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  • AI -- ideas and comments

    I have a few ideas about what I'd like to see from the AI in Nightblade, and wanted to toss them out here. This is based on information that has been officially released, however I'm making the assumption that there will be bots for all three sides, and that they won't require human players on a team.

    Bots are generally fairly stupid and predictable in first person shooter games. They can be a challenge because their reflexes and aim can be increased to the point where they are almost perfect, and because they often have access to information players do not. Essentially, they cheat -- none of their advantages can be matched by a human. While it can be challenging, it's really not fun because it's unreal and frustrating. Thievery has this problem with the genius AI setting in 1.3 and 1.4.

    What I'd like to see in Nightblade are more realistic AI -- AI that are fun and interesting to play against because they're unpredictable and fallible. Not frustratingly difficult, but still dangerous and useful to their team. I have a few ideas for how to achieve this.

    First, limited and directed senses. Hearing should be relatively short ranged, and it should be adjusted by background noise. If there's a lot of noises, or a loud background noises, AI hearing should be drastically diminished -- it's unreasonable for them to hear well under those circumstances, since humans can't.

    Vision should be quite long ranged, but it should be directed. Bots should only actively see things in a limited cone in front of them, maybe 90 degrees. There should also be a slightly wider cone of peripheral vision, perhaps adjusted based on movement -- they can still see, but it takes more for them to react. A brief flash of an enemy in a window might go unnoticed peripherally, but movement for a second or two would easily attract their attention.

    Second, realistic aim. Give them the same choices humans face. Take a snap shot that's going to be fairly inaccurate, or take a second to line up a shot that's more likely to hit. Accuracy should depend a bit on time spent aiming. And instead of simply adding a randomly angle to their shot for inaccuracy, have them misjudge the variables behind an accurate shot. Have them get the distance to target wrong, the speed or the target wrong -- change the variables that go into calculating a correct shot, and it'll result in more realistic inaccurate shots.

    Third, make them fallible. Insert random errors into their information processing to try to emulate human mistakes, particularly when they need to make rapid responses. For example, sometimes have them respond to friendly noises like teammate's footsteps as an indication of enemy presence. Have them randomly see things that might not be there. Misplace a sound sometimes and turn the wrong direction at first. This is especially important with three teams to prevent humans from using both friendly and enemy bots as player detectors. Mistakes also make them unpredictable.

    Those limitations will make them feel more human, more unpredictable, and more interactive. It'll also make them less powerful, and so there have to be elements to counteract this.

    First, give them full use of the team's inventory. In Thievery, bots are limited to ranged projectiles -- they can't lay traps, use potions, or any of that. Bots should use all the equipment the team has, including passive items like traps, even if they're used simply. They should have a variety of loadouts they can select from based on the map and what they're going to try to accomplish, as well as a random factor. They should also be able to take items from the environment if there are any, although they shouldn't rush them to avoid annoying human players.

    Second, coordination. This is intended as a team game, the bots shouldn't act independently. I'd really like to see them use team chat to report things they see, ask for assistance, and let the team know what they're doing. They should also respond to what other bots are asking for if they can, and to human commands. If humans can talk to each other silently from any distance, bots should have the same capability.

    Lastly, and most difficult, they need to use tactics. My ideas for implementation of this are really beyond the scope of this suggestion, but they should be able to implement simple strategies. Distracting players away from an objective, having multiple players go for an objective at the same time, sacrificing themselves to provide cover for a player that has an important objective, basic tactics that humans use all the time.

    Those would be some cool bots.
    Nearly all men can stand adversity -- if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

  • #2
    I agree completely.
    And to help AI fully utilize their traps maybe the devs can implement a system of special zones for the maps which monitor areas for activity such as AIs being ko'd/killed, or area's that are known to be travelled frequently, and these zones will be linked to spots where the AI can set their traps.
    The level designers would then set up the zones in their maps, and the zone's could have a activity threshold property which when reashes a variable amount of activity tells the AI to set traps in those zones.
    Maybe in the most important zones the AI could set up traps at the beginning of the match, like humans players would do.
    Also it would be wise to have the trap spots correspond to certain type of traps so the AI guards don't set a sentry right in the middle of a door way when instead caltrops would have gone there.


    • #3
      Everything I just wrote got wiped by a power surge so i'll make this a little brief.

      The way I see it, what bill described is the difference between roleplaying AI and human emulating AI. In thievery, the AI guards act like guards, they take on that role. The player in those games could see what the AI are thinking, because they act as a guard from the thief universe should, therefore a player knows what to expect. That's not to say a roleplaying ai should make dumb decisions, but in singleplayer games the ai generally act as they should, which makes them predictable. It adds immersion too. Obviously, humans aren't going to roleplay. In thievery, the human guards don't act like guards, and that gives the unpredictability you normally find online.

      EDIT: that was a mess of a post, but I hope you can decipher what i'm trying to say.
      <-- Resident Nightblade suggestion attorney...


      • #4
        I also agree with everything Bill said. It's a fantastic wishlist, but hey, gotta at least suggest them.

        Another thread on this subject:

        To pull some thoughts from that thread...

