Why there haven't been any significant improvement in "AI" ?

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#1 Posted by mjorh (656 posts) -

Artificial Intelligence (AI) matters when it comes to a game being challenging and stuff, it can be frustrating and make you kinda hate the game , it's a factor that shouldn't be overlooked by any means , it's 2014 now and we see games like Sniper Elite III having worse AI than Medal of Honor in PS1, which seriously still has better AI than CoD or BF series ! or Even Assassins Creed series with its dumb hostiles , u can pretty much find "AI being dumb" in every AAA title....i don't know maybe i don't have the knowledge for it but man why they can't get it right! not taking half-glass empty approach to this , i gotta admit there have been masterpiece titles with great AI but overall i kinda expect more ....

Thoughts?

#2 Edited by Ghost120x (3687 posts) -

Having been working on a game myself. Programing AI is hard as fuck even for such a simple game I'm making. I imagine since graphics is all people care about these days, devs just use standard techniques since no one is making an uproar about it. Why bother with extra work when only a few seem to care?

#3 Edited by BldgIrsh (1288 posts) -

Seems like right now. All that matters to the fans are 1080p and then either 60 fps or "smooth" frames. So the developers are delivering just that. Core mechanics like AI aren't important if the crate next to you looks HD.

But, yes AI does need improvement...

Edit:

Ninja'd arrgggg.

#4 Posted by wis3boi (31009 posts) -

It's one of the most difficult things to produce in all of programming

#5 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (9920 posts) -

Even if they could programme decent AI... Who would apreciate it ?

Welcome to System Wars ! ;)

#6 Posted by Jeager_Titan (945 posts) -

Even if they could programme decent AI... Who would apreciate it ?

Welcome to System Wars ! ;)

I would. :(

#7 Posted by Jeager_Titan (945 posts) -

Programming AI is freaking hard.

#8 Posted by Vecna (3371 posts) -

People do not like to be outsmarted. They like purdy things.

#9 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (9920 posts) -

@Jeager_Titan

Me too man :( me too.

#10 Posted by commonfate (12132 posts) -

Difficult games are kind of niche so the kind of studios that would have the money to pay good programmers are focusing on other, more cost-effective things.

If you want that real sense of accomplishment after outsmarting another enemy you're gonna just have to play some kind of competitive multiplayer (fighter, moba, shooter, sports, etc).

#11 Edited by uninspiredcup (7620 posts) -

Developers are lazy and prefer using scripted sequences.

#12 Edited by mjorh (656 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

Even if they could programme decent AI... Who would apreciate it ?

Welcome to System Wars ! ;)

I would ! but yeah as mentioned in other posts ppl care about 1080p and graphics rather than AI and stuff so devs focus their attention on graphics and as programming is damn hard they don't bother with it ....

@Vecna said:

People do not like to be outsmarted. They like purdy things.

THIS perspective! you kinda could say that ...never though it this way.

#13 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (9920 posts) -

So what about Companion AI ?

Yes you definately don't want an AI to play the game for you and hold your hand but so long as its Asymmetrically and Co-dependantly Designed then it shouldn't be an Issue..... Like Elizabeth... If only that game didn't suck so hard.

#14 Posted by LustForSoul (5835 posts) -

People just expect AI to shoot up every player they see. Not much to it, they're not going to waste time on something people won't even notice most of the time.

#15 Posted by scottpsfan14 (3222 posts) -

Agreed. AI hasn't evolved from FEAR really. It would be nice if GTA 6 gets a generational jump in AI too, and not just lighting effects etc. Like imagine if all the pedestrians had a personality. Gawd.

#16 Posted by HalcyonScarlet (3954 posts) -

It's the slowest part in computer technology that advances.

It is very difficult. It's one of the reasons Turn 10 found a way around it with drivatars. They tried to program human behavious in previous Forza games, but sometimes they just end up doing stupid things and still weren't that smart.

AI Wars is an example of advanced AI.

#17 Posted by R3FURBISHED (10198 posts) -

A lot of good replies in here. It may be a bit away, but I'd love to see Halo's AI come back to proper form of the first three games.

