Is it me or is the AI code in dishonored deeply disappointing? I think the game is pretty good, even if it feels like nothing especially new (although I do like the possession mechanic, and I have to confess I’m not far into the game, just completed my second mission), and I’m sure it is extremely profitable and win awards etc.
However, I’m probably it’s worst critic, because not only do I fondly recall the original Thief game, and how long ago it was, but I’m also an ex AAA industry AI programmer.
Unless I am MUCH mistaken, the AI in dishonored is extremely basic. Agents have extremely restrictive, predictable scripts, possibly with some branching based on alert levels. There are essentially 4 AI states, and so that the player doesn’t have to think too hard, a big phat GUI broadcasts that state through angry icons so we are never in any doubt as to if we have been detected.
This strikes me as pretty lazy. The problem is, I really care about AI, and it seems 95% of gamers just do not. I guess if people want to play against decent AI, they play online FPS games against people.
Which begs the question, on a tangent, as to why there isn’t an online thief multiplayer game where some players are guards, and some are thieves. A system of varying transparency for the thieves to represent how hidden they are could work pretty well surely? Maybe some proper representation of human eyesight done with a lens effect for the guards, so we don’t have A1 perfect peripheral vision as we do in most games? I digress…
The AI in dishonored could be so much better, if they wanted it to be. There should be no visual cues as to if guards are alerted, apart from maybe a change in their conversation or facial expressions. Different floor coverings should cause different volume sounds. Guards patrol routes should be AI-driven with multiple routes, choices and variable pause timings, not the simple scripted stuff they have now.
Any change in room environment should cause alarm to guards. Things left open or unlocked, or moved. Opening a window should cause a detectable breeze. Strangled guards that drop a sword should make a loud noise…need I go on?
None of this is rocket science, and what’s more it;s really fun to code. I just wish other gamers, and therefore publishers, gave a damn about realistic AI. I hope Monaco is the game I wanted dishonored to be…