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Cover Me! Promoting MMO Player Interaction Through Advanced AI. Dave Mark President & Lead Designer Intrinsic Algorithm LLC. Dave Mark. President & Lead Designer of Intrinsic Algorithm LLC Game Studio AI Consulting Company Author of Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI

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Cover me promoting mmo player interaction through advanced ai

Cover Me!Promoting MMO Player InteractionThrough Advanced AI

Dave MarkPresident & Lead DesignerIntrinsic Algorithm LLC


Dave mark
Dave Mark

  • President & Lead Designer ofIntrinsic AlgorithmLLC

    • Game Studio

    • AI Consulting Company

  • Author of Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI

  • Co-founder ofAI Game Programmers Guild

  • Organizer and co-host of theAI Summit at GDC 2009


  • Premises disclaimers
    Premises/Disclaimers

    • WoW is a good game.

    • Not everyone wants to be like WoW.

    • Bad AI has its place in games.

    • Not everyone wants to have bad AI.

    • You are here because you are working on an MMO.

    • You are here because you want to know:

      • How good AI can make your game better

      • How to use AI in an MMO environment


    What makes a game a game
    What makes a game a game?

    “A game isa series of interesting choices.”

    - Sid Meier


    In the beginning
    In the beginning…

    • Early games were entirely played against the computer.

    • AI sucked

    • Choices were rudimentary

    • Problem-solving was simplistic.


    1 player games w multi player component
    1-Player Games w/Multi-player Component

    • People played against each other more than computer

    • Game won’t sell without multi-player

    • 1-player campaign often neglected

    • “I love Halo 3… but I’ve never played the campaign.”


    Multiplayer co op
    Multiplayer Co-Op

    • People prefer playing with other people

      • Interactivity

      • Teamwork (AI allies still not up to par)

      • Solving problems together


    The draw of pvp
    The Draw of PvP

    • People prefer playing against other people

      • Difficulty of opponents

      • Adaptability of opponents

      • Dynamicity (e.g. the unexpected)

      • Solving problems together

    Replayability!


    The necessity of pve
    The Necessity of PvE

    • Beyond Game Mechanics

      • Environments

      • Weapons

      • Characters

    • World Immersion

      • Who is going to role-play the dragon?

      • The harmless little bunny?

      • The slime creature?


    Ai is your world
    AI is Your World!

    Boring AI = Boring World

    Deep AI = Immersive World

    Repetitive AI = Monotonous World

    Dynamic AI = Dynamic World


    Pvp vs pve

    PvP

    Difficult

    Adaptable

    Dynamic

    Necessitates ongoing problem-solving

    PvE

    Simple

    Rigid

    Predictable

    “Solve Once” and repeat

    PvP vs. PvE

    PvE

    • Difficult

    • Adaptable

    • Dynamic

    • Necessitates ongoing problem-solving

    So how do we do it?


    Making pve feel like pvp
    Making PvE feel like PvP

    • Single-player games have been improving their AI to generate a PvP-like feel

    • What techniques can we import from single-player games into MMOs?

      • What effect does that have on the player’s individual experience?

      • What effect does that have on the players working together?


    Ai techniques

    By Genre

    Shooter

    RPG

    Strategy

    By Concept

    Behavioral

    Tactical

    Strategic

    Simulation

    Economic

    AI Techniques


    Ai techniques1

    By Genre

    Shooter

    RPG

    Strategy

    By Concept

    Behavioral

    Tactical

    Strategic

    Simulation

    Economic

    AI Techniques

    Multiple vs. Multiple


    Behavioral ai
    Behavioral AI

    • How does the NPC make decisions?

      • Idle behaviors

      • When to attack

      • Who to attack

      • How to attack


    When to attack
    When to Attack

    • Generating “Aggro”

      • Distance

      • Environment Threshold Triggers

      • Line of Sight

    • Well documented by the public

      • Attack happens when the player(s) want it to

      • Removes sense of enemy’s autonomy


    Who to attack
    Who to Attack

    • Nearest opponent

    • Strongest opponent

    • Well documented by the public

      • Attack is against whom the player(s) expect

      • Attack is against whom the player(s) want

      • Removes sense of enemy’s autonomy


    How to attack
    How to Attack

    • Primary attack most of the time

    • After delay of x, use secondary attack

    • In given situation, use special attack

    • Well documented by the public

      • Attack happens how the player(s) expect it to

      • Removes sense of enemy’s dynamicity


    Effect on the players
    Effect on the Players

    • On the Individual Player

      • Calculatable

      • Predictable

      • Boring

    • On the Group

      • No need for interaction

      • “Read the script…”

      • “Play your part…”


    What is your reaction
    What is your reaction?