How awesome it would be though, if an AI comparable to FEAR showed up.

#18 Posted by always_explicit (2655 posts) -

Ai has has reached a point whereby it is capable of mimicking human behaviour and applying said behaviour to random game scenarios appropriately the majority of times. However it has not yet reached the point where it can be considered a genuinely self sufficient enemy.

Even a self sufficient enemy AI would have to be bound by rules, confined to particular area's of the map, restricted movement, too powerful etc. Often its the conflict between creating a clever AI...but also restricting it to a set of rules that creates the "dumb" AI we see in games today.

Drivatar is a fantastic example of devs removing pressure from themselves and allowing a game to evolve and thrive simply by being played by its audience. I can see a time when most games use a similar tactic. Gamers play shadows of themselves or fellow gamers, maps that evolve overnight.

Sunset overdrive actually boasted of a world that could be constantly updated with great speed so it could tap into viral trends and create a living world. All of which sounds exciting to me. Beaming into a shooter to find all the characters have bunny heads for easter is the sort of touch that adds value to a game, as trivial as it may seem.

#19 Posted by blangenakker (2171 posts) -

Depends on many factors really. Level design, amount of ai on screen, power to player, difficult to develop, type of game.

Although with the popularity for cinematic games having an ai that can give the player a significant challenge may not jell well with certain players. But of course that doesn't mean they can't increase the dynamic of the ai with higher difficulties.

#20 Posted by Gue1 (9414 posts) -

Difficult games are kind of niche so the kind of studios that would have the money to pay good programmers are focusing on other, more cost-effective things.

If you want that real sense of accomplishment after outsmarting another enemy you're gonna just have to play some kind of competitive multiplayer (fighter, moba, shooter, sports, etc).

having a smarter AI has nothing to do with the difficulty of a game. AI is about the machine doing more logical things, reacting different to different situations or acting more like a human by making mistakes and stuff. But you don't really need much AI to program canned counters to a wide range of play styles within a game, which is why AI is pretty much irrelevant to the kind of games that are being made today.

Have you ever played UMVC3 on its hardest difficulty? Even pros still have problems with it because the CPU blocks everything and counters everything like a machine instead of like a human. Like seriously, you could do a set-up where you attack with an overhead and a low at the same time and the CPU will somehow block both!

#21 Posted by Netret0120 (1999 posts) -

Online gaming significantly helps eliminate that feeling for me. If I play most games on Hard from the beginning I usually have a significant challenge.

Try play Devil May Cry and come back:-P

#22 Edited by Cranler (8344 posts) -

Why are people associating ai with challenge? You can have awesome ai and the game be easy at the same time.

Devs could easily code the ai to headshot you the second you pop out of cover, that's basically the same thing as an aimbot thats made by hackers in their free time.

Ai hiding behind cover, retreating, flanking, flushing etc doesn't have to make the game harder you could simply tone down the ai's aim or damage.

GTA series has had significant ai improvements. Still a lot of shortcomings but much better than the older GTA's.

Good ai isn't just about combat either, in GTA SA you could just park your car in the middle of the road and the ai didn't know how to drive around your car while in GTA V they now drive around.

#23 Posted by handssss (1796 posts) -

we don't want them to take over.

#24 Posted by jg4xchamp (47058 posts) -

Because the issue is that a lot of these studios can't figure out how to compliment more difficult Ai with proper mechanics/level design.

There is more of a balancing act that devs struggle with. For instance FEAR which is adored for its AI is actually kind of smoke and mirrors. They do some clever things, but part of what makes it so effective is those tight corridor and office spaces taht everyone says is "bad level design" because repetitive. On the contrary it's fantastic, because they are built specifically to give you a handful of moments where you are going to be surprised by what the AI does.

Shadow of Chernobyl has brilliant AI and level design to compliment it: The level design is simple to the point of being non-existent, as is the structure of the campaign; but that's one of its greatest strengths: the realistic, simplicity of the level design and the unintrusive nature of the campaign means that the best ever combatant AI is able to dictate how the battles play out, and that exploring the incredible setting is always the focus, and not achieving silly objectives.

