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AI needs to change, have actual cone of sight/hearing/smell and needs(No more "cone of aggro/standin

StilerStiler Athens, TNPosts: 599Member

This is something I never quite figured out why mmo's never really did.

In almost any mmo it's always the same. You have npc's that merely stand around in the world, just waiting for someone to get "near" them and then they aggro and you either kill them or run away.

It's extremely predictable, it's bare bones, and most of all it makes the entire AI seem both dumb and lifeless.

 

To me this is one of the major things I'd love to see changed in EQnext, no more useless mobs just STANDING AROUND doing nothing. No more "cone of aggro" that pops when you get within "x" distance of them.

Why not give the AI an actual needs based system? Give animals basic needs, such as a need for food, water, shelter, which the AI has to fulfill on it's own.

Then you give the animal AI variations. Such as some animals being herbivores vs carnivores vs omnivores. Then you have some animals that live in packs, some that are alone, some that are in herds. Some that are territorial, some that migrate depending on the season in game, some that are aggressive, some that are passive and run away (IE deer/cattle/etc) some that are only defensively aggressive (IE you give them room/don't put them in a corner an dthey don't attack, but if you do they'll defend themselves)..

 

Then finally, instead of having the "cone of aggro" type of detection they actually have a sense of sight/hearing, and even if it is permitted, smell.

Something along the lines of games like say Metal Gear Solid or Splinter cell type of AI.

 

Imagine all the possibilities that are opened as far as combat when you have this kind of AI compared to the usual mmo AI.

 

You want to be sneaky? You don't "pop invis" and just walk anywhere you want around a mob, rather you actually have to use the shadows and be QUIET.

You want to distract an enemy? Fire a noisy arrow (think of like in the Thief games) or throw something nearby that they can hear.

All kinds of things can be done if the AI is brought up to a level that some single player games have done.

Comments

  • SkuzSkuz WorcesterPosts: 1,034Member Uncommon

    I don't know the specifics but AI is getting a lot of attention in EQNext, we'll have to wait & see how that translates into the game but I think that some of the points you raise are extremely difficult to translate into AI while others make sense to do & are feasible.

    I agree with the basic premise that AI needs to be improved a lot in MMO's, mostly as I believe it to help support the "virtual world" immersion, but also because it will raise the bar a great deal game-play wise.

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common

    i have no issues w undead standing around

     

    but otherwise i agree w the Op

  • StilerStiler Athens, TNPosts: 599Member
    Originally posted by Nadia

    i have no issues w undead standing around

     

    but otherwise i agree w the Op

     

    Undead shouldn't stand around, they should be  shambling around searching for BRAAAAAAINS lol.

  • FusionFusion VaasaPosts: 1,391Member Uncommon

    What you probably don't know, is 'proper-AI' is very resource-heavy (on the hardware side of things) and the more complex the AI is, the more quirks they'll have... spazzing out, doing weird shizz etc.

    Arma 3 (beta) is a good example of complex AI, they take cover, seek n destroy, try to flank you, give suppression etc, but when you slap alot of them on a mission, they hog resources like a mofo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2WRY2HD1Kk <-- there's a video of AI in action (alpha) and personally, i think that's pretty damned impressive.

    Complex AI and mmorpg's just don't mix, if the companies want to keep the hardware entry-level low as possible for more people to be able to play, thusly making more profit.

    Currently playing: -

    Waiting for: Class4.

    Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    i was thinking of Skeletons / Spirits
  • greenblood82greenblood82 JossgrundPosts: 29Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fusion

    Complex AI and mmorpg's just don't mix, if the companies want to keep the hardware entry-level low as possible for more people to be able to play, thusly making more profit.

    Isn't the ai calculated server side in an MMO?

  • StilerStiler Athens, TNPosts: 599Member
    Originally posted by Fusion

    What you probably don't know, is 'proper-AI' is very resource-heavy (on the hardware side of things) and the more complex the AI is, the more quirks they'll have... spazzing out, doing weird shizz etc.

    Arma 3 (beta) is a good example of complex AI, they take cover, seek n destroy, try to flank you, give suppression etc, but when you slap alot of them on a mission, they hog resources like a mofo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2WRY2HD1Kk <-- there's a video of AI in action (alpha) and personally, i think that's pretty damned impressive.

    Complex AI and mmorpg's just don't mix, if the companies want to keep the hardware entry-level low as possible for more people to be able to play, thusly making more profit.

