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General Discussion  » Utility-Based AI and EverQuest Next

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67 posts found
  Grahor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/08/11
Posts: 854

9/07/13 3:26:32 PM#21

*shrugh* from the point of view of an AI programmer (which I was, once upon a time, I even wrote my diploma about it.) the article is full of wonderful gibberish. The language of the article... Well, the same language I've used to explain to my elderly grandmother why the computer in our house will not become alive on Y2K error and will not eat her in her sleep.

 

The dragon decides... Assigns percentage numbers... arrrgh... Well, it's a way to explain the AI to a slightly retarded child, I guess, but really, do people need that? The concept of "utility-based AI" was known, like, forever, under different names, when I was writing my diploma (what was it? Nineties? I don't remember already...) it was called, I think, "goal-oriented fuzzy logic" - but the point remains the same - actor evaluates the changes in the system, accordingly to the set of flexible weights, which are calculated by the rules programmed into the AI, and changes its behavioral state accordingly. It is indeed an emergent AI, fully capable of "evaluating" all those factors described, as long as programmers have programmed the rules accordingly, it's very hard to predict the behavior of such AI (the number of rules, influencing the weights dynamically may be extremely huge and constantly changing depending on the system), but there is absolutely nothing new or exciting in that.

 

You still need to programm and test the AI, and it's extremely human-time-consuming, for emergent AI may (and quite often does) emerge either a complete idiot or a boring genius (for example, if, by the rules of the game, the most profitable move in every situation would be a basic attack, all the computer will ever do is that basic attack, and that's it.), so you need constant human tweaking for it.

 

Nothing new here.

 

As for StoryBricks, as I've said already, they aren't even AI, they are INTERFACE, the way to programm AI with your mouse, not within the code; it doesn't add anything to actual AI, or do anything, the only thing it does - allowing to move in-world AI programming from expensive programmers to cheap mouse-clickers, probably outsorced third world, thus allowing larger quantity in AI rules, behaviors and scenarios. Especially scenarios. Thus StoryBricks.

 

*shrug* so far, nothing exciting at all.

  Amaranthar

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2171

9/07/13 9:00:04 PM#22
Originally posted by Grahor

*shrugh* from the point of view of an AI programmer (which I was, once upon a time, I even wrote my diploma about it.) the article is full of wonderful gibberish. The language of the article... Well, the same language I've used to explain to my elderly grandmother why the computer in our house will not become alive on Y2K error and will not eat her in her sleep.

 

The dragon decides... Assigns percentage numbers... arrrgh... Well, it's a way to explain the AI to a slightly retarded child, I guess, but really, do people need that? The concept of "utility-based AI" was known, like, forever, under different names, when I was writing my diploma (what was it? Nineties? I don't remember already...) it was called, I think, "goal-oriented fuzzy logic" - but the point remains the same - actor evaluates the changes in the system, accordingly to the set of flexible weights, which are calculated by the rules programmed into the AI, and changes its behavioral state accordingly. It is indeed an emergent AI, fully capable of "evaluating" all those factors described, as long as programmers have programmed the rules accordingly, it's very hard to predict the behavior of such AI (the number of rules, influencing the weights dynamically may be extremely huge and constantly changing depending on the system), but there is absolutely nothing new or exciting in that.

 

You still need to programm and test the AI, and it's extremely human-time-consuming, for emergent AI may (and quite often does) emerge either a complete idiot or a boring genius (for example, if, by the rules of the game, the most profitable move in every situation would be a basic attack, all the computer will ever do is that basic attack, and that's it.), so you need constant human tweaking for it.

 

Nothing new here.

 

As for StoryBricks, as I've said already, they aren't even AI, they are INTERFACE, the way to programm AI with your mouse, not within the code; it doesn't add anything to actual AI, or do anything, the only thing it does - allowing to move in-world AI programming from expensive programmers to cheap mouse-clickers, probably outsorced third world, thus allowing larger quantity in AI rules, behaviors and scenarios. Especially scenarios. Thus StoryBricks.

 

*shrug* so far, nothing exciting at all.