To be fair sometimes that "dumb" AI actually works within the context of the game. For instance Ground Zeroes showcases AI that is one part dynamic in some of the unpredictability that comes with them in terms of movement, squad formation tactics, and more importantly things like rotations for shifts after a certain time period, etc. But they are just dumb enough in combat, that they can be set up on. It's nuanced enough to sell the world, and force you to pay attention, but just dumb enough to let the player take advantage of them, which is usually what's made MGS fun. Fucking with the enemy AI.

The Last of Us also had predictable enemy Ai, but they did do some interesting shit. Be it how they coordinated once you were "spotted" or the part where you can break line of sight. Instead of being this all knowing AI that knows exactly where you are at all times. You could actively break line of sight, and turn a direct combat encounter into a more stealth encounter on the fly.

So it's not always about making the AI as smart as possible, but if you aim for that, the level design has to be their to compliment it. At the same time you can make dumb AI, that compliments the gameplay and keeps it engaging.

#25 Posted by R3FURBISHED (10198 posts) -

Because the issue is that a lot of these studios can't figure out how to compliment more difficult Ai with proper mechanics/level design.

There is more of a balancing act that devs struggle with. For instance FEAR which is adored for its AI is actually kind of smoke and mirrors. They do some clever things, but part of what makes it so effective is those tight corridor and office spaces taht everyone says is "bad level design" because repetitive. On the contrary it's fantastic, because they are built specifically to give you a handful of moments where you are going to be surprised by what the AI does.

The Last of Us also had predictable enemy Ai, but they did do some interesting shit. Be it how they coordinated once you were "spotted" or the part where you can break line of sight. Instead of being this all knowing AI that knows exactly where you are at all times. You could actively break line of sight, and turn a direct combat encounter into a more stealth encounter on the fly.

The FEAR AI, I do think, was genuinely clever while not being able to be mistaken for real player online tactics and encounters(they would let you win without attempting to wait out for you to make a mistake).

FEARs AI would engage you directly while sending one or two units to flank your position. Engage you from one angle (say the right) and have the left wait for you to peak around the corner before they engage. Very clever AI, much in the same way The Last of Us was/is...however The Last of Us wasn't too dynamic in that they would approach the situation the same each time.

#26 Posted by faizanhd (157 posts) -

I think its because there are too many variables when it comes to AI. Human beings are resourceful and intelligent. When playing games we tend to use what tools we have and do our best to overcome a situation. Sometimes we get creative and do something the AI wasn't ready for. So the AI ends up looking pretty idiotic when we outsmart it.

#27 Edited by Gaming-Planet (13883 posts) -

Because these AAA games are to appeal to idiots so AI that are smart would only piss them off and gaming would not be as mainstream as it is now.

#28 Posted by trasherhead (3058 posts) -

Some good points here, but a few points remain unmentioned.

AI doesn't have to be hard to program. In Unity I can make a basic AI with only adding One line of code to a C# script and using navMesh. The more complex you make the AI the harder it becomes to program it well, and with added complexity comes the need for more compute time and a lot of it. You can end up with having just one AI needing to get data from ten's of sources before making a decision, some might need to do checks every frame. Multiply that with how many AI's you have in your scene atm and you are starting to spend a lot of your compute time. Look into AI State Machines and behavior trees if anyone is interested.

There is also the human factor, the player. An AI can't be too smart, or else the player might start feeling cheated or that the game is stacked against him/her. It needs to be balanced to a point where it is challenging, rewarding and fun for the most amount of people in your target audience. So hardcore players might find the AI stupid or not challenging enough, but the hardcore might only account for 10% of the target audience.

#29 Posted by Jeager_Titan (945 posts) -

Thief (the original ones) had a pretty great AI for its time.

#30 Edited by FoxbatAlpha (6052 posts) -

Forza 5 Drivatars are a significant improvement. I hope they can move this type of A.I. Over to other games.

#31 Posted by SYSTEM-REBOOT (646 posts) -

Because these AAA games are to appeal to idiots so AI that are smart would only piss them off and gaming would not be as mainstream as it is now.

#32 Posted by nethernova (4072 posts) -

Because we don't want Skynet to kill us, you silly fool.

