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Artifical Intelligence? More like powerful and broken intellegence
Posted on Thursday, May 1 2008 @ 07:42:01 PST

Ah, the good ol AI. Whether they enjoy screwing you over with their stupidity, or gleefully raping you with cheap tricks and blatant cheating, AI is almost every gamer's bane. We should have won that race fairly, but no, the computer decides that you are not going to. We should have completed that mission smoothly, but nope, the computer ally decides it wants to kill itself. Computer players can seem like gods (or idiots) and it may make even the most hardened gamer smash a wall in fury.

First, let's go over cheap AI. This kind of AI decides that you are not going to win, end of story. It will plain cheat outright at some points, making you wonder why you are trying so hard to win. In fighting games, the AI can be so inhumanely perfect that it can block or counter ANYTHING you throw at it and pull off moves with such insane reflexes that you can't help but watch your character get raped hard and you can only say WTF? Next, we got AI who can make random luck work in their favor. Examples like the Mario Kart series, Mario Party, or almost any RPG game. While some dedicated gamers may be able to abuse the randomness to their favor as well, most average or casual gamers aren't going to know about such a technique unless they hang out on the internet. There are a lot more situations than the examples I just shown, but you can see already what the AI loves to do. If the AI has selected difficulty, usually they don't play smarter on harder levels, they play more cheaply. Playing a racing game? You better hope that crashing the AI will be enough because say hello to rubber band AI, where they can catch up AND pass you with even the most inferior cars, no matter how good yours is.

Now what about stupid AI? Yes it is true. For every game that has "smart" or powerful AI, there's games where the AI is dumber than an untrained dog. Dumb AI either makes the game too easy or too hard, depending on what you play. FPS games for example usually have some character you have to escort. Either the character is unarmed and you have to babysit them to make sure they don't die, only for them to happily run into a hail of bullets and rockets, or you got characters who can fight back, but still have to babysit them as they blindly charge into the gunfight trying to be a hero. Another example of stupid AI is The Warriors. The enemies only fight with basic moves. Even if you were to block all day long, they will still try to hit you. Of course they get more dangerous with weapons, but an AI that does only simplistic moves when they clearly have the ability to do more things is just stupid like them.

I know programming AI is very complex and time consuming, but I am starting to believe that the programmers simply can't be bothered to try and change the AI. For years we had to deal with AI like the ones I described and it has to stop now. We have consoles and games that can do a whole lot of good things. So whenever a flame war brews about what is next gen, just show them this and say that even though we have next gen consoles, we still have old ass several gens ago AI.
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