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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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29. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 18, 2012, 08:06 Fantaz
 
Looks like he's not interested in ever getting the rights back to make System Shock 3, ever... Go ahead and make Mickey games, but don't go expecting that Carmack & Sweeney will join you.  
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28. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 17, 2012, 16:10 Zoom
 
Mr Spector, you did 3 games that are on top of the best games of all times, granted. But it was long ago. And since then, what did YOU do mr Spector ? At least Carmack was productive for the gaming industry, doing new rendering engines. I always thought that ID games were just quickly thrown-together demos for their engine ?
Anyway, I can see the point that Warren Spector tries to make but really, what with the non-related Disney praise.. He's a dinosaur now, and his ego has made him become irrelevant.
 
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27. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 17, 2012, 10:45 sauron
 
Prez wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 11:29:
I actually agree with Spector's main point (though it appears he doesn't quite understand what John Carmack's job has actually been all this time)...

I do as well, and from other posts in this thread it seems I'm not the only one. The best games I've played have been ones with a deep story and believable characters and NPCs. I think a lot of people also feel that way.

The problem with id software is that they have an ace programmer who designs engines, but then they use the new toy to make the same game they made 5 years previously, only shinier. That's why RAGE sucked.

If someone were to take Carmack's work and uses it to add polish to a game with a deep story and excellent AI, it would sell bucketloads. But id never do that - they don't have anyone as talented with game design as Carmack is with engine design.

Bethesda is probably the only mainstream game design outfit I've seen that talk about AI and seem to make a real effort with it. No accident their games sell so many copies. People love the immersion in their designs, and interesting and believable characters are a big part of that.

This comment was edited on Aug 17, 2012, 10:52.
 
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26. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 17, 2012, 09:19 wtf_man
 
wtf_man wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 10:42:
Creston wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 10:36:
Yeah, Carmack and Sweeney. How DARE you make guns that don't have universal ammo?!

Warren, just shut the fuck up, please. It's great that you're happy at Disney making Mickey Mouse games. Somehow I doubt that Carmack and Sweeney are treated poorly at id and Epic.

Creston

Yeah, if he made a GOOD spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld, System Shock, or Deus Ex... I could agree with his criticisms. But making Mickey Mouse games... uh no.

Just to clarify... I meant agreeing in general... not specifically regarding Carmack and Sweeney.
It would be great if NPC AI interacted / reacted dynamically instead of scripted, especially in RPGs... but I was saying Warren hasn't much room to talk.
 
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25. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 20:12 Overon
 
I say that there is more emphasis on making characters look real because it's easier than make them act real which is a lot harder.  
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24. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 19:14 jdreyer
 
Poorly worded by Spector, but I agree with the general premise. These days I'm more interested in games that have a premise other than "Go here, shoot/stab that." But he shouldn't be calling these guys out in public.

But yeah, I'm getting tired of derivative games and violent games. It would be cool to play games without that kind of mechanic (There are some, I know, and I own a lot of them), even if I do still like to shoot/blow stuff up sometimes.
 
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23. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 18:59 KilrathiAce
 
Carmack and Sweeny are past their innovative age, when was the last game they made that anyone cared about? Oh yea.  
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22. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 18:49 dheer
 
Love some of the games he's worked on but shut the hell up please.

Being stuck making some Mickey Mouse bullshit must suck and he's trying to make the best of it. I get it.

Here's hoping more talent like his doesn't get wasted similarly.
 
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I wonder if he reads them, or if it's just for show.
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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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20. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 16:55 Dmitri_M
 
But gibbing someone doesn't require non-combat ai. And that's all I ever wanted to do with games.  
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19. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 15:27 Beamer
 
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.
 
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18. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 15:20 Stormsinger
 
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.
 
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17. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 15:18 Stormsinger
 
born2expire wrote on Aug 16, 2012, 14:01:
Yay! lets work for Disney where you barely own the paycheque you earn, Disney keeps ALL their IP's in house and if they can't own 100% of it they don't want it.
Unless, of course, they just steal it instead...Lion King, Mickey Mouse, most of their biggest properties over the decades were flat-out stolen.

They -should- be talking about the possibility of redemption, but I'm pretty sure that's not really what Spector means.
 
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16. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 15:00 Beamer
 
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.

What you guys are talking about is combat AI, which is dynamic and done on the fly. And, for the most point, completely useless after a point (enormous diminishing returns.) Yes, giving an enemy a bit more brains does pay off, as Half Life and the original FEAR prove, but those enemies were still dispatched within seconds and only rarely managed to show those brains. It's not worth putting enormous processor time into something that has a 5 second lifespan.
 
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15. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 14:13 Ozmodan
 
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.
 
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14. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 14:01 born2expire
 
Yay! lets work for Disney where you barely own the paycheque you earn, Disney keeps ALL their IP's in house and if they can't own 100% of it they don't want it.  
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13. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 13:34 Fion
 
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.
 
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12. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 13:10 Kedyn
 
Two things:

Someone's been drinking the Disney Kool-aid for wayyy too long already.

and

Carmack/ID isn't going to make something that isn't a shooter. They just don't do that. I doubt that they could if they tried, cell phone games aside.
 
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11. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 13:04 Drazula
 
Sounds like Warren is kissing Disney's butt.  
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10. Re: Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney Aug 16, 2012, 12:26 Cutter
 
Right, Warren, because Disney has always been such an angelic corporation. Pfft.
 
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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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