     

    I understand it takes more resources, but you do understand that in mmo's most of the things like that (AI caculations) are done server side, not client side, right? Since you need to show the npc doing the smae thing for everyone , etc.

     

    I don't think it'd be asking for a lot to have basic AI with sight/sound detection like a game like Thief had back in the 1998.

     

  • FusionFusion VaasaPosts: 1,391Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Stiler
    Originally posted by Fusion

    What you probably don't know, is 'proper-AI' is very resource-heavy (on the hardware side of things) and the more complex the AI is, the more quirks they'll have... spazzing out, doing weird shizz etc.

    Arma 3 (beta) is a good example of complex AI, they take cover, seek n destroy, try to flank you, give suppression etc, but when you slap alot of them on a mission, they hog resources like a mofo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2WRY2HD1Kk <-- there's a video of AI in action (alpha) and personally, i think that's pretty damned impressive.

    Complex AI and mmorpg's just don't mix, if the companies want to keep the hardware entry-level low as possible for more people to be able to play, thusly making more profit.

     

    I understand it takes more resources, but you do understand that in mmo's most of the things like that (AI caculations) are done server side, not client side, right? Since you need to show the npc doing the smae thing for everyone , etc.

     

    I don't think it'd be asking for a lot to have basic AI with sight/sound detection like a game like Thief had back in the 1998.

     

    Indeed AI is on server-side in MMO's (hopefully all of them), but that doesn't change the fact of them being resource heavy... that's more server costs for the companies to run the game. If you double the complexity of the AI, that could easily mean you need to double the server-resources.. It all comes down to cost-efficiency :) 

    I'd like nothing more, than to get super advanced AI's, but that's not gonna happen anytime soon, just because of that.

    Currently playing: -

    Waiting for: Class4.

    Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  • LivnthedreamLivnthedream Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 555Member
    Originally posted by Stiler

    I understand it takes more resources, but you do understand that in mmo's most of the things like that (AI caculations) are done server side, not client side, right? Since you need to show the npc doing the smae thing for everyone , etc.

    I don't think it'd be asking for a lot to have basic AI with sight/sound detection like a game like Thief had back in the 1998.

    I don't think you understand the scale of what you are asking for.

  • Butch808Butch808 sheffieldPosts: 319Member Uncommon
    AI is the holy grail in computers, we're probably not gonna see decent AI for many many years in mmo's let alone games. Maybe one day when they have invented quantum computer will we see decent human like AI.
  • LivnthedreamLivnthedream Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 555Member
    Originally posted by Butch808
    AI is the holy grail in computers, we're probably not gonna see decent AI for many many years in mmo's let alone games. Maybe one day when they have invented quantum computer will we see decent human like AI.

    You do know that quantum computing already exists right?

  • RamanadjinnRamanadjinn Huntsville, ALPosts: 1,365Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Butch808
    AI is the holy grail in computers, we're probably not gonna see decent AI for many many years in mmo's let alone games. Maybe one day when they have invented quantum computer will we see decent human like AI.

     

    human-like AI is more of a problem than simple processing power can solve!

     

    edit: Although I agree with OP that MMO AI needs to improve and evolve.  I don't really care if that is a difficult task for those poor game companies whose job it is to sell things to me.

  • StilerStiler Athens, TNPosts: 599Member
    Originally posted by Livnthedream
    Originally posted by Stiler

    I understand it takes more resources, but you do understand that in mmo's most of the things like that (AI caculations) are done server side, not client side, right? Since you need to show the npc doing the smae thing for everyone , etc.

    I don't think it'd be asking for a lot to have basic AI with sight/sound detection like a game like Thief had back in the 1998.

    I don't think you understand the scale of what you are asking for.

    So asking for circa 1998 AI is too large of a scale/costly? I understand it's more resource intensive then the mind numbingly boring "stand around and do nothing" AI but really THAT much more?

     

    If a computer from back then could handle that AI with a <1ghz cpu I would like to think in 2013 with 5+ghz cpu's and multiple cores we'd have enough power to do it...

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member

    Yeah I would also like to see the end of static mobs hanging around doing nothing. Have undead crawl out of the ground as you get near, or out of their graves. Have guards patrolling the area or sitting around campfires in a group. Or actually doing a real life task like hunting / collecting water / anything.

    I really am hoping for a decent evolution in npc AI with storybricks onboard. Static mobs just lead to boring and predictable worlds.

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon

    You have to ask these questions within the framework of the technology available to MMOs.  So, you came up with a bunch of ideas but didn't really work it out.