Gee, I wish you were making MMOs so we could continue down the path of predictable boredom.

Once upon a time....

  Allein

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/13
Posts: 1004

9/07/13 9:29:55 PM#23
Originally posted by Grahor

Nothing new here.

*shrug* so far, nothing exciting at all.

The concepts may not be "new" but can you point me to a mmorpg that has them already or to the scale at which EQN may?

As with all things tech, I'm sure they are talked about and imagined long before anyone gets their hands on the finished product. Why you wouldn't be excited to see in action something you knew about 20 years ago is beyond me.

  Morv

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/03
Posts: 334

9/07/13 9:47:24 PM#24
Originally posted by TheRealFantomex
I wrote a new article about utility-based AI and EverQuest Next. I am pretty certain this is the type of AI that is being implemented in EverQuest Next. It explains a lot about what they have said so far will be possible. I hope you all enjoy it. Let me know what questions you might have.

Thank you for this article, very nice, I have been studying and talking about utility AI for MMORPGs for years now, even put together a design of an MMORPG using it. If you are correct about this, it will change the way MMORPGs are created. I have no doubt about that because the AI and the interaction within the game wil change across the board.

  Allein

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/13
Posts: 1004

9/07/13 10:00:25 PM#25
Originally posted by Rydeson

     The 3 mobs too smart to defeat by 2 players, go get some buddies and make it a 5 on 3 fight then.. ZERG.. Power of numbers will always trump smart AI..  But that doesn't mean that smart AI is wrong either..  They are just 2 different styles , hamburger or hot dog.... I prefer burgers myself..

     IMO the smart AI is to simulate PvP type of mechanics, which also encompasses MOBA games.. I don't enjoy that type of gaming, it's why I never played Call of Duty, and don't care for Planetside or LoL..  For me a trinity style is like playing football, whereas smart AI is like playing rugby.. 

Zerg is only beneficial if players are rewarded for doing so.

Simple solution, every mob has a scale or number of players that are expected to be able to defeat it. Say a giant is expected to need 20 players to take it down safely. Less can do it, but 20 is the average.

If 50 people roll by and take it down in half the time, they are given no reward. The game would know that 50 players either attacked or healed or did whatever contribution in the fight and that it wasn't "fair."

This would most likely discourage those that plan on Zerging for progress. If people just want to be able to say they killed a giant, well let them bring 200 friends along and do it quick if they want, just don't reward them.

This still works with a system that frowns on kill stealing or other mob tagging issues from previous games.

I'm sure devs could think up even more sophisticated systems to keep everything in check. Unlike GW2 (at least when I played) where you only had to do a small amount of damage to get credit among a huge zerg of players. Not to mention spawns are so large and close together that even if you can't tag half the mobs, you still are able to tag the other half and do well in progression.

With the non-static spawns, camping and zerging should also run into some issues in EQN.

None of this is accounting for AI and all the systems that can be in place. Just simple, Zerg = no reward. But AI could alter and become harder or whatever to account for more players to make it a waste of time to attempt to zerg.

Personally, I find PVP and games that rely on creative active teamwork to be more like Football then the Trinity. Both require roles and everyone to do their part, but one allows for a lot more possibilities. 

In Football, a QB throws the ball to someone to score. If the moment allows, they can also run for a TD themselves. In the trinity, you can't have a Healer all of a sudden be the Tank or the DPS turn into a Healer. Everyone is stuck doing a very specific role (unless you are some hybrid class). Football has a decent amount of flexibility, even though everyone is a particular role to do.

EQN will still have distinct roles, but there should be a bit more freedom due to class skill mixing and allowing everyone to be the QB, TE, WR, or LB depending on the situation. Instead of 5 friends picking the QB class on Day 1 and unable to do anything together because no one picked the Kicker and this first fight needs a Kicker.

  solarbear88

Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/10
Posts: 73

9/08/13 3:18:38 AM#26
I am not sure this will work out. Every intelligent mob will just go right for and annihilate the squishy target and in case he doesn't die they will just kite in circles. Till mob dead.
  Allein

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/13
Posts: 1004

9/08/13 3:49:03 AM#27
Originally posted by solarbear88
I am not sure this will work out. Every intelligent mob will just go right for and annihilate the squishy target and in case he doesn't die they will just kite in circles. Till mob dead.

