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Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney

Eurogamer hears from famed game designer Warren Spector about the industry, hearing out his stated attempt to "shame" his fellow developers, "specifically John Carmack and Tim Sweeney," into stop designing guns and start designing "non-combat AI," saying: "Can you imagine what games we would have if John Carmack decided he wanted to create a believable character as opposed to a believable gun?" He admits "It doesn't map very well to pushing buttons. It's not what we're doing right now," but goes on to express annoyance that they are not rushing to follow him down this road less travelled:

"I find it annoying where people don't try to solve that problem. But I understand why. It's a very hard problem to solve. One of the reasons I find games like this so appealing as a developer is, at Disney it's hard to make a game like most other companies force you to make. They don't even want you to do a game like that.

"So where I am in my life and my career, I want to explore things like, what does it mean to have a brother? How do you form a family? Disney is a great company to work for if you want to talk about the possibility of redemption, and how important family and friends are to you. Most companies are not interested in that."

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21. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 18:00 Stormsinger
Beamer wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 15:27:
Stormsinger wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 15:20:
Beamer wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 15:00:
Ozmodan wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 14:13:
Fion wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 13:34:
AI will continue to suck if the console remains the dominant platform. With such strict resource management console games require very little of the hardware is every dedicated to AI. Not when console gamers continue to scream for better graphics that these aging consoles are increasingly unable to put out.

If a game company is going to come along and write an amazing AI for their game, it'll be a PC game. Perhaps someone should write an AI API. There are already API's for just about everything else after all.

Good post, what I was going to say.

I think you guys are confusing combat AI and non-combat AI.

Consoles can handle non-combat AI just fine, because it isn't intensive. Virtually everything he's talking about is scripted. Character development? Conversations? You can do that with a Nintendo just fine.
Scripts are NOT AI. Scripts are preplanned responses, nothing more. You can -fake- AI with scripts, but it just ain't the real thing.

Scripting is a form of AI.
And, if you read the article, it's what he's talking about. He mentions conversations and characters. By default you need to script conversations and characters. Yes, you can make it somewhat dynamic, but even then it's based off of a script.

In essence, though, he's talking about making believable people, not enemies that react a certain way.

Again, I wish people would read the article (but even then Blue summed it up adequately) rather than see "AI" and think "oh man, he means making us fight smarter guys!" He doesn't. He means making the NPCs we interact with seem like people or characters rather than tools.
Scripting is AI in the same sense that kids coloring books are art.

It doesn't matter whether you're talking about combat AI or non-combat AI...scripts utterly suck at either, unless your game engine is completely simplistic and does not allow for anything outside of a handful of actions by the players (which is another whole level of suck).

Believable people cannot be done adequately via scripting, since they'll never have any useful/reasonable/believable response to any event that wasn't expected. A real person has a reaction to a murder that happens in front of them...a scripted NPC often does not. A real person has a reaction when someone gets sick in front of them...I've never seen a scripted NPC do so.

You -cannot- plan and script for every possible event...not as long as those scripts are written by humans. But it is quite possible to build general AIs that can adjust their actions to support whatever goals and desires have been defined for the NPC. Oddly, these even work when systems change, or in games where emergent behaviors are possible.
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