WIKIPEDIA says that game artificial intelligence "refers to techniques used in computer and video games to produce the illusion of intelligence in the behavior of non-player characters(NPCs). The techniques used typically draw upon existing methods from the field of artificial intelligence(AI). However, the term game AI is often used to refer to a broad set of algorithms that also include techniques from control theory, robotics, computer graphics and computer science in general."
Some human beings are also artificially intelligent. They have this illusion of intelligence and these are the people who think they know more stuff than they actually do. This is why artificial intelligence is given to NPCs; to mimic human intelligence. Game difficulty settings is evident of that.
In the game Counter-Strike, an easy enemy will for some reason jump onto a truck, and get stuck. Another will stop and just look at you... maybe thinking he's Chuck Norris or Rambo and bullets will just pass him by. That's just plain stupid. Chuck Norris would beat the crap out of you long before you even press the mouse button.
"Oh look, Mario is jumping up and down. I think i'll walk underneath him so i can die..." - a Koopa Troopa
In my opinion, artificial intelligence should at least give a hint of intelligence no matter what the game (except maybe for zombie games coz they ate all the brains). Randomizing NPC actions is okay as long as a reason is given for a chosen action. Instead of: "Dice roll says I should go up... even if i see a monster there waiting to eat me. Oh well, my life sucks anyway." It should be "Dice roll says i should go up... but there's a monster there! F*** this! I go down."
Making your NPCs more intelligent than your worst enemy should be easy enough, so why compormise? Developers must remember the undelying reasons why people play games in the first place. People play games to escape the realization that their lives are miserable and boring. They want to win. If you give them a bunch of dumbass NPCs what good will that be doing? They win, yes... but their grandma can do better.
People play games to escape this world and enter an alternate reality, a reality where they win races, rescue princesses, slay monsters, and throw birds around. That reality may be just within the game, but the NPCs will make everything oh so real. They will fight, and they will race and they will do eveything to stop you. If the players win, how glorious will they feel?
Making your NPCs intelligent will make your game the best game ever! Well, maybe not the best... my games will be better but yours maybe so-so. The point is... artificial intelligence should not equate to stupidity. If players wanted stupid, they can go play someone else's game with retarded NPCs.
Okay, so now you're saying the game will be unbeatable if you put in intelligent NPCs. That's what separates the noobs from the masters. hehe As developers, you must realize that NPCs make up only part of your game. The equalizer will be your game logic with all the rules, borders, and parameters. Lex Luthor was so intelligent that he managed to almost kill Superman by stabbing him with a sharp kyptonite ore. But Superman didn't die... thanks to the movie script or "game logic". Lois Lane saved him and Superman won in the end.
"All Your Base Are Belong to Us" Epic.
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