        * I would like to see longer-term memory that influences alertness states later (even AI shouting "hey, I remember you!" would be wild)
        * more random path-splitting
        * and even a randomized "personality" which might consist of minor hearing and vision sharpness variations among AI, temperment which might mean the speed at which they switch alertness levels, and bold/cautious settings among different AI. Just minor variations, to keep the human player on his or her toes, because after a while, we start to sense the edges of AI abilities and creep right up to them. Not knowing exactly where those edges are would be good for us.

        On tactics, I mentioned this briefly already. For instance, a fleeing thiefbot might drop a crack arrow behind him in a doorway or chokepoint to shake chasers. It might be somewhat predictable but you can't help say to yourself "damn that bastard for that effective trick" if you are the chaser. To impliment something like this might require map designers to label chokepoints with a flag of some kind, unless a bot's AI could sense changes in corridor width.

        After observing some common tactics performed in Thievery, I'm sure the AI designer could come up with ways to "choreograph" them for the bots in NB.
        "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."


        • #5
          Would be funny if there was a 1:10,000 chance that the bot would simulate going AFK.

          Pee-break guards return!
          "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."


          • #6
            Actually you just gave me an idea that may simulate long term memory and deals with the specials zones I spoke of before. Now what if for example, a guard clears spots a thief or shade inside a zone, and after the guard is done searching and continues his patrol the zone remembers that the guard searched the area before, and so when he returns he may ready his weapon, maybe light a flare, or just run the hell through the area which could simulate fear.
            Not prefect but may make the AI seem more life-like.


            • #7
              lol, its a good idea, but the AI would be to scared to even come back if it were me

              But the of course would be more human XD


              • #8
                *SpamSlayer has entered the game*
                *SpamSlayer has joined the Guards*
                *Thiefbots and Shadebots start freaking out*
                "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."


                • #9
                  Continuation to thread (not to go off topic now..)
                  Thiefbot: g2g, later
                  *ThiefBots1-10 have left the game*
                  Shadebot: oh man, sorry, i gotta go eat dinner
                  *ShadeBots1-10 have left the game*
                  SpamSlayer: uh...aren't u a bot?

                  But really, if it is as good as it sounds, gonna be a great time playing it even in solo XD, music by JesperKyd, those models by oDDity, the new guard models, which reminds me, what happened to that female model? by Nach? ( ) images are missing

                  Will they be replaced by oDDity's models? ( )
                  also looking foward to them new animations ( )
                  oDDity's site/stuff: (incase you wanted to look at more of his work ^_^)

                  An attachment on one of oDDity's posts:

                  Looks we just gotta wait for an update on the avaible gametypes, who knows maybe Onslaught will be one of them

                  edit: comment on ( last post:
                  yeah, the CS bots are great, when they walk around they even shoot at boxes to see what happens, its like they don't know what will happen if they shoot at them, i remember spectating one of them and all the bot did was walk around and look at the dead bodies and shoot at them (this was in Italy..i think..)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by VisPater3x3
                    I agree completely.
                    And to help AI fully utilize their traps maybe the devs can implement a system of special zones for the maps which monitor areas for activity such as AIs being ko'd/killed, or area's that are known to be travelled frequently, and these zones will be linked to spots where the AI can set their traps.
                    I think it would be too hard for the thieves when EVERY guard could place traps in some areas. Imagine a small map where the objective room would be impossibile to enter because of the traps placed by the AI.

                    Imo, there would be too many traps.
                    My suggestion is: Give every Bot one random trap. Otherwise the trap spam would be huge.


                    • #11
                      That's what the trap spots are for. Each zone would be linked up to any number of traps spots designed by the level designer. So if the designer only creates 2 trap spots linked to a zone then the bots can only put down 2 traps. And the bots can't just put down any trap either. If the trap zone is for caltrops then the bots can't put a sentry there.
                      So it's still really all up to the designers to decide what they wan't their bots to do.


                      • #12
                        I think making bots to lay traps would make pain either for ai coder or mapmaker. I think main problem with upcomin nb ai is to make bots less vunerable to stealth play.Bots whic h are cunrently in tut cant fight unseen even their hearing ability is far better than most human players have. So main thing to do is either to teach guardbots to avoid darknes or make them much more carefull in dark like always use torch.


                        • #13
                          Good suggestions Bill!

                          1) Make ai shoot from around corners (like humans do) when the enemy is sniping back.

                          2) Ai to be more careful when fighting thieves in the dark (e.g. throw a few flares on the ground).

                          3) Ai to realise that if caltrops get mossed then the traps are no longer there.

                          4) Ai guards to resupply like human guards with the supply chest.
                          Night of the Werewolves II
                          A Thief's Guide to Thievery for UT (video not complete yet)


                          • #14
                            don't the thievery guards "resupply"?
                            i guess it might'n not be resupplyin, but they can on the the supply chest , maybe AI resupplying was already thought of and worked, only not as well as expected?
                            SSSSSPPPPPAAAAAMMMMM 44444 EEEEEVVVVVEEEEEAAAAA!!!!!


                            • #15
                              Yeah I've seen the ai walk to the chest and open it - having said that the ai have nearly unlimited bolts (I've managed to make them run out) and unlimited flares (to the best of my knowledge). I think it would be better if they had to work the way humans do - the problem with this is the humans coordinating when the ai should be going back to the chest while someone covers their territory.
                              Night of the Werewolves II
                              A Thief's Guide to Thievery for UT (video not complete yet)