A Look At NPCs In Video Games

A Look At NPCs In Video Games

Looking out over a sun kissed landscape in Red Dead Redemption 2 is breath-taking. Shafts of light penetrate swaying branches, flocks of birds soar over desolate prairies, and somewhere nearby a wolf can be heard singing a mournful song.

Then a rabbit runs under the hooves of your horse, and lets out a shriek as it is bludgeoned to death for its own sheer stupidity. Moments later a pair of riders approach from the opposite direction, and seem rather impressively lifelike. Until one comments to the other that it sure is nice weather, and his friend replies with a disinterested ‘yup.’ It’s a mundane exchange you’ve heard perhaps 2 or 3 dozen times at this point.

Of course, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an immensely impressive game, and taking a stroll through a town is extraordinarily convincing. At least at first. You can only see NPCs struggle awkwardly past one another, like drunk marionettes on anarrow pathway in Strawberry, so many times before it ruins the illusion.

A Leap Forward For Immersion

In an interview in 2018, Director of Design on Red Dead Redemption 2, Imran Sarwar, gave an interview explaining the complexities of the NPC AI in the game. He explained how characters are given memories, how a complex interaction system was developed, and how it was all a huge leap forward in immersion for the industry as a whole.

He is correct, as already said, the game is rather immersive, and certainly a great deal more advanced than something like casino movilenlinea Mexico.

To add to this, videos on YouTube have been posted in which players followed around NPCs for vast amounts of time. Low and behold, the NPCs all have little lives that they live, even if very basic lives.

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Limitations

The biggest problem that developers face is the limitations of present day hardware, as well as the sheer soul crushing amount of work needed to make a world truly believable. As advanced as the NPC AI is in Red Dead Redemption 2, an equal amount of work is done to ensure that the mammoth creation can run on present day hardware.

A PS4 can only deal with so many advanced AI systems running at any given time, and so a rabbit will have a drastically cut back version of a brain, to ensure that human pedestrians aren’t also nose planting into trees. Though, they may do so anyway, if something triggered them to make a sudden run for it.

The point is that as much work as is done on an AI, the system still has to function with the resources available to it. Inevitably, some aspects of a game must be prioritised in order to allow the simulation to function at all.

Though, even as hardware advances, resources will still have to be metered between various other aspects of the game.So the chances are that, no matter how advanced hardware gets, NPC AI will still likely be committing suicide under horse hooves. At least to some extent.

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