What Makes Good AI? | Game Maker's Toolkit

When we talk about good AI, we often think about highly efficient and aggressive enemies in shooters like FEAR and Halo. But surely there’s more to good artificial intelligence than this?

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The Illusion of Intelligence | Bungie

New Doom’s deceptively simple design | Gamasutra

The Secrets Of Enemy AI In Uncharted 2 | Gamasutra

The Systemic AI of Far Cry | AI & Games

Arkham Intelligence | AI & Games

The Artificial Intelligence of Halo 2 | HowStuffWorks

[ZIP] Designing to Promote Intentional Play | Clint Hocking

The Perfect Organism: The AI of Alien: Isolation | AI & Games

[PDF] The AI Systems of Left 4 Dead | Valve

Toru Iwatani Interview | MameWorld

Uncharted 4 is not as scripted as you might think | GamesIndustry.biz

Find Out More

[PDF] Three States and a Plan | MIT Media Lab

Managing Complexity in Halo 2 | GDC

Modeling AI Perception and Awareness in Splinter Cell: Blacklist | GDC

Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior | GameInternals

Drivatar in Forza Motorsport | Microsoft Research

MGS V Enemies Response System Guide | SegmentNext

How Prompto’s AI-drive selfie system in Final Fantasy XV was built | Gamasutra

Further Reading / Viewing:

Laments on Half-Life 2’s AI and balance | Joe Wintergreen

Game Development Myths: Players Want Smart Artificial Intelligence | Ask a Game Dev

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance):

F.E.A.R. (Monolith Productions, 2005)
Halo 2 (Bungie, 2004)
Half-Life (Valve Corporation, 1998)
Halo: Combat Evolved (Bungie, 2001)
DOOM (id Software, 2016)
Alien: Isolation (The Creative Assembly, 2014)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady Studios, 2009)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style, 2012)
Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Ubisoft Toronto, 2013)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions, 2015)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios, 2011)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Naughty Dog, 2009)
Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2014)
The Swindle (Size Five Games, 2015)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, 2012)
Pac-Man (Namco, 1980)
Civilization V (Firaxis Games, 2010)
Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2008)
Vanquish (PlatinumGames, 2010)
Hitman (iO Interactive, 2016)
Spelunky (Derek Yu, 2012)
BioShock (Irrational Games, 2007)
Prey (Arkane Studios, 2017)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions, 2014)
Killer Instinct (Double Helix Games, 2013)
Forza Motorsport 6 (Turn 10 Studios, 2015)
Left 4 Dead (Turtle Rock / Valve, 2008)
Rain World (Videocult, 2017)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (GSC Game World, 2007)
BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games, 2013)
The Last Guardian (genDesign, 2016)
Event[0] (Ocelot Society, 2016)
Half-Life 2 (Valve Corporation, 2004)
The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog, 2016)

Music used in this episode:

Into the Red (Waking Mars)
Title Screen (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Screen OFF (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Black Hole (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Reverse (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Language (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Judegment (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Ruins (Please, Don’t Touch Anything)
Into the Red (Waking Mars)

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  • left 4 dead is an example of good starting AI that got ruined in the patching

    maxmagnus777 June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • * Two guards in Skyrim sitting by a bonfire *
    Me: Kills one with an arrow
    The second guard: "Must have been the wind"

    Adrian Bik June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 4:34

    who's foot prints are these?

    DadXPool June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Then you have IGN rating a game down for the AI being too smart

    Julio C.D. June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Why no Titanfall 2 isn't the AI are pretty smart sometimes both to Friend or Foe.

    ISIS Likes what do you want to put in here June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, and by god, could they have used some lessons from this video. Yes, Blighters are predictable, but in an almost comically stupid way. They will attack you, no matter what. It makes no difference if you're on their turf or yours, how the numbers are stacked, or even if there's police around (rule #1: don't start a gang fight in sight of Bobbies). And while you can buy a gang upgrade that makes it less likely for them to attack you on the streets, it's kinda sad that it's something you have to buy and doesn't come "naturally" from your surroundings. And the only time you'll ever see an enemy try to run away from a fight is when it's someone you're supposed to apprehend for Abberline.

