I keep reading all these articles in various print and online game magazines where writers lament the continued lack of â€œrealisticâ€ AI in current and future game titles. It seems that next-gen consoles favor graphics pipeline over architecture that might help to improve AI. So the bitch-fest will continue. Regardless of hardware setup on this or the next cycle, players will complain because hardware wonâ€™t be able to do what human opponents do so well: go outside the box, do intelligently unexpected things, and think semi-strategically. Right?
Ok, soâ€¦ what if EA (for example) started putting â€œEA AI!â€ stickers on some of their games. Tell players that in order for the advanced AI to work it has to connect with some master server to â€œdownload new strategiesâ€ or whatever (you get normal AI otherwise)â€¦ And guess what? This new AI *really* kicks major ass. It acts like a human opponent, does unexpected things, even seems to taunt and convey emotion in its actions. Awesome! People talk about it. Want more of it. EA licenses it to other publishers, whateverâ€¦
And the man behind the curtain: 1000s of kids in China sitting at â€œdungeon masterâ€ consoles controlling the game environment, AI states, and other game variables. Once the news gets out of how it works people will probably want even more of it! If nothing else it creates a serious amount of media coverage. â€œStarâ€ dungeon masters get created. People pay a premium to â€œgo up against the bestâ€, etc, etc.
Yeah, all this has to be built into the games beforehand, but Iâ€™d imagine that these hooks would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to implement than actual AI code to match the complexity and variability from the human â€œAI machinesâ€. We all know that â€œkids in Chinaâ€ are happy to sit at computers day & night to mine MMOs for money. Why not have them do something useful: provide AI horsepower for our single player games?!