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Artificial Intelligence

various demos and experiments

 

Dynamic Difficulty in Silent Symphony

This is an area that greatly interests me, and I believe mastering the form can lead to a generation of games that don’t become boring or repetitive, and allow for a larger variety of players to enjoy. In “Silent Symphony” I played with the idea using the music playing element of the game, to gradually make the song you are playing grow in difficulty if you are doing well, and simplify if you are struggling. Programming the feature in XNA, this video shows briefly how the flute game (replicated in the Xcode tablet version) plays.

 

Path Finding/Optimisation for Twilight Chronicles 

Since a lot of the games I started producing were board games or board style strategy games, an effective means for the NPCs to move around was required. I knew that researching the application on a simple 2D surface could eventually lead to something applicable in 3D gaming too, and put some effort into this one. Using C# in XNA, I developed a tool that visually shows you the thinking process of a “Path Finder” and how it optimises itself, by checking the route input, against similar but forcefully different routes. By returning to waypoints (areas where the original route turned to face a new direction), it will check the quickest route, other than the route taken, also taking into account obstacles. It will then compare the new route to the old one, and if the new one is shorter, the old one will be replaced and then it will check again. This repeats until it finds the shortest route from the starting point to the end point. This process can also be applied to find the longest route, or “safe” route, like if an assassin is trying to close in on a ranger, but wants to maintain cover for as long as possible.

First a path is found using a Path finders and comparing distances.

Then a the path is optimised to find the shortest possible route.

 

NPC Teamwork and coordination in Castle Siege

An area of A.I that I am also fascinated by is the idea of NPC characters working as part of a team. I’d like to be able to produce online games where you can play with your friends, but if there is no one available, you can have A.I control the other players and still get close to the same experience. I’ve experimented with different theories in different games I have worked on, but I have yet to have the opportunity to work on it on a larger scale. The video is just an example of multiple units, positioning themselves to work with and protect their leader, but also each other. In this version, you can see that without an adequate path finder, the units get a bit confused, and it hinders their ability to coordinate.