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EverQuest Next

EverQuest Next 

General Discussion  » USGamer: How StoryBricks and Voxel Farm are shaping EQN

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45 posts found
  Theocritus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3613

8/09/13 8:18:45 AM#21
Originally posted by krulux

I am putting full faith in SOE to deliver. 

On the AI, the Gameplay, the Community and Everything Else.  I know a lot of us like to bash on SOE, me included, for all they've screwed up over the years.  But... and oh yes, there is always a but.

 

They have also made most of the games I've dearly enjoyed over the years.  If they can pull off what they intend, then MMO's will be changed and changed for the better.  As they like to harp - EQ was a game changer when it launched...

It's only fitting that Everquest show us the way again.

 

 I think they are still living off of EQs success a little too much.....The only thing I have faith in with SOE is that they will milk you for every dollar they can, that you can bank on.......Right now all we are hearing are all these grandiose ideas that you just know they aren't going to be able to carry out.

 

 

 

  Whiskey_Sam

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/13/12
Posts: 275

Nemo me impune lacessit.

8/09/13 8:19:31 AM#22
Originally posted by Nadia
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Do those guys actually believe some of the crap they're saying?  "Emotional AI", guards reacting because of their "sense of justice".  It's a not a real person, it's a program.  It doesn't feel or have emotions.  It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

yes its all scripts -- think anyone knows that

 

 the word emotional is being used to describe the context of the scripts

"The start of it was about building emotional A.I." Brian Green, a veteran of the MMO scene, began. "We wanted to give the spark of life to characters so that when you went and interacted with them, they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions or just stand there looking static. We wanted them to react. You know, if somebody got poisoned, we wanted them to be afraid and want the antidote. If a guard saw a mugging, we want his sense of justice to kick in and go and stop that mugging."

Read the quote you posted again.  "they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions".  "we want them to be afraid".  That is marketing BS.  They do not experience fear; they do not have a sense of justice.  They are still scripted actions.  Adding more complexity to the scripts and more outcomes is a wonderful thing.  But the moment they start overselling it with nonsense like this makes me start question why.

___________________________
Have flask; will travel.

  Whiskey_Sam

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/13/12
Posts: 275

Nemo me impune lacessit.

8/09/13 8:30:14 AM#23
Originally posted by Telondariel
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Do those guys actually believe some of the crap they're saying?  "Emotional AI", guards reacting because of their "sense of justice".  It's a not a real person, it's a program.  It doesn't feel or have emotions.  It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

In all the conversations and interviews that I've read, as well as presentations in panels over the weekend, no one has made any claims that this technology is approaching human AI.  A lot of descriptive words and phrases have been used to describe how the software works.  It's easier, and more comprehensive, when talking about how an NPC interacts with a player (or other NPC) in terms that we understand. 

 

"What we were working on as a company before that is also what we call 'emotional A.I' so that you know, you can set up a character to have an emotional reaction. What this is generally portrayed through is body language or facial expression and this is one of the exciting things about the style of art for Everquest Next. It has very expressive faces so that way you can see if the character's happy or sad or worried."

 

Green has programmed physical representations of internal scripts so that we, as players, can be entertained and more clearly see what is going on.  I am going to refer you to the video from the article which shows the internal scripting of StoryBricks, which starts at 1:11. 

 

We are all aware (well, most of us) that this is just clever programming dealing with reactionary scripts.


 

 

 

 

Elder Scrolls games have done this for a while.  NPCs with their own schedules and behaviors, NPCs whose demeanor, facial expressions, and responses change based on their disposition toward you.  I don't recall them ever trying to sell it as emotional responses or having their NPCs react in an unscripted way.  That is marketing nonsense.

___________________________
Have flask; will travel.

  Telondariel

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/10
Posts: 882

 
OP  8/09/13 8:36:45 AM#24
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Originally posted by Nadia
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Do those guys actually believe some of the crap they're saying?  "Emotional AI", guards reacting because of their "sense of justice".  It's a not a real person, it's a program.  It doesn't feel or have emotions.  It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

yes its all scripts -- think anyone knows that

 

 the word emotional is being used to describe the context of the scripts

"The start of it was about building emotional A.I." Brian Green, a veteran of the MMO scene, began. "We wanted to give the spark of life to characters so that when you went and interacted with them, they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions or just stand there looking static. We wanted them to react. You know, if somebody got poisoned, we wanted them to be afraid and want the antidote. If a guard saw a mugging, we want his sense of justice to kick in and go and stop that mugging."

Read the quote you posted again.  "they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions".  "we want them to be afraid".  That is marketing BS.  They do not experience fear; they do not have a sense of justice.  They are still scripted actions.  Adding more complexity to the scripts and more outcomes is a wonderful thing.  But the moment they start overselling it with nonsense like this makes me start question why.