No idea if kiting will be a viable option in EQN. Mobs could simply not chase players mindlessly (hoping AI doesn't follow a player in a circle) or they could CC players if they try to run.

As far as mobs going after the squishies, this is where team work comes in. Mobs would go after the DPS in the trinity system as well.

The tank + casters having avoidance abilities are usually what happens. If a Mage is casting away and a Mob decides they don't like it, the Warrior with the shield better stop it from charging.

This could lead to a ping pong effect, but the Mobs could CC the Warrior and then go after the caster who would have to use movement/defense to stay alive and hope their Cleric buddy can get some heals in before the Mob CCs them as well.

A Mob could cast Silence on a caster or cast a buff to deflect magic for a short period or any number of things to make the DPS not so effective while they deal with the guys stabbing them in the face.

Really, the amount of complexity is only limited by dev imagination and how much they program in and allow to happen.

Then again, a Mob may find the the guy knocking them down to be a bigger threat then the guy hurling fireballs and stay on the meat shield the whole time. We don't know how it will work out, but there at least is room for ideas beyond Tank and Spank.

 

  Rydeson

Elite Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 3426

9/08/13 3:50:06 AM#28

     Smart AI has been around for ages..  It's nothing new.. AI is nothing more then programming the actions of the mob..  Most games choose to go "simple" where as other games allow "complex" or advanced AI.. This is just like playing strategy games..  Civ 5?  C&C?..  Players are given options to go simple or go "god" mode if they wish..  Players will ALWAYS find the best way to expose the weakness in AI codes and use it to defeat it..  Then what?  Make the code so hard that 80% of your customer base says "SCREW THIS SHIT".. and moves on..  People talk about playing a GAME for fun, but if you code the AI too high, then it's no longer fun to the masses, it's becomes more like a job.. 

     In conclusion.. The smart AI "HAS" to remain stupid for the masses.. So why bother?  Think about it..

  Allein

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/13
Posts: 1004

9/08/13 3:56:16 AM#29
Originally posted by Rydeson

     Smart AI has been around for ages..  It's nothing new.. AI is nothing more then programming the actions of the mob..  Most games choose to go "simple" where as other games allow "complex" or advanced AI.. This is just like playing strategy games..  Civ 5?  C&C?..  Players are given options to go simple or go "god" mode if they wish..  Players will ALWAYS find the best way to expose the weakness in AI codes and use it to defeat it..  Then what?  Make the code so hard that 80% of your customer base says "SCREW THIS SHIT".. and moves on..  People talk about playing a GAME for fun, but if you code the AI too high, then it's no longer fun to the masses, it's becomes more like a job.. 

     In conclusion.. The smart AI "HAS" to remain stupid for the masses.. So why bother?  Think about it..

Or they could have simple to "god" mode mobs and cater to everyone? With a huge world to explore, it is reasonable to believe that some/most players will not see everything nor beat it all.

WoW's high end raids were only completed by a very small percentage of players (out of millions), yet they still had millions playing. That has since changed, but it was effective for many years. Add in numerous new things to do in the game beyond just mob grinding and raiding and people will stick around for a while.

Or just cater to only one part of the community and make everything the exact same difficulty, seems to have worked for many games...

  Markusrind

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/22/13
Posts: 390

9/08/13 3:56:45 AM#30
Originally posted by solarbear88
I am not sure this will work out. Every intelligent mob will just go right for and annihilate the squishy target and in case he doesn't die they will just kite in circles. Till mob dead.

How do they know which is the squishy target?

What if they really hate Elves and your frontline guy is an Elf?

What if the Orcs you are attacking recognise 'Slinky Orcbane' the tank and ignore the others simply to kill their sworn enemy?

What is the mobs you are fighting are really stupid and really only attack the closest enemy?

What if the mobs are intelligent enough that they realise soon after targeting the squishy character that there is a bigger threat from the bug with the big longbow and so choose to swap target?