    • Want to pet

    • Want to meet

    • Just curious

    • Annoyed

    • Want to kick

    • Want to run screaming


    Now what is your reaction?

    • Want to pet

    • Want to meet

    • Just curious

    • Annoyed

    • Want to kick

    • Want to run screaming



    Same model for all agents
    Same Model for All Agents

    Extreme Reactions


    Varieties of reactions1
    Varieties of Reactions

    • Differences Exist

    • Don’t need to know why

    • Need to simulate that difference do exist

      • Not completely random selection

      • Must be reasonable

      • Can be simulated with weighted randoms


    Know when to walk away
    Know when to walk away…

    • Design Decision: “Enemies don’t always fight to the death”

    • Enemies can sometimes retreat

      • Flat % chance

        • Is random… therefore looks random

        • Not realistic

      • Situational random

        • Based on circumstances

        • Circumstances are flexible and dynamic



    Know when to walk away2
    Know when to walk away…

    How many on my side are still fighting?

    8

    1.6

    5

    How many of my enemies are still fighting?


    Know when to walk away3
    Know when to walk away…

    PercentChance = (4 – Ratio)3 / (43)


    Know when to walk away4
    Know when to walk away…

    PercentChance = (4 – Ratio)4 / (44)

    PercentChance = (4 – 1.6)4 / (44)

    PercentChance = 13%



    Know when to walk away6
    Know when to walk away…

    How many on my side are still fighting?

    7

    1.4

    5

    How many of my enemies are still fighting?


    Know when to walk away7
    Know when to walk away…

    PercentChance = (4 – Ratio)4 / (44)

    PercentChance = (4 – 1.4)4 / (44)

    PercentChance = 18%


    Know when to walk away8
    Know when to walk away…

    PercentChance = (4 × Ratio)4 / (44)



    Know when to walk away10
    Know when to walk away…

    PercentChance =

    ( ( MaxRatio – Ratio )k× MaxPct)/ (MaxRatio k )


    Know when to walk away11
    Know when to walk away…

    ( ( 4 – Ratio )4 × 1.00 ) / ( 44 )

    ( ( 4 – Ratio )6 × 0.75 ) / ( 46 )

    ( ( 4 – Ratio )8 × 0.50 ) / ( 48 )


    Know when to walk away12
    Know when to walk away…

    • Factors to Consider

      • Number of allies

      • Number of enemies

      • Proximity to Base

      • Strength of allies

      • Strength of enemies

      • My own health

      • Proximity of my leader


    Know when to walk away13
    Know when to walk away…

    Numberof Allies

    Strengthof Allies

    Numberof Enemies

    Strengthof Enemies

    Allied Strength

    Enemy Strength

    Proximityto Leader

    My Health

    Proximityto Base

    Threat Ratio

    My Morale

    “Compartmentalized Confidence”

    Urgency

    Retreat %


    How does this look to the players
    How does this look to the players?

    • Enemies aren’t completely fearless

    • They are slightly unpredictable

    • They are still reasonable

    • Curiosity: “Where is he going?”

    • “If we show force, they might break and run.”

    • “If we back them up, they are more aggressive.”

    • We have to react to their reactions.


    More than fight or flight
    More than “Fight or Flight”

    • Fight normally

    • Flee

    • Charge



    More than fight or flight2

    Fight

    Melee weapon

    Ranged weapon

    Special rare weapon

    Advance

    Press forward

    Berserker charge

    Retreat

    Fighting withdrawal

    Find Cover

    Organized pull back

    Flee in abject terror

    Surrender

    More than “Fight or Flight”




    More than fight or flight5
    More than “Fight or Flight”

    “Normal”

    “Defensive”

    21%

    42%


    How does this look to the players1
    How does this look to the players?

    • Not predictable

    • Reasonable

    • Causes us to have to react to his reaction


    Target selection
    Target Selection

    • Who should I attack?