    Rolf S June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Yeah but what about the testers' AI? 🙂

    Bloedkop June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • The Combine in half life 2 have some of the best AI even to this day, 3kliksphilip has a good video on the subject.

    Cabbage Man June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Game designers : alright lads, lets make a game which is not biased at all in player's favour.
    (Removes respawn feature)

    Monil Valia June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I know i am late to post a comment in this video, but i will do it only because i saw Alien: Isolation on the thumbnail.
    Well , Alien:Isolation – the game that always gets mentioned and is the prime example for good AI. While it is one of my favourite games, i have to say that the AI in that game is actually horrible. "WTF!?" , right? Think about it:
    1. in most (if not all) other Alien games and the Alien movies, the Xenomorph can walk on walls and on the ceiling, not in this one though for some reason.
    2. lets say you walk from one are to another and don't make a sound, the alien will always drop from the vent close to you, even though it's not supposed to know have actually moved, and on top of that it patrol radius around you is changed by the game difficulty. Let's say it has some alien super powers and it's using them to track you. Yes, sure. But why is it not able to "sense" you when it's right next to you and you are hiding under a table then?
    3. Alien goes in the vents – yes but only the ones on the ceiling, and only once in a vent where you can go as well (if you are not spotted ofcourse). Maybe it's just my experience but i've never seen the Alien going randomly if a vent where a player could be hiding.
    4. When you use the flamethrower on the Alien it could spring towards you, knocking you on the ground but then NOT finishing you off and runs for the vent. Why is it not finishing you?
    5. AND THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOR ME, A TOTAL GAME BREAKER and the biggest reason why Alien: Isolation's AI SUCKS BIG TIME – the Alien and the robots will NEVER EVER EVER check a locker that you are not in. They will only stop and "sniff" the locker if you are inside, and do it for just the right amount of time so you can lose some health while holding your breath.
    When i sit and think about it – there is nothing i can really praise about the AI in that game. Alien paths seem random but they, ofcourse, are pre-programmed paths with multiple branches and every time the alien is in a junction it simply makes a random (or not so random because of it's patrol radius) decision (roll) as to where to go. I'd be happy to be proven wrong and to be convinced that the AI in that game is actually good, but i don't think anyone can do it because what i mentioned are real observations and were tested multiple times. I've seen people claim that the alien can randomly go in the vents on the wall (the vents where the player can go as well) but in my 5 playthroughs (4 on Nightmare) i've never had this happen.

    Plamen Milanov June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 8:28
    That reminded me of Sr Pelo. Thanks.

    Miguel Villegas June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • when they notice the guy they are TALKING TO suddenly dies

    Leon Paelinck June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I hate it when games make AI look for the player or seem aware of the player when they have no reason to or really aware because if you're in a camp in the middle of nowhere that almost no one attacks why are the guards sitting up strait being really aware of shit

    Max Honig June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • A good AI does just robot 🤖, equal to both sides of players, and most important It shouldn't play against human 🤓

    Berna June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Some of the best AI I ever played was actually in Killzone 2. Even in the beta they felt like they were giving me a very organic FPS challenge. That’s part of why It’s one of my favorite games ever and a real underrated gem. It should have never been compared to halo. Its its own beast entirely

    Quanah Bennett June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • FEAR and Half-Life did do amazing jobs with their AI. Making them feel like you were actually fighting opponents and not just trying to kill walking guns that mindless shot at you.
    Having enemies take (and make) cover, use flanking or grenades to try and get the drop on you, fall back to heal or get backup… stuff like that makes combat in those games fun and interesting.

    Most shooters are pretty lazy with AI. Enemies basically just either stand in the open like idiots or they auto-stick to cover and keep firing even though you're moving closer to them (and they should be repositioning or changing tactics).

    Sadly, ally AI has been pretty garbage in most games. You either get invincible buddies who are just a crutch, or you have frustrating escort quests where your allies just walk to their death over and over. I'd like to find games with good ally AI. A game that makes it almost feel like you have another player there with you.