     

    For instance.  When LOTRO was introduced, the had all the NPCs in Bree doing stuff.  Some were walking around, all of them had things they were saying.  So conversations were going on so it made the town feel more alive.  One problem.  The sheer amount of stuff going on caused massive lag.  Add in a bunch of players in the town, and it was impossible to play.  So they took most of those NPCs out of the game, and put the rest of them inside buildings and removed all the NPC talking.  Then you could play.

     

    How would you even code in "smell" to a MMO?  Would you have a smell meter?  Would certain races have a higher smell rate than others...lol.  What about equipment, would that have a smell rate.  And all for what?  The ability for mobs to aggro you....which they already do anyways?  Seems like a lot of work for a system that is redundant.

     

    The reason why NPCs stand around is so that people can always find them.  No one wants to have to search 30 minutes to find some wandering NPC that is needed for a quest turn in.  EQ2 had a solution to this.  They put in guards that you could talk to and find out where any NPC was.  They would point and there would be a little dot on your map when you typed in their first name.

     

    SWG had some of that pack mentality when it came to animals and such, but to be honest, it really was not needed and never really worked.  I think it was WOW where Rogues had the ability to distract mobs and turn them away with a well placed stone throw.

     

    So lots of those things you mentioned have already been done in MMOs.

     

     

  • theAsnatheAsna AsnatownPosts: 321Member

     

    The AI doesn't need to be super smart. It would help if developers would emulate some realistic behaviour. Like the OP mentioned with the example of wild animals (e.g. packs of predators, herds of herbivores, etc.). But then consider the effect this would have on certain quests.

     

    Say the player is tasked to deliver 10 pelts of a specified animal type. If the player is playing on his own he should right away refuse such a quest if the animals in questions are animals that live in packs / herds. That's likely a suicide mission. A loner might have some chances in getting the pelts of beavers (maybe with the help of trapmaking) or deer or bears. For a pack of wolves or a herd of buffalos a party would be required to get away unscathed.

     

    The current AI you see in most games fits in with today's quest design. The mechanic of an aggro range (a circle around the NPC where the radius of the circle is determined by the level differences of NPC and player) is the most easily implemented. In principle this combines several aspects in a very simplistic way:

    • line of sight
    • hearing range
    • the decision if the NPC stands a chance against the player

     

    If you've read monster manuals from PnP then you'll get tons of informations on a species. Not only combat stats but also about habitat / society and physical properties (e.g. infrared vision, smelling, blind, deaf, etc.). If you wanted to make NPCs as realistic as possible NPCs would have different sets of senses. Implementing all those variations alone might be a complex task (not impossible but you'd have to play test more). Probably some players might be confused about NPC behaviour then, because they'd need to look up a biology book. I imagine a thread like: "Help, why does this NPC snake follow me when it's dark".

     

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,523Member Uncommon

    OP - good ideas, I can give you an answer as to why this a is not done yet.

    When a new feature request comes in the project manager asks the Dev team, how much time it will take to complete, how many team members it will take to accomplish the task, etc...

    Another thing that is taken into consideration is "bang for the buck" how much all this effort will actually pay off in players playing more.

    On the operations side, how many additional hardware resources will be needed?

    This is where more advanced AI falls, too much cost that is not easily justifiable.

     

  • DullahanDullahan Posts: 2,053Member Uncommon

    I'd love to see some new things like different senses being involved.  Get tracked down by a mob of hungry kobolds.  I'd also like certain npcs to be able to see you further away than others, so like an increased aggro radius.  Hostile NPCs of the appropriate class should also be able to utilize their track ability to find you.

    TBH though, Id just be happy if we could see AI and aggro even as good as it was in classic EQ.  When is the last time you saw a game where mobs actually jumped around to players based on whether they were sitting, or low health?  How about game where one fleeing mob brought back 20 of his friends?  Classic EQ had that...


  • LivnthedreamLivnthedream Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 555Member
    Originally posted by Stiler

    So asking for circa 1998 AI is too large of a scale/costly? I understand it's more resource intensive then the mind numbingly boring "stand around and do nothing" AI but really THAT much more?

     

    If a computer from back then could handle that AI with a <1ghz cpu I would like to think in 2013 with 5+ghz cpu's and multiple cores we'd have enough power to do it...

    Which is exactly why I referred to scale. How many servers do you think are processing for the dumb ai there currently is with 50,000 users? How about 100,000? What do you think that is going to do to bandwidth?