#33 Edited by cainetao11 (16579 posts) -

Because its already smarter than 90% of consumers out there?

#34 Posted by YearoftheSnake5 (7075 posts) -

AI is hard as all fuck to program. Depending on your game and what you want to accomplish, AI code can become extremely complex. Take FEAR, for example. Play it and try to piece together how that AI works. Makes my head spin.

#35 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (9920 posts) -

In The Last Of Us, on three different occasions I threw a bottle agains a wall and the AI reacted in different ways, none of which made any sense. They acknowledge the noise and respond by doing something random.

#36 Posted by parkurtommo (26015 posts) -

I think AI is good enough for what it needs to be. The onyl games that could strongly benefit from better AI are strategy games and more complex genres. What exactly do you think needs improvement in shooters and the like? I mean the only thing that needs to get better is AI not glitching out and walking in to walls or not seeing you when you're right in front of them, but that's all that I can think of.

#37 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (24580 posts) -

I dunno man, I personally Think AI is much better than it was 10 years ago.

#38 Edited by ActicEdge (24332 posts) -

It depends on what you mean by better AI because there is always going to be a point where the AI is too clever or good that it degrades the flow of the game. AI needs to be there to accomplish what the game is striving to be, it doesn't have to be super smart and flank you, corner you, flush you out with grenades or in general just be exceptional human like to be good. It just has to be good enough to challenge the player while still being balanced around the level design. I think for the most part AI on average is getting better in games. However, if you're gonna blast 500 enemies soldiers in COD you don't want all of them to play out like it's fucking life or death tactics every time.

#39 Posted by Cloud_imperium (2255 posts) -

Casuals don't like challenge , so making the game tactical with sharper AI won't sell the game as much as the game with dumb AI would .

Second reason is the focus on least denominator instead of utilizing power of latest CPUs . Moon Collider guys are doing good job with Star Citizen , so hopefully it'll make things better .

It's been 9 years and there is still not a single game to top AI of FEAR , which was a benchmark PC game .

#40 Posted by Cranler (8344 posts) -

Because these AAA games are to appeal to idiots so AI that are smart would only piss them off and gaming would not be as mainstream as it is now.

Challenging ai and smart ai aren't necessarily the same thing. Having the ai suicide bum rushing you is usually harder for the player to contend with than the ai showing a little concern for their well being by taking cover, retreating and using nades to flush you. Serious Sam is a much more challenging shooter than Fear.

I dunno man, I personally Think AI is much better than it was 10 years ago.

10 years ago most games had ai standing still in the open and maybe doing a little strafing. Now they at least take cover.

I think AI is good enough for what it needs to be. The onyl games that could strongly benefit from better AI are strategy games and more complex genres. What exactly do you think needs improvement in shooters and the like? I mean the only thing that needs to get better is AI not glitching out and walking in to walls or not seeing you when you're right in front of them, but that's all that I can think of.

Open world games need better ai for more believable worlds. GTA probably has the best ai for open world but when you land a chopper in the street it's no big deal.

Difficult games are kind of niche so the kind of studios that would have the money to pay good programmers are focusing on other, more cost-effective things.

If you want that real sense of accomplishment after outsmarting another enemy you're gonna just have to play some kind of competitive multiplayer (fighter, moba, shooter, sports, etc).

I would think that when people play a sp shooter they would want the ai to act like a person would in a real firefight which is totally different from how people play online shooters unless of course you're playing offline bot mp.

#41 Edited by Heirren (16275 posts) -

Have you played COD online? You think those players could handle over three AI routines? LOL.

#42 Posted by Heil68 (43237 posts) -

I think they have. Game like TLOU and even FC3 show that enemy AI has come a long way

#43 Edited by seanmcloughlin (38208 posts) -

AI is hard as balls to do well and when people are trying to push more complex level designs it gets even harder. TLOU showed some real competence at times but it also completely fell apart at other times

It also depends on the type of game and what the AI is expected to do. Do they go look for you in packs or just sit back and flank round

#44 Posted by Cranler (8344 posts) -

@Heirren said:

Have you played COD online? You think those players could handle over three AI routines? LOL.