I think this is a matter of perception vs reality. 

 

A lot of people have their ideas about the information that has been released so far.  Hey, opinions help fuel great debate!  When we get into the realm of assumption, then we are dealing with concepts that "are" or "are not".  In this case, I think the reality of StoryBricks being reactionary programming, and not real human AI, is a fairly well understood by the community at large.  Let's not belabor this and move on. 

  Sephastus

Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/09
Posts: 408

8/09/13 8:51:47 AM#25

Obviously, AI will not have human emotions, but the humans that are programing them can make them resemble those things. Give values to different things and actions, set up random variables on each character when these things would kick in, and have storybrick arches about what would happen if these conditions are met:

 

Very simple example. Mary sue - Scares when "Fear" reaches 5/10, Happy when "Joy reaches 8", Gnoll nearby makes Mary's fear jump to 6, and storybrick activates that makes her cry out for help. Player talks to her, and automated script tells the player that there is a gnoll nearby. Player eliminates gnoll and Mary's Joy reaches 9, second storybrick activates where she gives you something, and tells you to meet her father, who is the one in charge of the guards back in Qeynos. Back end, you get "faction" with qeynos, you are bumped up a few points on how "good" you are, and other NPCs now see you a little more friendly. You can also now speak with the captain of the guard, for a few more story-bricks, and possibly learning a new class altogether: Paladin.

 

See? No "real human emotion", but giving NPCs levers for various things, like sadness, Fear, Joy, Hatred, erotica?, and others, can make for the appearance of human like interaction with the game world. And before you say anything, yeah, erotica because NPCs may need a little love too, and they could fall in love and you could cause a very uncomfortable triangle in the game that can lead to a new class... The Bard! :-P Possibilities are really out there.

  Nadia

Elite Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11486

8/09/13 8:54:07 AM#26
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam

Read the quote you posted again.  "they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions".  "we want them to be afraid".  That is marketing BS. 

fair enough - I agree w you

  Telondariel

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/10
Posts: 882

 
OP  8/09/13 8:58:10 AM#27
Originally posted by Mightyking
Did they just reveal that guild cities can be attacked by NPC's? And possibly other guilds? Or are they basically referring to the rally call scenarios where Halas gets attacked?

Check out 5:54 of this Q&A from Ten Ton Hammer.  Dave talks about permissions in regards to personal structures being attackable.

  Telondariel

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/10
Posts: 882

 
OP  8/09/13 9:14:46 AM#28
Originally posted by SpottyGekko

IF they can make this combo of voxels and StoryBricks work smoothly and in interesting ways, EQNext will be the new WoW.

 

It will be a double knockout punch, the most interesting fantasy MMO on the market AND free to play. Who could resist ?

 

 

Heh heh, well, I'm hesitant to go there regarding EQN superceding WoW.  Two entirely different game concepts.

 

As for interesting, yes, absolutely.  the EQN team intentionally went to base zero to see where the MMO landscape currently is and how they could change it.  Although the degree of what they are proposing has rattled a lot of cages, I think their approach of setting off in a new direction is a good one.   I think if they pull this off it could be a game changer.

 

This is why the Emergent AI really excites me.  It is a system that permeates the entire world.  Your actions will have consequences with NPC's based on who you are and what you've done.  This could include faction, race, gender and the entire history of your character's actions up until that point.  It's the degree of complexity that is intriguing.  You will have to go out into the world with a greater awareness of what you do.

  mambome

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/29/06
Posts: 16

8/09/13 9:26:19 AM#29
I really think that whether or not the StoryBricks AI will really change the game will depend greatly on the degree to which SOE implements it. For example, in the StoryBricks kickstarter you could watch a video where they were programming the AI of certain characters, and it was relatively simple and unimpressive. However, it was just an example of a single "trait" tag that you could give a character. Theoretically each character could have several overlapping trait tags that each have a complex interaction with other trait tags. My hope is that SOE provides dumber creatures with fewer trait tags, and smarter creatures with many more trait tags. I can even envision a system where newly spawned characters are assigned a random pool of personality trait tags, so that all NPCs have a relatively unique personality.
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10633

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

8/09/13 9:57:24 AM#30

voxelfarm.com has some videos and information what Voxel Farm is, and what it can do. Think Minecraft, but with Unreal Engine graphics. They don't have much more information than that.

It generates terrain and "stuff" in the world in Real Time, either on the server or the "farm". I'm guessing that's the client. It allows for editing in the world; basically what we saw from the videos of Landmark.

