Videogame AI Research

So mentioned this before on the feed and got an excellent response from Vodsel!

I’m writing a feature on AI and animal intelligence (I have to use that Medical Neuroscience degree for something!) and was curious as to whether anyone has any striking or unusual examples of gaming AI?

Additionally, if there’s any particularly great resources on gaming AI out there that anyone happens to know of, that would be amazing!!!

Many thanks, you Grouvee people.

Earthbound is fascinating from a programming perspective in general. The scripting language of the game is still not full understood. A Look at the MOTHER 2 Side « EarthBound Central

But the AI portion that stands out to me is that the game has complex path finding for the pizza delivery guy. He doesn’t just teleport, he actually finds a path to the character. Not that crazy now, but impressive for the time and Iwata mentioned it being quite a challenge. Might be as an early talking point to show how far AI in games has come. EarthBound Delivery System « EarthBound Central

Unrelated, this is another game that might not have existed without the help of Iwata. He stepped in and saved the game from being stuck in development. Truly a legend. How Satoru Iwata Saved Earthbound from Development Hell - IGN

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Oh! One of my favorites is how Alien Colonial Marine’s AI was destroyed by a single typo.

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Incredibly useful! Thank you!

The pathfinding (I suppose that applies to the aliens too!) is a very interesting example because those computations in small-brained animals need to employ various cheats to work that are probably quite comparable!

I remember watching a Dead Space dev video on how they had difficulties programming this tentacle to be able to spatially find you as you enter a room. I realised they were fundamentally talking about the issue of inverse kinematics in motor systems! How do you move an arm to xyz coordinates and an orientation given the infinite number of paths, velocities and solutions? It’s interesting how games essentially have to solve some biological problems from a bottom-up perspective!

I’ll be very interested to see if there are some parallels in pathfinding computation solutions as far back as Earthbound!!!

Pathfinding goes all they way back to some of the earliest days of video gaming too. Each ghost in Pac-Man has different movement patterns. One chases directly, one attempts to go where Pac-Man will be, one is based off another ghost’s location and Pac-Man’s facing direction, and one chases when far away but moves randomly when close. Then they have a scatter mode while vulnerable. It’s how the ghosts so effectively manage to “trap” Pac-Man and how expert players who have the behavior memorized are able to so effectively dodge them.

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Mmm! Another amazing example! It’s very interesting that we can call pathfinding idiosyncrasies ‘personality.’ All very simple behavioural rules, but it generates the illusion of a thinking adversary!

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I’m not sure if this counts, but F.E.A.R uses a pretty remarkable AI for enemy soldiers. RPS did a great showcase article on it (complete with GIFs): Why F.E.A.R.’s AI is still the best in first-person shooters | Rock Paper Shotgun

The AI was implemented by Jeff Orkin, whose website can be found here: Jeff Orkin . The website has a number of AI-related resources, including a list of recommended books.


Amazing! Thank you! I was always going to mention FEAR, but somehow missed his website!

The red devil from Super Ghouls and Ghosts comes to mind.

Probably not mind blowing on a pure AI level. But when you try to hit them with any weapon, they feel like they were definitely given “special treatment” in their coding.

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