Thursday, December 20, 2007

Artificial Intelligence, Real Stupid

a job opening for a Senior AI Programmer.

Please, someone, someone very good, apply for this position. Hell, someone apply who has at least heard of AI, because the developers at Crytek don't know shit.

Nearly three years ago I wrote about Far Cry's horrible AI. It has gotten worse.

Not only are the dreaded player-seeking helicopters back, but there are several new tricks that basically amount to cheating. Koreans who can take three rifle shots to the face and at least seven to the body. Fifty cal machineguns with small armor plates that magically deflect bullets and even goddamn direct grenade hits.

There was the time I launched a fucking rocket into a sniper tower, blowing its roof off, and both of the snipers in it survived.

Or the time I very cautiously approached a position and thoroughly scouted the area. Completely clear. Then I got into a jeep. My radar lit up with three enemies in a circle around me. Yes, enemies spawn in out of thin air. These are not augmented sci-fantasy enemies with crazy powers - these are just grunts that apparently slide through dimensional folds.

When they aren't killing you over and over again, the enemies are outrageously dumb. They drive into obstacles. The boat drivers will putter around once their gunners have been killed, not even attempting to fight. When you cloak and decloak, most of the time enemies won't look at your last known position. Instead they'll just forget you were there and get distracted by some other shiny object.

I watched a tank turn its gun toward me. I cloaked. The turret swung back to the allied tanks. I uncloaked. Turret came back toward me. Cloaked. Turret swung away. Satchel charge, BOOM. Dumb.

It's pretty clear that the AI wasn't even touched between Far Cry and Crysis. The game's idea of challenge is waves of hard-to-kill enemies. And I've already seen instances of being out of range of the health tracking, so an enemy you're sniping runs around being shot and taking no damage at all.


So I got Crysis working for a little bit (obviously). Now it just freezes twenty minutes into a playsession.

Jesus what a shit game.


Patrick said...

Thanks for illustrating another example of a major industry release completely missing the point.

Chris said...

Is it a shit game or a shit piece of software? ;)

I appreciate why you want the strong AI, but I just *adore* dumb game AI. It's what I look for in a single player FPS to some extent.

It all began with Goldeneye - shooting someone in the leg, but being out of sight such that the target just turns to the guard next to him and seems to say "did something just sting me?" Priceless.

And in FarCry (which I mostly play in multiplayer), I love luring foes into the woods where I bean them with branch traps because they're too stupid not to walk into them. Ah, what fun.

I realise it's not what most players are looking for, but your tale of the dumb AI in Crysis is the first thing I've heard that makes me interested in giving it a go. :)

Best wishes!

Deacon said...

It's both actually. The crashing problems are so bad that I'll probably uninstall. I would still play the game, b/c it does do some things very well, and presents some thrilling situations. I like that you can approach objectives in many different ways.

But for every time I see the AI do something funny stupid, there are fifty times where it does something frustrating stupid or just stupid stupid. The AI is set up in such a way that the stat tracking range doesn't go as far as the visual range. So you can actually see and shoot someone, but they won't take damage b/c the game doesn't think that's relevant. So those twenty minutes you spent picking people off slowly in order to get to a sniping point is all wasted when you start shooting explosive barrels next to enemies that don't take damage. Oh, and when you throw a grenade so long as enemies run five feet away they'll be completely safe.

It's bad, and most of the time not laughably so.