 

The complexity of the fights with rely on the time taken to create a good set of options for each mob to recreate their 'thought processes'. Really, time is the only reason it won't improve things.

  solarbear88

Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/10
Posts: 73

9/08/13 4:01:16 AM#31
Dress, pyjamas, wielding a stick would be the aggro list of most mobs

I am afraid it will develop into dress wearing dude running in circles.... similar to GW2 encounters.
  Rydeson

Elite Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 3426

9/08/13 4:11:39 AM#32
Originally posted by Allein
Originally posted by Rydeson

     Smart AI has been around for ages..  It's nothing new.. AI is nothing more then programming the actions of the mob..  Most games choose to go "simple" where as other games allow "complex" or advanced AI.. This is just like playing strategy games..  Civ 5?  C&C?..  Players are given options to go simple or go "god" mode if they wish..  Players will ALWAYS find the best way to expose the weakness in AI codes and use it to defeat it..  Then what?  Make the code so hard that 80% of your customer base says "SCREW THIS SHIT".. and moves on..  People talk about playing a GAME for fun, but if you code the AI too high, then it's no longer fun to the masses, it's becomes more like a job.. 

     In conclusion.. The smart AI "HAS" to remain stupid for the masses.. So why bother?  Think about it..

Or they could have simple to "god" mode mobs and cater to everyone? With a huge world to explore, it is reasonable to believe that some/most players will not see everything nor beat it all.

WoW's high end raids were only completed by a very small percentage of players (out of millions), yet they still had millions playing. MILLIONS played it because the general open world AI was was stupid.. The hard raids were instanced..  HUGE difference.. That has since changed, but it was effective for many years. Add in numerous new things to do in the game beyond just mob grinding and raiding and people will stick around for a while. This remains to be seen.. None of us have any insider knowledge on what non-combat game play will be..

Or just cater to only one part of the community and make everything the exact same difficulty, seems to have worked for many games... But you are asking them to "cater" to your desire of game play..  Double Standards? I have yet to hear anything from SOE about EQN cater to everyone.. EQN is going niche as well.. 

     If EQN wished to attract the masses it MUST be programmed for the lowest denominator.. PURE and SIMPLE and never open for discussion..  If the new smart AI offends too many customers, it will result in a very small niche game, or it will be tweaked down to dummy mode.. You mention "gode" mode mobs. UMmm.. EQ did that with dragons, and GW2 does that with open world bosses and both ended up being ZERGED..   It is what it is..  As the old sales slogan goes..  EQN is trying to sell the "sizzle" , and we have yet to see the steak..... Get the idea?

  Grahor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/08/11
Posts: 854

9/08/13 5:53:24 AM#33
Originally posted by Allein
Originally posted by Grahor

Nothing new here.

*shrug* so far, nothing exciting at all.

The concepts may not be "new" but can you point me to a mmorpg that has them already or to the scale at which EQN may?

As with all things tech, I'm sure they are talked about and imagined long before anyone gets their hands on the finished product. Why you wouldn't be excited to see in action something you knew about 20 years ago is beyond me.

Every mmorpg uses the same methods to program the AI. "Threat generation" behavior in mmorpgs is programmed _absolutely the same way_, it's just that the mechanics of threat generations are added as rules to weighted behavior of monsters.

 

And it was done this way "because reasons" - because without additional rules and tweaking emergent AI quite often emerges either stupid and easily taken advantage of (say, a guy in a dress and with a magic wand in his hands gets "haste" from group-members and runs around screaming, while monster trying to attack him and everyone else just pounds the monster without any retaliation) or becomes boringly genius - say, the monster and all his minions focus their attacks on the healer no matter what, and it's a 100% wipe for a group, no way to overcome.

 

I see in action that "utility AI" in a lot of games and it's absolutely nothing special - it's how you implement rules what's important... and the descriptions given here are also nothing special: that's how every game programmer tries to implement his AI... but it has lots of limitations.

 

So, I'm not excited because what I read here is "we are going to make the same AI as everyone else have done everywhere, but ours will be totes better because reasons!" So no, I'm not excited until I see it.