    You claim not to know the reason why when that answer is pretty obvious. It is non trivial.

  • keenberkeenber galwayPosts: 438Member
    Smell and line of sight would be easy to have in game and i think it is a great idea. Hunting animals where you have to make sure your not down wind of them or they will run away or attack. Would love that in a mmo.
  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,523Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by keenber
    Smell and line of sight would be easy to have in game and i think it is a great idea. Hunting animals where you have to make sure your not down wind of them or they will run away or attack. Would love that in a mmo.

    The animals would have to be worth that effort, otherwise it would be wasted if you end up killing them as trash mob with ease in 4 hits with zero risk.

    So many NPCs are simply trash mobs, to be mowed down with ease - in proposed AI design all NPCs would be hard to kill otherwise all this effort to hunt them as I said would be pointless if they died in a few hits.

    The key to MMO design is to not frustrate players too much as they quit, if the game is too easy they get bored and quit, so you need a balance.

    You must have easy and hard NPCs, if all npc had good ai, players would get easily frustrated and quit so you need a fair amount of dumb NPCs.

     

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Stiler
    Originally posted by Livnthedream
    Originally posted by Stiler

    I understand it takes more resources, but you do understand that in mmo's most of the things like that (AI caculations) are done server side, not client side, right? Since you need to show the npc doing the smae thing for everyone , etc.

    I don't think it'd be asking for a lot to have basic AI with sight/sound detection like a game like Thief had back in the 1998.

    I don't think you understand the scale of what you are asking for.

    So asking for circa 1998 AI is too large of a scale/costly? I understand it's more resource intensive then the mind numbingly boring "stand around and do nothing" AI but really THAT much more?

     

    If a computer from back then could handle that AI with a <1ghz cpu I would like to think in 2013 with 5+ghz cpu's and multiple cores we'd have enough power to do it...

    It is in a MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER ONLINE ENVIORNMENT.

     

    Laaaaaagggggg, much?

    Broken mobs everywhere......

    Plus you forget that the target audience wants a "quick-easy-run-to cap" experience. Not one where they slow down and think.

  • StilerStiler Athens, TNPosts: 599Member
    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    You have to ask these questions within the framework of the technology available to MMOs.  So, you came up with a bunch of ideas but didn't really work it out.

     

    For instance.  When LOTRO was introduced, the had all the NPCs in Bree doing stuff.  Some were walking around, all of them had things they were saying.  So conversations were going on so it made the town feel more alive.  One problem.  The sheer amount of stuff going on caused massive lag.  Add in a bunch of players in the town, and it was impossible to play.  So they took most of those NPCs out of the game, and put the rest of them inside buildings and removed all the NPC talking.  Then you could play.

     

    How would you even code in "smell" to a MMO?  Would you have a smell meter?  Would certain races have a higher smell rate than others...lol.  What about equipment, would that have a smell rate.  And all for what?  The ability for mobs to aggro you....which they already do anyways?  Seems like a lot of work for a system that is redundant.

    Smell is not that difficult and you don't have to give everything "different" smells, just one basic smell for everything. 

    I was merely talking about a simple "smell" system where animals/creatures that it makes sense to have would be able to track/hunt things based on a simple smell system, where being upwind of an animal that has the ability to smell/track would be able (if the AI determined it to need/want to) smell your scent then hunt you. IT doesn't have to be complicated at all. You could even work in class skills and give the ranger type of class an ability to mask their scent/the groups scent or something like that as well as having a wind indicator (IE so you can tell if you are downwind or upwind ).

     

    The reason why NPCs stand around is so that people can always find them.  No one wants to have to search 30 minutes to find some wandering NPC that is needed for a quest turn in.  EQ2 had a solution to this.  They put in guards that you could talk to and find out where any NPC was.  They would point and there would be a little dot on your map when you typed in their first name.

     In this day and age you can almost bet there'll be a mini-map and a npc tracker. All they would have to do is indicate on your map/a waypoint for your NPC that you have the quest from, so they can still "wander" about the city and things.

    They can make it where it only shows the npc/tracks it once you have the quest rather then before, imo that'd make it more enjoyable.

     

  • Gallus85Gallus85 Winter Park, FLPosts: 1,092Member

    I've always found it to be pretty immersion breaking to have mobs within feet of where your group is, just standing there, watching your group or raid fighting other monsters, and not doing anything.

    I want to see more realistic AI when it comes to mobs as well.  Being attracted to sounds of battle and agroing when you're in view.  

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