Monday, January 19, 2009

Fallout 3 - A.I. Study (PS3)

The game I will be looking at is Fallout 3 for the PS3.

So, Fallout 3 is a very complex game that has MANY elements of A.I., that would be very hard to cover in one paper. I will do my best to pick out the key elements and larger aspects of Fallout 3's A.I.

The first thing you need to know about F3 is that it is fully customizable in just about every way. You start as a new born baby, this is where you pick your gender and body / face type (your father after you pick this, looks like you). As a child just learning to walk you get to pick what attributes you would like to have as your strong suite, you can later build upon other ones but you get three core ones. This is a very brief introduction of the intro and the massive customizing you can do.

… i will jump right in to some of the elements of the A.I.

One of the key elements introduced by Bethesda is something called the Radiant AI system. A very good way to put it is:

Where other games’ NPCs require individual scripting, we can simply provide our NPC’s with goals and our system allows them to think on their own and complete the task.

One of the reasons I know about this is because I have loved all of the Oblivion titles and have been playing Fallout from the start (1 and 2). This Radiant AI system is something that Bethesda has developed in order to have the NPC's become more interactive (no, it does not work every time but for the most part this is a great system).

an example of The Radiant AI sytem glitching... just a little bit... :-)


There is really no limit that can be placed on this system. I tested this system out by waiting, and waiting, and then waiting a little more until I found what I thought was a drunk NPC stubbing out of a bar in MegaTon. So, I don't think he was so much drunk as he was paranoid that someone was following so he would turn around and stubble on something while looking for me (hiding in the dark). As the light came up, we became less paranoid and more interactive with other NPC's, he would stop and pat kids on the head, talk to other NPC's and he even went in and made a transaction with one of the shop keeps before retiring to his shack on the out skirts of town. I tried to follow him into his house but he had locked the door... I decided I needed to take this one step further. I picked the lock on his door and quitly made my way around his house. He had a couple scraps of food, a book and a pistol. I tried to pick pocket him while he was asleep to see what he had as personal effects. This woke him up and startled him both you could see on his face. He looked over to see if the pistol was still in the correct place. I was NOT, this is when he began to panic and got up to head for the door. I shot him in the back, (I know, so mean) he went down with one blast to the head. This is only ONE NPC in the game and not a very important one at that.

Another aspect that is improved upon with F3's Radiant AI system is this; instead of having what is called a pathnod, this tells an AI NPC to walk / run / flee to a particular POINT. F3 made advancements to Radiant AI and created something called a navmesh, allowing the charter to “look” more intelligent by running to a particular AREA, instead of a particular point. They will run behind rocks, buildings, cars, other people, they will do “almost” anything to protect themselves, including running away if you are about to kick the crap out of them. This is an important quality that A.I. No a days have to have or it is considered trash!