    Adam Taylor June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 13:45
    "pick up that can"

    Ben Carpendale June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 00:42 "Who actively try to hunt down…"
    The Freeman?!

    bravo075 June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • i want to point out a thing you didnt include (Or more so mentioned) In killzone, Your Enemies are Really smart and advanced as they go for cover, giving supressing fire or cover fire when another enemy closes in, They can call for back up, And to balance it They also made your Allied AI smart too. They are precise, they go for cover. Unlike the new Cods.

    TommyFortress June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Including Civilization 6 AI in this discussion was a mistake. Yes they have quirks, but that mostly plays towards the attitude of the player… they are either dumb and inconsistent as hell, and on higher difficulties they break the first segments message – up their strength and they "seem" more intelligent.

    Steve Eisler June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I have to disagree, I think good AI is one that is random and unpredictable like real life, which makes for much more interesting situations and "fun", well at least for me.

    Advythe June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I never noticed that the ghosts in pacman had different personalities.

    Maseeha Ayub June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I'm really looking forward to better conversation AI, because in games I often struggle with lack of information or I'm interested in knowing more and in real life you can always ask

    Apof June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • The first game with great AI that jumped into my head was the guards in the Metal Gear Solid series. Each one set a new bar for enemy AI other games had to meet. Am I the only one who had MGS as their immediate thought?

    William Corson June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 똑똑한 ai가 아닌 흥미로운 경험을 주는 ai가 더 중요하다 << 멋지네요!

    여러 예시를 들어서 다양한 경우를 설명해주시니 더 이해하기 좋았습니다!

    ᄀCargold June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I wonder what do you think about what I think is the biggest achievement in gaming AI, now that the video is too old to mention it: AlphaStar, a grandmaster level Starcraft 2 bot based on deep learning algorithms.

    Vladimir Tchuiev June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • 3:21 I'm so glad you mentioned that

    I remember playing Hitman Absolution on the hardest difficulty, was in a shootout, one doorway to me behind cover and me going outside to shoot them was deadly to me, basically whoever was attacking first had the disadvantage.

    Then an A.I goon said "GUYS GUYS OKAY, WAIT FOR *HIM*, TO COME TO US"

    That level of A.I really makes it feel more real and that you're not just finding mindless models

    Diesemauto Kerl June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • I’m all for “chicken-boneing,”
    But you could also use it to describe any enemy getting indirectly screwed over by the player(s)

    Jude Eisenhandlek June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • "In a game, a patroling guards goal isnt to find the player. Its to provide interesting gameplay."
    Truest of words.

    Ethribin June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • The chatbot has a secret unintended ending lmao

    christian jaye June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Naughty dog then: Complex AI
    Naughty dog now: Complex gender pronoun

    Your Neighbour June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply
  • Some variance can be good, I think. Monster Hunter World has AI where every monster of a species has the same given moves and tells, but the way the probabilities work, they'll do it differently so you get a different fight each time. A given Diablos might be really fond of burrowing, or charging more often than usual. But you almost always have enough time to react.

    I'd also point to Fire Pro Wrestling World. One of the selling points of Fire Pro is that all the wrestlers- the ones in the game, the ones you create, and the ones you download from the Workshop/site- have their own AI, and you can adjust the ones of the wrestlers you create. This is expressed as a series of percentages for how often the wrestler will do a particular move when the opponent is in a particular state (down near the corner, outside the ring, heavily damaged, etc.) as well as broader tendencies (how often they "Ukemi", or how often they'll follow up one specific move with another.) The result of this is not only does every wrestler feel different to play against, a lot of people just "sim" the game, choosing wrestlers and letting the computer fight CPU vs. CPU, just to see what happens. Even simmed matches between the same wrestlers won't be the same each time.

    Consistency is important- the MHW monsters aren't completely randomized in their behavior- but using probabilities kind of lets you have variance while still retaining some control over the encounter, and for certain types of games may be more desirable. But both of those games are different from the kinds of ones you talk about in this video- obviously I wouldn't want the enemies in a platformer to be too unpredictable.

    Evan Waters June 29, 2020 1:22 am Reply

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