Yeah just buff the player health, nerf enemy aim and/or damage.

#45 Posted by Vaasman (11190 posts) -

Good AI is really hard to do and usually breaks the game. Oblivion and it's radiant AI is a good example of why no one attempts smart AI. Early previews showed how unpredictable and crazy it gets, and so Bethesda dumbed it way down to the lame AI of the final product.

#46 Posted by Maddie_Larkin (6269 posts) -

Depending on the genre of game, We are talking fps ai here I assume? given htat I have seen pretty decent ai in RTS and RPG games (or rather decent AI advancements).

In terms of FPS games it is it likely is harder to make an acting ai over a reacting ai. And at that it often fails.

The two best ai driven pure FPS games weve seen are both old now, those being Half life and FEAR (ironically those two acted somewhat similar in the way they acted and reacted). Since then AI seems to have died in most cases.

I can name STALKER and the first Crysis in having some fairly good ai, and I think those games revealed why ai is not advancing as much.

I remember how the devs talked about how hard it was to program an ai for a none static envioment (corridors and such) that the need to plug in altering AI routines took a ton of resources and time to make Work, and the final product drained alot of processing power in both those cases.

In Crysis the problems came with an alternating envioment, when cover was nolonger cover, and how to move about in more dimentions then just a flat plane. I think it got dailed Down in the end, but part of the reason people always claimed crysis to be hard to run, likely was due to the AI soaking up resources, not the Graphics. Crysis 2 and 3 since dumbed Down the ai to make it easier to run (still fairly impressive and near FEAR levels on higher difficulties).

STALKER suffered similar problems, the amount of ai routines and an engine not entirelyg cut out for it took up a ton of processing power for the end user, and sadly Again the end user often complained about being badly coded, only looking at Visuals and sound. But I am willing to bet that the coding for those dogs, you would shoot after, would run liek they did, come at you as a Group and split up to be harder to hit, likely took more processing power, then the shadowmapping indoors (whic still is fairly impressive).

RAGE did have a pretty good ai, it was not the FEAR level og AI but it was pretty good, and did reactions well.

Anyways, my rather drawn out point is that nearly every time improving ai has been attempted the consumer has complained about the game being badly coded, because they took so much processor power to run proper, and with console generations lasting as long as the last one did, ai was likely the first thing to be cut in order to keep games running decently on them. A logical move since even the allmighty PC gamers, would complain about games with a good set of fast reaction or action ai would slow thier systems to a crawl.

But if we take Oblivion, most newer RTS games and such where realtime reactions are less important, we HAVE seen advancements in ai. I am not sure how many games before Oblivion had such a big World with NPCs having a daily Schedule ai, and reactionary ai, and it has improved since then (Worth noting that even Oblivions ai was cut back before release).

And I rts, tbs games ai has improved steadily.

#47 Posted by Desmonic (13180 posts) -

Yo, AI is hard as fuck to program on it's own! It's something truly complex outside of the gaming world, where top notch programmers/scientists/engineers still struggle with.

Even worse to apply it in games where you have to try and make it "intelligent" but at the same time very restricted to a specific set of rules, areas, movement types, etc. One would assume that would make it easier, but if you want to have a "smart" enemy that only further complicates things. That's why many devs restrict themselves to set routines and rarely make a really dynamic and changing opponent.

#48 Posted by ShepardCommandr (2289 posts) -

Lazy devs and not enough processing power.

#49 Posted by chikenfriedrice (9689 posts) -

What do you guys think of the AI in Wolfenstein: New Order? I felt a real challenge from the enemies.

#50 Posted by Cranler (8344 posts) -

Casuals don't like challenge , so making the game tactical with sharper AI won't sell the game as much as the game with dumb AI would .

Second reason is the focus on least denominator instead of utilizing power of latest CPUs . Moon Collider guys are doing good job with Star Citizen , so hopefully it'll make things better .

It's been 9 years and there is still not a single game to top AI of FEAR , which was a benchmark PC game .

Challenge has much more to do with damage stats than ai.

I think Uncharted has better ai than Fear.