  Mr.Kujo

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/12
Posts: 392

“Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.”

9/08/13 6:51:56 AM#34
Originally posted by Rydeson

     If EQN wished to attract the masses it MUST be programmed for the lowest denominator.. PURE and SIMPLE and never open for discussion..  If the new smart AI offends too many customers, it will result in a very small niche game, or it will be tweaked down to dummy mode.. You mention "gode" mode mobs. UMmm.. EQ did that with dragons, and GW2 does that with open world bosses and both ended up being ZERGED..   It is what it is..  As the old sales slogan goes..  EQN is trying to sell the "sizzle" , and we have yet to see the steak..... Get the idea?

 

I don't think there is any doubt they are going for easy mode game. Current game scripted mobs had a set of actions to do, and always did the same actions with the same intensity. The only difference between this and "intelligent AI" I see is that the new mob can make mistakes.

I can already see billions of ways to abuse that system. Like taking a weak character into party or naked and fast character, to make the difference in armor so big, that the monster AI will keep choosing him every few secons as a new way of taunting. It is that tag system. So easy to create your own environment, in which monster will keep choosing the same actions because of the differences in stats you throw at him. Unless they make monster retarded enough to not take such differences into consideration, then it is even easier.

  Enrif

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/13
Posts: 145

9/08/13 7:39:27 AM#35
watch at 2:00 and at 4:15 and stop assuming stuff they didn't said.
  Mr.Kujo

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/12
Posts: 392

“Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.”

9/08/13 9:00:52 AM#36
Originally posted by Enrif
watch at 2:00 and at 4:15 and stop assuming stuff they didn't said.

It is just a bunch of promises. We are trying to discuss about it from technical side, and see how it is really possible to achieve. If everything developers said about their game in hype phase was real then every game released so far would look completely different... It is like taking seriously election promises.

  IADaveMark

AI Design on EQN

Joined: 8/16/13
Posts: 10

9/08/13 9:32:18 AM#37

Wow... is it always like this around here? Some of you folks amuse me, some inspire me, some sadden me. And some of you... well... I don't know what to think.

Regardless, thanks for all the interest -- even the speculation and skepticism. Wish I could tell you more. 

Soon.

President & Lead Designer of Intrinsic Algorithm,
Author of Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI,
Game AI consultant, GDC AI Summit advisor, co-founder of AIGPG | IntrinsicAlgorithm.com

  Nadia

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11576

9/08/13 9:32:49 AM#38
Originally posted by Allein

I'm sure devs could think up even more sophisticated systems to keep everything in check. Unlike GW2 (at least when I played) where you only had to do a small amount of damage to get credit among a huge zerg of players.

SOE, EA-Mythic, and others have made past efforts regarding how to measure your input for the quality of loot

 

example: Public Quest loot in EQ2 DOV

http://eq2wire.com/2011/06/29/public-quest-rewards-the-healer-conspiracy/

http://eq2wire.com/2011/04/11/kwills-quill-punishing-the-bad-really-punishes-the-good/

 

  Markusrind

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/22/13
Posts: 390

9/08/13 10:04:40 AM#39
Originally posted by IADaveMark

Wow... is it always like this around here? Some of you folks amuse me, some inspire me, some sadden me. And some of you... well... I don't know what to think.

Regardless, thanks for all the interest -- even the speculation and skepticism. Wish I could tell you more. 

Soon.

Yeah it is like this pretty much all the time.

Some people see possibilities, some lack what it takes to see them.

Thankfully the short-sighted people are not making games, they just clog up these forums from time to time.

  Markusrind

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/22/13
Posts: 390

9/08/13 10:07:02 AM#40
Originally posted by Mr.Kujo
Originally posted by Enrif
watch at 2:00 and at 4:15 and stop assuming stuff they didn't said.

It is just a bunch of promises. We are trying to discuss about it from technical side, and see how it is really possible to achieve. If everything developers said about their game in hype phase was real then every game released so far would look completely different... It is like taking seriously election promises.

If given the choice between believing a group of proven industry vets or a bunch of negative ill-informed forum dwellers then I am very excited for the future of this game and all future games.

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