The first update

Testing the AI’s patrolling behaviour.

Hello again!

To make things a little more interesting, I thought for a start I’ll add a screenshot to every post.  Also The post will have a set structure. Something like this:

  • general news and changes
  • things I’ve been working on
  • ideas of gameplay
  • rambling (optional)

So this was the news and changes section. Let’s move on to things I’ve been working on.

As the picture shows, I’ve been working on AI. AI agents now have the ability to register noise and visual contact with the player. This can be extended to other AI agents as well, so that they could hear and see each other as well.

I’ll have to think about if this is needed, or if they should keep track of each other in some other way. Agents performing actions when they see each other, when the player can not see them is a waste. Sight involves raytracing, and even though it doesn’t happen every frame, I don’t want to perform those if not necessary.

I’ve also done some basic patrolling behaviour. This has a number of options, so it can be used for different type of agents, like neutrals, guards, and something in between. Changing patrolling types and assigning points to visit can be easily done in the level editor. I use the A* pathfinding created by Aron Granberg and a behaviour tree implementation by Emil “Angry Ant” Johansen. Both seem to be very solid tools that could make work a lot easier.

On to the next section we go.

The game is going to be a top down stealth game at its core. This means avoiding security with the help of gadgets, planning, and using the environment.

This part should be extended by interacting with contractors, upgrading and buying new equipment, and some sort of reward for your efforts. This could be presented by giving the player a kind of safe house. From here they could negotiate with their contractors, and buy new equipment  and upgrades “online”. The reward could come in various forms.

One possibility is a story element. The player could experience this by following the news and seeing the slight but noticeable changes they made in the world, or see how media presents their actions.

Another way to reward the player is to allow them to buy cool stuff for their safe house. This is probably a more shallow reward. But the combination of the two could be fun. At this point I almost wrote that it could serve as a motivation to keep playing. However I don’t think that is a goal. The goal of the game should be to provide an interesting and fun experience.

I still think I should keep my posts short, so I’ll wrap it up now. I promised to tell about how I selected the engine I use, but that will happen in the next post, I’ll tell you it’s Unity3d though. I realize I didn’t really share enough at this point to give you material to comment on, but I would really appreciate feedback on anything in the post. Do you like the idea of the core gameplay? What do you like about game AI, and what do you find annoying? Should I write longer posts, or should I try to make it even shorter?

Well, that’s all for now.

Bye!

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7 responses to “The first update”

  1. keep1 says :

    I’mma be keeping an eye on this, looks good.

    I guess with AI, you want to find that sweet spot between it being too dumb/predictable and too clever/surprising. Having guards interact outside the players purview leans things too far to the latter I think.

    Thumbs up to the progression via new equipment/news stories. You could add new missions/contractors getting in touch as a third reward?

  2. keep1 says :

    I’mma be keeping an eye on this, looks good.

    I guess with AI, you want to find that sweet spot between it being too dumb/predictable and too clever/surprising. Having guards interact outside the players purview probably leans things too far to the latter.

    Thumbs up to the progression via new equipment/news stories. You could add new missions/contractors getting in touch as a third reward?

    • onetinyleap says :

      Sorry, had to change the comments settings. Until now you needed and approve comment, but I have removed that.
      I agree, it’s going to be a huge challenge to find the right level of AI intelligence. As AI becomes more complex it will get more features (aka bugs) as well.
      I think a lot of people like it if the world goes on without their action, but if you take it too far it could easily become a mess without cause and effect from the player’s POV.

  3. hborrgg says :

    One thing that’s always intrigued me about AI is substituting decisions with probability. If you can’t make an enemy that is intelligent the next best thing would be one that can’t be predicted with certainty. AI exploits wouldn’t be so bad if you couldn’t use them with every single opponent you came across.

    Tying into that, random preferences/personalities. Some enemies might prefer charging you, some might prefer fighting from a distance. Most morality systems would probably be much more complex and dynamic if they instituted something like Wigram’s WWII findings that categorized 25% of soldiers as “gutfuls”, 25% of soldiers as “cowards”, and the remaining 50% as “sheep.”

    • onetinyleap says :

      But then again it’s a game, and a game imo is kind of a simplified version of the real world. The difference is a well-defined set of rules, which helps you to accomplish your goal with a better rate of success. This security and the constant reward of success is as much a factor in fun than a good free running mechanic for example.

  4. hasanbozok says :

    I love stealth games and i love them even more if game ai is really intelligent, because it makes me feel as if i am solving a puzzle. Aron’s pathfinding implementation is a great tool and a huge step for your project. I will be keeping an eye on your project.

    As an opinion while planning patrolling behavior, the end and start points of patrolling path can be assigned randomly. Also this can be a mod issue too. This will help to satisfy hardcore stealth type players 🙂

    I also want to say that, i find your posts really short, i think you can make them longer by posting more technical stuff and more screenshots.

    Anyway, i am glad that Aron has posted this great blog in his blog :). I will post my opinions about your project till you get bored with my comments 🙂

    • onetinyleap says :

      I like comments. It’s nice to know that someone’s interested, so just keep ’em comin’. Especially if it’s feedback on what people like in stealth games. When I finish with the steering behaviours stuff for a while, I’ll be posting more game design oriented thoughts. It would be absolutely brilliant if it could start a little discussion.

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