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Paladin

Next generation games

60 posts in this topic

That''s my point. I thik that''s the future of Games, better AI. And there''s plenty of room for improvement.

A few years from now we''ll probably be talking about what AI engines are the best and what options you should use for what.

E:cb woof!
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the AI in thief is quite good, but what''s better is the environment...the ultimate game IMHO would be completely (well, near-completely) non-linear with a complex plot and environment, complete with VERY smart (NPCs).

in thief, the guards can see you if you''re not hidden well enough, hear you coming, and chase you. in return, you can hide from them (after outrunning them), block doors with chairs, barrels, and boxes, or pick them off one-by-one with your blackjack. all of these are the result of a good environment (=> engine).

BTW genovov, i''m interested in hearing more about your space sim (?) project; i''m also from Nova Scotia (currently in honours math/cs at Mount A in Sacville, NB).


aaron
-----------------------------
LeChuck! GRRRRRR.
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I had an idea for a multiplayer game. there would be, say, 3 teams, and on each team there could be groups of people working together. One person could fly the helicopter and the other could shoot out of the side with a machine gun. Another person could drive a tank and the other control the turret. there could be communication between individual units, teams, or one of the three groups. the only problem i see with this idea is the usual lag, and fighting over who gets to shoot out of the helicopter.

(each team would have up to, say, 16 tanks/helicopters)
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There is actually already a multiplayer game that lets you do that (3 persons in one tank for example): Infantry.
Try out at
http://www.infantryzone.com/

-Hans
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Halo is another multiplayer coop game that''s incorporating multiperson vehicles. It has jeeps with machine guns, tanks, and helicopters, not to mention you can just run around in first person shooter style, and the transition is nothing more then jumping into a vacant vehicle and taking control of it. It''s a comercial game being developed by Bungie, and it has stunning graphics. It''s taking the multiplayer gaming of Q3 and UT to another level.

That''s the way games progress, in levels. Rarely we see games that take leaps and bounds in terms of innovation. They either take the next logical step, or do a great job of implementing an old idea that goes well beyond peoples expectations.

AI is improving. Half Life and Thief were good examples. The bots in Q3 and UT are good examples of blurring the distinction between players and NPCs, though they still have their flaws. I''d personally like to see a blend of Half Life, Thief, and UT AI in a realistic manner. Think of a futuristic base in which all of the computer controlled people had daily schedules, personal goals, and character traits. Guard shifts are changed in a realistic manner (perhaps providing a weak moment for an invasion strike, or stealthy intrusion) The AI people respond to you in a realistic manner based on your outward appearance and actions. Thump a guard over the head, take his uniform and ID, and go out acting like a guard, and most everyone will ignore you. Try to get into the science lab in that guard uniform, and the scientists will become suspicious, ask to see ID, and notice the ID is not yours, calling out for the other (real) guards. The NPCs should have friends and enemies amoung themselves too. Try passing yourself off as somebody you aren''t with the proper forged documents to that guard that doesn''t personally know the person you are impersonating, and you have a good chance of succeeding, but if that guard personally knows the person you''re trying to pass yourself off as, he''ll know immediately there is foul play at hand.

Basically the areas that AI can really expand on are providing NPCs with real personality and depth of existence, provide them with a memory and reactions or actions based on that memory (One of the problems with UT is that the bots don''t seem to learn from their mistakes. In assualt, you can find bottlenecks to pick off the invaders one by one, and this can go on until the time limit is up without them showing any sign of realizing they''re just walking into a slaughter EVERY time. It''s things like this that truly ruin the immersive feeling.), and cooperation between AI characters that is realistic and believable.
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I like theRaskell''s learning "AI" bots idea. With a certain amount of preknowledge or built in AI, one could turn the bots lose on each other for a number of rounds of a particular map and perhaps come out with a killer bot. But it all depends upon what AI criteria and their weights you choose. Example, health. When the bots health gets below a certain threshold, it should go get the nearest health. Simple? But, the way I play Q3, I''ll go "toe to toe" with someone and take the health hits until I frag ''em even though my health drops real low during the engagement. Threshold be dammed! With real learning AI, the bots choice, if he were me, would be to press the attack or retreat and find health. As his health goes down, the probabilty of him choosing retreat goes up and conversely, as his "victim"''s health decreases, the odds favor attack. How these weights are figured is the secret to AI.

