Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
chapter 9
Evoking Emotions
on the Cheap
One of the most difficult tasks in a computer game is to convey emotion. While
some games have no room for emotional content, many more benefit greatly
from it. Modern computers finally have the processing power and graphics
capability needed to show a realistic-looking human face. Players have been
conditioned since birth to instantly read nuances of human expression, but
technology to show them is relatively new. With motion-capture data touched
up by a professional animator, a simulated face and body stance can convey
nearly anything. Things change when the AI is in charge.
The AI programmer's first protest is quite clear: ''It's all I can do to get them to
decide what to do. You mean I have to get them to decide what to feel ?'' Upon
rising to face that challenge, the AI programmer faces the next hurdle: ''How do I
get the AI to show what it is feeling?'' Many AI programmers lack professional
training as artists, psychologists, and actors; worse yet, many of them are
introverts, outside their comfort zone when dealing with emotionally charged
content. Inexperienced AI programmers who also lack those skills and a wide
comfort zone could easily conclude that there is no way for them to model and
show emotions under the control of game AI. They would be wrong on both
To start with, they are trying to solve the wrong problem. The core problem is
not how to model and show emotion in games. Showing emotions is the core
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