      • Closest enemy

      • Biggest threat (highest DPS)

      • Weakest link (least health)

      • Most valuable (healer helping the other enemies)






    Tactics
    Tactics

    • Multiple NPCs working in a coordinated plan

      • Formations

        • Protecting high-value units (fighters protecting a mage)

        • Adequate defense coverage of a point

      • Coordinated movement

        • Flanking

        • Covering fire

        • Leapfrogging advance


    Tactical manager
    Tactical Manager

    TacticalManager

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent


    Tactical manager1
    Tactical Manager

    • Has Rudimentary Goals

      • “Protect X”

      • “Attack Y”

    • Situation Analysis

    • Reactive

      • Responds to players’ actions

      • Responds to situation changes

    • Proactive

      • Looks for opportunities

      • “Running a play”







    How does this look to the players2
    How does this look to the players?

    • Enemies react to our positioning

      • “They’re moving to block us.”

    • Enemies react to each others’ actions

      • “They’re pulling back and closing ranks!”

    • Enemies dynamically allocate their own resources as a cohesive unit

      • “OK… he saw me coming around the side.”


    Strategy
    Strategy

    • The entire body of a certain type of enemy working together to accomplish an over-arching goal

    • Super-set of tactics

      • Strategy to tactics = tactical to individual


    Strategy1
    Strategy

    TacticalManager

    Order

    Order

    Order

    Order

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent


    3 tier hierarchy

    TacticalManager

    TacticalManager

    TacticalManager

    TacticalManager

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    Agent

    3-tier Hierarchy

    StrategicManager

    Goal

    Goal

    Goal

    Goal


    Using influence maps
    Using Influence Maps

    • Store relevant data in underlying grid structure

    • Periodically update the data map

    • Propagate information about individual objects to surrounding squares

    • Aggregate the data to yield a broad representation

    • Different influence maps can be used in conjunction with one another






    How does this look to the players3
    How does this look to the players?

    • Requires communication among players:

      • “There are continual raids on the northern road.”

      • “We should take the southern road instead.”

      • “We should send patrols out along the northern road to keep it open.”

    • Continually dynamic:

      • “The orcs have figured out that we are using the southern road instead.”


    Quest givers
    Quest Givers

    • Information can be kept on:

      • Movements of NPCs and monsters

      • Significant events in the world

    • Quest Givers can use dynamic information from the world to notify players of…

      • Threats to avoid

      • Challenges to overcome


    Strategic disposition4
    Strategic Disposition

    The orcs have gathered…

    west of town, near the river.

    Fort

    A


    Strategic disposition5
    Strategic Disposition

    The orcs have regrouped…

    west of the fort, east of the river.

    Fort

    A


    Strategic disposition6
    Strategic Disposition

    Fort

    A

    The orcs have moved…

    north of town, near the fort.


    How does this look to the players4
    How does this look to the players?

    • “There are groups of them moving methodically through the outlying villages.”

    • “They have our city surrounded.”

    • “Their other groups are coming to the aid of the army we just routed.”

    • “There is a group trying to cut off our retreat back to the fort!”


    Other uses
    Other Uses

    • Big Bad Dragon in the mountains

      • Too many players hunting the dragon

      • Moves away from the players to some hills

      • Now feasting on Farmer Ted’s cows

      • Quest giver tells you to help Farmer Ted

    Influence Map

    Influence Map

    Influence Map

    Event Log


    Other uses1
    Other Uses

    • Living Areas

      • Moving toward player areas

      • Moving away from player areas

      • Moving towards food prey

      • Moving away from predators

    Influence Map

    Influence Map

    Influence Map

    Influence Map


    Sooo what have we learned
    Sooo… what have we learned?

    • People like playing against challenging opponents

    • Playing against challenging, dynamic, adaptive opponents forces the players to communicate and work together

    • AI can be designed to be challenging in similar ways to human opponents

    • By using advanced AI techniques in MMOs, we can create more engaging environments for our players to thrive in


    How does this change things for our players
    How does this change thingsfor our players?

    • Identify differences in enemy behavior

    • Communicate what they see to each other

    • Communicate their personal needs (“Cover me!”)

    • Formulate cooperative plans

    • Execute plans together

    • Adapt those plans to account for changing circumstances


    Dave mark president lead designer intrinsic algorithm llc

    Dave MarkPresident & Lead DesignerIntrinsic Algorithm LLC

    [email protected]

    www.IntrinsicAlgorithm.com


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