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Vacation Daze

Posted on Wednesday, February 21 @ 21:04:33 PST by Duke_Ferris
Well I'm back to inject a little Daily into the Manifesto, except I haven't even touched a video game in two weeks. But at least I think I know why Steve Irwin died.

That's an unusual state of affairs for me, and only happens once a year or so when I go on vacation, and sometimes, not even then. Cold turkey is really the best way to go for me - no PSP, no DS - and it's also, coincidentally, the only way my wife, Miranda, refrains from clocking me with a beer bottle. 

However, it's a strange side effect of my job that I pretty much think of everything in game terms. So the next few days I'll be going over my favorite real life video game moments and insights from my trip. Which brings me back to our friend the Crocodile Hunter.

The best A.I. award easily goes to the awesome stingrays. We went snorkeling out at a five foot deep break in the reef called "Shark Ray Alley", which was clearly not named because of all the penguins. The nurse sharks were pretty timid, but the stingrays were unbelievably friendly and playful. Schools of up to 10 or 20 of them, some up to about four feet across, would come round to play, even rubbing up against us. You could pet them, grab them by the nose, let them pull you around for a bit, and even pick them up. Who knew?

Apparently Steve Irwin did, and must have felt incredibly safe playing with the rays, as opposed to, say, a poisonous snake or a crocodile. And he must have been really, genuinely surprised to get stabbed by such a playful animal. Perhaps he was trying to give it a hug?

Anyway, listen up developers. I want better animal A.I. in my games. A wolf should behave differently than a bear, who should behave differently than a troll. Not everything should just attack mindlessly or wander aimlessly - some friendly, furtive, or at least inquisitive critters would make our games feel that much more real. Fair dinkum?

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