As for my thoughts on next gen games I see a couple of areas that you guys haven''t discussed as much.

a) Physics. This also includes better "hit" zoning on shooters. See Soldier of Fortune Demo for a good attempt that this. (AI kinda sucks in this game thou). I''d also like to see more realism in FPS with respect to health, ammo, etc. i.e. You get tired in real life when you run and jump, therefore, you slow down and eventually you have to rest. Person slows down with too much inventory. Ability to drop and retrieve ammo anywhere. Put that in a game why don''t you?
b) I/O. Input/Output. Don''t we have enough CPU power yet so I can wear a true VR helmet? It''ll be here someday. How about more and better positional input devices. i.e. Tilt or move your head side to side instead of moving a mouse. I don''t know about "OdorRama" as written in previous thread. Smells kinda funny I''d prefer a "force feedback" jump suit or vest. Meaning an outfit that had multiple "miniactivators" so when I''m hit in a FPS, I know where I''m hit and from which direction. Technology for it is almost off-the-self, someone has to think about it and built it. Got any venture capitalists out there wanna invest?
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To add my two cents. I think closer visual reality is gonna be one of the defining features of "next-generation" games. But I think cooperative gameplay, free movement, AI and persistent evolving worlds are where the real advancement will be made. Imagine playing a game where players can link together to form Superstrucures like Voltron, or a space game where your friends can control the turrents or robotic satellites that defnd your ship while you pilot.
Free movement is a little far-fetched, but the idea is that the player is capable of controlling every aspect of the players body movement; essentially allowing the player to make new moves beyond the canned moves that are included in the game. This has been done before, but I never played the game(Die by the Sword). A martial arts game where you build your own techniques (no, not like fightermaker)?

Also, it would be great to see realistic AI in a game. I don''t mean challenging AI. I mean realistic, not necessariy smart. I find it annoying that almost all games operate in extremely impossible to beat mode or incredibly easy to defeat mode. In the future, I believe it will be(mostly) impossible to distinguish NPCs from human players. And Im not sure that the current science is geared toward this goal. I''ve been studying neural networks lately and I think that they ultimately are incapable of modelling human thought, primarily because of the lack of instinctual, and emotional factors in the established models. At any rate, this is an area to improve upon.
I know with UO and games like it out there the idea of a persistent evolving world seems slightly dated, but hear me out. I think the next step is to have the NPCs and the game engine itself create the world by following the storyline, and by reacting to events in the game. Also, the world/game could be built upon and evolve a cultral life of its won if the NPCs assimilated human players'' behavior and speech patterns or even remembered their techniques and strategies, keeping the best of what they learn and discarding the rest.
Isn''t this what we do?
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Ok, I found a game Hans would like. Here''s the link:

http://webpages.mr.net/bobz/ttyquake/

For those of you who don''t feel like following the link, it''s a text mode quake. For those of you who don''t think graphics are important to a game.

E:cb woof!
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What do you think about different types of engines? Who would like to play a game where the characters were cartoon characters? I would, but then again, I''m a cartoon freak.

E:cb woof!
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this is in response to Paladin''s post a few pages back, about hologram monitors and 3D displays..
have you ever read ''Virtual Light'' by William Gibson? glass that tap straight into the brain (somewhere.. i don''t recall how) and override the optic nerve, so what the glasses send is what you''re seeing, and everything you''re seeing.. a very interesting concept, though i''m sure not one Gibson came up with himself (though he is genius.. for neuromancer alone, without which there would be no System Shock.. but i digress)
that''s the only way i can think of to have a real 3D display.. but then, technology never advances in predictable ways, does it? after all, it''s the year 2000 and we''re not driving around in flying cars..
i guess this post is pointless and long, and i apoligize for that.. i need to do something in between classes... and stat is sooo boring..
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