Three next-gen AI demos at Wednesday's Game Developer's Conference showed off things that would seem like every day occurrences. But if their creators can get them to work, this distinct mundanity is a crowning achievement.
Richard Evans of Maxis and EA fame was the AI lead on the Sims 3. His demoed two new types of AIs, the first--called "Sim Tribe" allows developers to create their own societies. These societies can work on the same social rules as real cultures, meaning that if a player ventures into a different location, the other nonplayable characters (NPCs) will change their habits accordingly.
In terms of the demo, this paradigm shift was with eating, which became a social taboo. This acted out comically as characters could not eat until everyone else was outside of viewing distance. Evans joked that you could also reverse the rules so that going to the bathroom in public became an every day activity. What made the entire system more interesting was that there were also societal punishments built in, so that if players or other NPCs alike disobeyed the social norms, it would change how other characters interacted with them.
Evans' second demo was something equally ambitious that gave NPCs "very long term plans." The idea is that developers can give NPCs hundreds of actions that the characters can (and want) to do in their every day lives. This is as opposed to the three to four actions Evans said most developers will program out for an NPC. … Read more