There's not really too much more to say about it. It could be adapted for those sieges mentioned so that certain materials or walls require siege engines to break, but not to build.

The under world is generated in real time, instead of kept "on file" forever, reducing the amount of storage and the amount of bandwidth needed to play the game too. Looks cool. It should feed into the AI system nicely.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Drakephire

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/02/13
Posts: 361

8/09/13 10:35:13 AM#31
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
 It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

The same could be said about some humans....especially with their knee-jerk reactions to EQN.

  r0guy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 119

8/09/13 11:10:50 AM#32
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Originally posted by Telondariel
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Do those guys actually believe some of the crap they're saying?  "Emotional AI", guards reacting because of their "sense of justice".  It's a not a real person, it's a program.  It doesn't feel or have emotions.  It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

In all the conversations and interviews that I've read, as well as presentations in panels over the weekend, no one has made any claims that this technology is approaching human AI.  A lot of descriptive words and phrases have been used to describe how the software works.  It's easier, and more comprehensive, when talking about how an NPC interacts with a player (or other NPC) in terms that we understand. 

 

"What we were working on as a company before that is also what we call 'emotional A.I' so that you know, you can set up a character to have an emotional reaction. What this is generally portrayed through is body language or facial expression and this is one of the exciting things about the style of art for Everquest Next. It has very expressive faces so that way you can see if the character's happy or sad or worried."

 

Green has programmed physical representations of internal scripts so that we, as players, can be entertained and more clearly see what is going on.  I am going to refer you to the video from the article which shows the internal scripting of StoryBricks, which starts at 1:11. 

 

We are all aware (well, most of us) that this is just clever programming dealing with reactionary scripts.


 

 

 

 

Elder Scrolls games have done this for a while.  NPCs with their own schedules and behaviors, NPCs whose demeanor, facial expressions, and responses change based on their disposition toward you.  I don't recall them ever trying to sell it as emotional responses or having their NPCs react in an unscripted way.  That is marketing nonsense.

 

Then I'll refresh your memory, the language used in this E3 2005 dev walkthrough of TES:Oblivion is the same:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjbx6-KQoRg

  Plump

Novice Member

Joined: 7/24/13
Posts: 11

8/09/13 11:24:22 AM#33
MMO marketing buzzword input limit reached
  penandpaper

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 81

8/09/13 11:30:35 AM#34

Been forever since I posted, but I had to at this.

There are so many smart and logical people on this site.  It should be apparent that EQNext is trying to do something different.  Something no one has accomplished before.  So it would make sense that when they talk about it (they are people after all), they use phrases that represent their hopes and wants inside their game (it is their baby).  It's like hearing someone talk about their kid: "She is so smart!  She is so clever!"  No she isn't she's two years old.  But, they have a hope and a wish and a dream that this is how people will respond and see her.  Same is true for a game you've given yourself to.

All that said, I do see a possible flaw with the AI.  What if, it's a little too smart?  I mean, what happens when you start getting killed by two goblins because they've gotten used to your play?  One reason people like MMO's is because there is a bit of mindlessness to them.  Exploring and running around.  That's one reason Skyrim did well.  Many opponents ran up and you just hacked them.  In fact, in the end, you could do that with almost all opponents.  Yet many rave about Skyrim's combat system.

I think it has more to do with what you do and how you look doing it, than the response of the creatures, unless those creatures vary response slowly. (ie. Kill a hundred orcs in a tribe and they become immune to your cold spell.)

Just a thought.

  Amylion

Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/13
Posts: 37

8/09/13 11:31:22 AM#35
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam

Read the quote you posted again.  "they wouldn't just have pre-scripted actions".  "we want them to be afraid".  That is marketing BS.  They do not experience fear; they do not have a sense of justice.  They are still scripted actions.  Adding more complexity to the scripts and more outcomes is a wonderful thing.  But the moment they start overselling it with nonsense like this makes me start question why.

I don't think they expected the players to be that stupid that latter would assume that the NPCs would actually feel human emotions.

I question your motives to downplay the system of emergent A.I. What's the point in making looking yourself silly and grumpy?

Others just shoot the zombies which are chasing us. Whereas I try to talk to them.

If the brainless realized that it is dead, maybe, just maybe, it would lay itself down to rest...

  grimjakk

Novice Member

Joined: 1/01/06
Posts: 195

8/09/13 11:35:30 AM#36
Originally posted by Drakephire
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
 It is still a scripted response even if the script is more complex and has more possible outcomes than before.

The same could be said about some humans....especially with their knee-jerk reactions to EQN.

