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Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 10:12

I certainly won't complain — it's very generous of Brian to make these available, and public domain no less.  I'm going to see if I can work any of them into my High Frontier video game.  Thanks, man!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:20

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your comments — I don't take them as negative at all.  They're very sensible, in fact I had similar concerns myself.  An Action RPG is built around the hack&slash mechanic; in such an environment, more realistic behavior of the things you're hacking and slashing probably only detracts from the game.  This genre might be traced back to Gauntlet, which was an incredibly fun game even though it consisted of little more than wading through waves of mindless enemies.  Slowing down to consider the consequences of your actions doesn't really add to that sort of gameplay.

Your suggestion about allies/companions is very insightful, though.  That's certainly something I'd thought about too, though above I was taking Clint's concerns about humanoid enemies as the launching point for discussion.  But you're probably right, characters that are going to stick around and travel with you for a while would have a lot more opportunity to show off their AI.



Sunday, May 5, 2013 - 22:55

I found the blog post and this discussion thread very interesting.  I'm not opposed to hack & slash games (Nethack is one of my all-time favorites, which probably dates me a bit).  But I too am often uncomfortable with the basic requirement to be the worst mass murderer in history in order to "win."

I understand that a nonviolent (or less violent), story-driven RPG would be a very different sort of game, and would generally require a whole lot more hand-written content.  Flare's not going to be that, nor was it intended to be.  That's fair; it should be what it is (and be as good at that as it can be).

However... I'm entering graduate school (as a non-traditional student; I've been working in industry for a couple decades) in AI, and I'm looking for a good environment and community to contribute to.  My vision is NPCs (including both friends & enemies) that have some real depth to them, and behave in human-like manners, beyond the simple reflexes, state machines, and scripts that even big-studio commercial games still rely on.

That ties in directly with the topic of this thread.  Suppose the goblins (and other humanoids) were mostly neutral, as Clint suggested, and their attitude and behavior changed based on their knowledge of you (the player).  This could include both actions they observe directly, as well as knowledge communicated by others in their community.  This would present obvious "sneak" opportunities where if you're going to do something vile, you better not leave any witnesses.  Conversely, if you do something good, it behooves you to make sure it's observed.

In addition to this basic disposition towards the player, I'd want to add simulated emotions, so intelligent enemies would act in more interesting ways — fleeing a hopeless battle, except when a loved one is in danger, for example; or being susceptible to bribery, threats, and persuation based on what each character knows and values.  I'd consider learning, too, though I honestly don't know if that would ever be noticeable, given the rather short life expectancy of most agents in a game like this.

All this doesn't require a lot more hand-written content... these aren't really story-driven changes; they're just more sophisticated behaviors, applied (to varying degrees, perhaps) to all agents in the game.

What do you think?  Is there room for (and interest in) this sort of deeper AI in an action RPG?