Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
A Wide Skill Set
Cross-pollination is not possible without something to cross with. AI pro-
grammers do not have to be expert designers, artists, musicians, set designers,
writers, or costume designers, but all of those skills are helpful. We could also add
a touch of psychology and ergonomics for completeness. If the AI programmer
lacks these skills, he or she needs to be able to ask the right questions of the team
members who have them. The programmer also needs to be careful to always
offer up his or her own special skills—making things think, or possibly making
things feel—to the rest of the team. Working together, the team can produce
games in which the richness of the interactivity produces a wide range of emo-
tions in the players. To the player, having done something is fine, but having
done something and felt good about it is better.
Much as the interactions of software agents give us emergent behaviors, so do the
interactions between team members on a game cause a game to emerge. This is
why good communication skills are commonly listed on job openings. For AI
programmers, having a wide range of knowledge in other areas improves com-
munication with the members of the team who are working in those areas. There
is a great deal of synergy, particularly when AI programmers and animators work
closely together to solve each other's problems. AI programmers should exploit
the expertise of the sound designer if the team is blessed with one. Recall that
emergent behavior depends on the richness of the interactions; if the agents do
not react to other agents' behaviors, then nothing emerges. The first step for the
AI programmer is speaking ''their'' language; the next steps are seeing things
their way and offering his or her own abilities as a solution to their problems. If
the AI programmer can talk to the rest of the team, one of the problems that he or
she can help solve is when a designer says, ''I'd like the player to feel....''
Modeling Emotional States
Computer games have modeled emotions for a very long time. In 1985, Balance
of Power modeled not only integrity, but pugnacity and nastiness as well
[Crawford86]. While the first two might be deemed merely an observation of the
facts, nastiness is close enough for our purposes to be considered as a modeled
emotion. Since then, games have made great strides in modeling emotions.
Most of this chapter talks about evoking an emotional response in the player.
Some of the methods imply that the AI itself has emotions to display. How do we
model the emotional state of the AI? For many AIs, an FSM is sufficient to model
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