besides, you will never know if a hurricane or a tornado destroys your internet acess. I remember while I was vacationing in long island, a storm hit the area and disrupted the internet. Random stuff happens you know and we deal with it.

Despite the tech issues, I did find a way aound it. I recieved a ipad as a surprise gift and it can play multiplayer games. I take it with me to college campus and use the Internet there to play multiplayer. I am paying for it's internet via my tuition so it makes more sense for me to play multiplayer over there than at home. There internet connection is way better than ours
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The fps project blackout has a bot mode, as well as combat arms and I think crossfire has a mode. But its co-op only- you can't team up with the bots. However I agree i do find it annoying to not have bots to train on so you can get used to the rotation speed in the game and such. I would imagine part of the split screen disapearing is because game makers wanted to make games look stunning, and thus didn't make it so it could render with 4 cameras,


Yeah same thing with Mass effect 3's multiplayer. But I actually like Co-op play, especially couch co-op. good times on Halo 1 you know.
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If your internet isn't very good now a days odds are your not buying games either, or paying for memberships. So there isn't a point to catering to them because they don't have as much spare money to spend on video games.

From what I've seen the quality of internet connections depends completely on where you live, not how much disposable income you have. Especially true in areas where there's only one ISP available (way more common than it should in the US from what I've heard), those tend to have it the worst since there isn't any competition so the ISP can get away with pretty much anything.

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Its isn't a solid fact I will admit, however even if there is only one isp (like around here) they have different plans you can buy. More money = faster internet. And yes I will agree that other things like having to share your internet with family will slow it down, and yeah youtube for sure because it works like a torrent program and attempts to give you the highest quality video your internet can handle unless you tell it not to. But no matter how many odd flaws you find in my statement, in a world ruled by money and the bottom line (like earth) large game makers devote their resources to the things they feel will appeal most to the people who pay for the game.
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Its isn't a solid fact I will admit, however even if there is only one isp (like around here) they have different plans you can buy. More money = faster internet. And yes I will agree that other things like having to share your internet with family will slow it down, and yeah youtube for sure because it works like a torrent program and attempts to give you the highest quality video your internet can handle unless you tell it not to. But no matter how many odd flaws you find in my statement, in a world ruled by money and the bottom line (like earth) large game makers devote their resources to the things they feel will appeal most to the people who pay for the game.


Its a sad but true reality, but I think as long as these technical and economic barriers exist, there will always be room for playing solo (Bioshock Infinite) or online (Battlefield 3 and 4).

Still, AI bots would be very cool to have in our multiplayer games.
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I loved battlefront 1&2 even though it had stupid AI bots.   Killing them in multi-player was part of the fun in that game.     The more stuff to blowup and destroy the better. 

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I think it is a matter of priorities. Making an interesting AI is hard and hard things costs money. That money is usually better spent on multiplayer. The only game where I have AI experience is StarCraft II, where Blizzard invested in improving the AI experience for Heart of the Swarm to help beginners transfer to the ladder in a nicer manner.

 

Personally I think it would be cool if AI scripting could be automated somehow, like some neural network AI playing against humans and then automatically translating its discoveries to some decision tree that could be played locally. Programming those decision trees manually is.... hard...

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