Weird, spot-on parodies of broken-robot videogame AI


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/10/weird-spot-on-parodies-of-bro.html


#2

Running around with the bow was perfect. Are there any more?


#3

AI in games are legendarily bad, though when talking about NPC’s and quests i’m not sure i would call it AI as all it is is a dialogue tree. But the NPC behavior/actions are still pretty rough in most games i can think of.


#4

Vince McMahon does a spot on Mass Effect Andromeda impersonation
https://twitter.com/Draconis/status/842126555098755072


#5

There is Oblivion 2 by the same guy:

And there is also this hilarious one by a different group, but it’s for Skyrim:


#6

I still really like Oblivion… even if I have fond memories of picking off enemies from the shadows and snickering as bandits and vampires watched their friends fall over dead, with arrows and their backs… and just carried on with their business.

Actually it was also pretty easy to lure a legendary NPC into a dark basement. If your stealth was high enough, you could stand right in front of them, completely undetected, allowing you to pelt them with arrows indefinitely to level up archery. They never detected you doing it, so they never got mad or aggressive about it. Good times.


#7

This is why Fallout 2 is still my favourite Fallout. My imagination beats their simulation.


#8

I actually managed to build a 100% invisibility magic item array. After that it was mostly a matter of patience.


#9

Yeah, I got one of those eventually too! I was playing it unmodded, and if there’s a way to play a stealth based character, with the normal leveling system and beat the main questline, I can’t think of what it is, save for building one of those.

I mostly used it to punch guards in the face and watch them scramble around looking for me though.


#10

I couldn’t, even then. The last mission, if I remember correctly, this is a decade ago now, requires babysitting, which I typically boycott on principle (no idea how Bioshock ends either…), and seemed pretty much impossible to accomplish with a stealth wizard.


#11

This is a little older, but I loved these guys’ take on Goldeneye AI and physics


#12

Not only was it babysitting, you had to keep Sean Bean alive. I think I got lucky and the other overzealous NPCs basically just formed a wall of flailing incompetence between him and the enemy until enough time had passed I was able to move on.

That was the other fun thing about companion AI for Oblivion. They had no concept of stealth. If I was forced to have one along, I’d be sighting down on my bow at some enemy, they’d scream “FOR KVATCH!” and charge, I’d wind up shooting them in the back, and everyone in the entire dungeon would be alerted as to exactly where I was. I don’t think any mission where I was given a companion ever ended with that companion alive.


#13

Fallout 3 and New Vegas were just as bad. You could be perfectly stealthed, kill one guy and immediately aggro the entire damn building and have a mob of angry NPCs that magically knew where you were. And then you get the complete opposite like in the Uncharted series where you murder people standing next to each other and they notice nothing. It’s particularly amusing when the map was full of guys and there’s one patrolling guy left, realistically you’d think he’d know something was off because… well… he’s suddenly alone. Putting that in practice in a game might be difficult to balance as far as having enemies with decent situational awareness but i’ve yet to see a single game where that was done, it usually devolves into a metagame where you’re not playing the game as intended you’re exploiting blindspots in the game design.


#14

I used to enjoy playing Skyrim, then I took an arrow to the knee.


#15

I think guards in Dishonored would sometimes notice that other guards were missing, but it didn’t cause them to raise the alarm. They’d just patrol the missing guard’s route for a while to see if something was up. I’m pretty sure on the harder difficulty settings for Thief, guards would even notice if a door was open when it wasn’t before.

Of course, in Thief guards couldn’t see you if you were standing in a shadowy area, never mind that shadows are two-dimensional and you, as a person, are not. And in Dishonored guards are incapable of noticing anything over 12 feet in the air, unless someone draws their attention to it. But both of those are kind of by design.


#16

Remember College Saga, the JRPG parody?

I suspect if I watch it again I will find that it may not be as good as I remember.


#17

In Dishonored as far as i recall they didn’t notice missing guards. They would alter their patrol if they would hear a noise, see a dead guard or have a partial alert status, they could glitch occasionally and instead of resuming their patrol they would sometimes get stuck standing or walking very close near you but wouldn’t go the last few feet toward you to find you. I might guess this was because the AI wasn’t supposed to find you even though it knew 100% you were in a spot. This would often lead to failed runs for me because some guards would just not budge. Though i did notice some guards would walk closer to my location, stop and wait for a while, then walk closer and closer until there was no place to hide. But they weren’t under an altered status. The AI in that game is a bit wonky…

I think a good way to handle patrolling enemies in game and giving them some level of awareness without going too overboard would be to have multiple sets of guards that keep in touch with one another via their comms. You would need to take them out between the intervals where they aren’t communicating or spoofing their chatter to give fake call ins.


#18

Once you grovelled through every hick town mage guild in Cyrodil and got admitted to the academy, you could craft custom spells; including the normally-unhelpful “make target invisible” effect.

Probably not the intended solution; but beat the hell out of doing it “correctly”.

More generally, I’m off two minds about Oblivion: the Ye Olde Magik Middle Ages setting was…not impressive…after Morrowind; but the Thieves’ guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines were arguably substantially better than the ones in Skyrim(Dark Brotherhood just had way more good bits and nasty twists; thieves’ guild actually involved a grand heist rather than mostly heavy dungeon crawling with the actual thieving left to tedious radiant quests) and the Shivering Isles were pretty cool.

Morrowind definitely hand the coolest setting; though its…advanced age…is harder to overlook than it once was. Skyrim vastly improved vs. Oblivion on technical merit and average style content per unit mass(and levelling mechanics that weren’t utterly broken, that’s always a plus); but there were some regressions.

I’ll never understand who decided to ruin the empire’s Roman style for brownish medieval generica, though. Nobody could possibly have thought that that was a good plan.


#19

If memory serves, there were some situations where aggro was scripted(and stealth wouldn’t save you from NPC hostility, detection; and reputation loss with the relevant faction); but outside of those a sufficiently stealthy approach could allow you to remain a faction’s best-buddy-who-coincidentally-definitely-doesn’t-cause-people’s-heads-to-fall-off.

It was typically named NPCs(though not all of them) or actually completing whatever quest all the killing was for that would be particularly likely to get you detected no matter how stealthy you were.

I, um, may have spent more time than I should admit seeing exactly how many members of various factions I could kill without suffering any reputation loss with that faction. With a CoS silencer rifle, maxed sneak skill, and long range; it’s a lot; but not some of the important ones(even if you’ve slaughtered all the witnesses ahead of time! How did I get the rap for Caesar’s death when everyone else on fortification hill except the unkillable children had already suffered a silent and unfortunate accident?)


#20

In New Vegas you could actually snipe farther out than the max range allowed you to if your sniping skill was maxed out, you could even directly shoot at named NPC’s and they wouldn’t aggro but they also wouldn’t die. For certain quests where you were required to kill them you could shoot them down to almost nothing, run up to them, activate dialogue and then basically slap them to death.