 

Ooh.  Burn.  ;)

 

There is a wiki article on intelligent agents that might be a useful read for anyone who doesn't want to sound like they're talking out their ass about AI.  (Not that I don't understand that talking asses have a long and storied tradition on MMO forums...)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_agent

You might recognize the standard MMO mob as a 'model-based reflex agent' in that list.

 

What storybricks brings to the table is a system for using utility-based (finds best action-list to reach its goal) and/or learning agents (grades its performance and tries to improve it).  They could be different agents to control different layers of behavior... or something completely different. 

 

But it isn't science fiction.  If you use OCR or voice recognition software or even Google Translate, you're already using this stuff.

 

 

  Telondariel

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/10
Posts: 882

 
OP  8/09/13 11:36:10 AM#37
Originally posted by mambome
I really think that whether or not the StoryBricks AI will really change the game will depend greatly on the degree to which SOE implements it. For example, in the StoryBricks kickstarter you could watch a video where they were programming the AI of certain characters, and it was relatively simple and unimpressive. However, it was just an example of a single "trait" tag that you could give a character. Theoretically each character could have several overlapping trait tags that each have a complex interaction with other trait tags. My hope is that SOE provides dumber creatures with fewer trait tags, and smarter creatures with many more trait tags. I can even envision a system where newly spawned characters are assigned a random pool of personality trait tags, so that all NPCs have a relatively unique personality.

This appears to be the case.  It was mentioned by Dave on two occasions:  in the Reveal and in a Q&A.  He gave the example of Orcs, saying they would have relatively few AI tags where more complex mobs and encounters would have more.

  Jean-Luc_Picard

Elite Member

Joined: 1/10/13
Posts: 2756

There... are... four... lights!

8/09/13 11:42:56 AM#38
Originally posted by Caldrin
Originally posted by Jean-Luc_Picard

Nice article, thanks!

 

Also, that "StarForge" game also using Voxel Farm is on Steam in alpha stage right now...

Yup got ti already and its already pretty decent..

Really? Various comments seems to hint that there's not much to do in that game in its current state... and it's still $20 they ask us to pay for it.

I'm still tempted just to see the "Voxel Farm" engine in action, but I try not to give my money for unfinished products which may never be finished either...

Playing now: Archeage, WoW, Landmark, GW2

Top 3 MMORPGs played: UO, AC1 and WoW

Honorable mentions: AO, LotRO and GW2.

"The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent" - Qui-gon Jinn. After many years of reading Internet forums, there's no doubt that neither does the ability to write.

  Telondariel

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/10
Posts: 882

 
OP  8/09/13 11:43:12 AM#39
Originally posted by penandpaper

Been forever since I posted, but I had to at this.

There are so many smart and logical people on this site.  It should be apparent that EQNext is trying to do something different.  Something no one has accomplished before.  So it would make sense that when they talk about it (they are people after all), they use phrases that represent their hopes and wants inside their game (it is their baby).  It's like hearing someone talk about their kid: "She is so smart!  She is so clever!"  No she isn't she's two years old.  But, they have a hope and a wish and a dream that this is how people will respond and see her.  Same is true for a game you've given yourself to.

All that said, I do see a possible flaw with the AI.  What if, it's a little too smart?  I mean, what happens when you start getting killed by two goblins because they've gotten used to your play?  One reason people like MMO's is because there is a bit of mindlessness to them.  Exploring and running around.  That's one reason Skyrim did well.  Many opponents ran up and you just hacked them.  In fact, in the end, you could do that with almost all opponents.  Yet many rave about Skyrim's combat system.

I think it has more to do with what you do and how you look doing it, than the response of the creatures, unless those creatures vary response slowly. (ie. Kill a hundred orcs in a tribe and they become immune to your cold spell.)

Just a thought.

It has been touched on briefly a couple of times, but Dave has said mobs will be tuned.  So, for run-of-the-mill stuff like a common goblin in a lowbie area, it's not going to be a genius.  However, further into the woods and in a cave, there might be a goblin leader who is a Shaman and he has a small camp of guards, healers, scouts, etc.  The AI complexity would shift given the scenario, which, imho, is pretty awesome. 

  wizardanim

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/24/07
Posts: 279

8/09/13 11:47:41 AM#40

Fantastic article, thanks for sharing.

I'd like to point something out ... 

[quote]

  • According to Green, Storybricks is currently working on assisting Sony in the development of combat A.I and ambient A.I for the upcoming MMO. 
I've seen the available story bricks videos.  The complexity of personality profiles seems rather impressive.  This quote speaks to me to say that monsters will have very different tactical approaches, when considering how to kill them.
 
I am very much looking forward to unique mobs, not just to the tune of skills, spells, or armor, but personality and behavior.  In an mmo setting, this will really make some waves and could be very fun.
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