Blog 769: Sparkling If Statements

My favourite joke format at the moment is this: “It’s only X if it comes from the X region of France, otherwise it’s just sparkling Y.” In this case, “it’s only artificial intelligence if it’s from the AI region of France, otherwise it’s just sparkling if statements”. I can dunk on AI hype, you see, because I’m programming AI for my game again.

I’ve done quite a bit of AI programming already. The bots have fairly well-developed situational awareness — if they see an item they want they’ll move to pick it up; if they see an enemy they will attack; and if they are fighting they’ll use their abilities.

What they lack, however, is strategic awareness. Seeing as the Arena will have bonus objectives, and the same logic will power boss fights and full characters in the campaign, bots are going to need to that extra layer of intelligence.

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Blog 658: Too Bot To Handle

I’ve actually flirted with game-playing artificial intelligence a few times in my life. The most notable attempt has to be the chatterbots behind my Warcraft III map The Arena, who roved around the land, picked up items, bought new equipment, ran home when hurt and, yes, taunted and responded to textual prompts rather more than people liked.

Alas, No Excuses will require bots with slightly more finesse, because they are not to be infinitely respawning players in an enclosed arena. They need to hold down consistent jobs, but get distracted sometimes and then go back to work. They need to make sure they’re not trying to shoot through their allies, but also try to avoid taking hits.

That is a heady cocktail.

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