Thursday, November 06, 2008

On Scourge AI and Widelands


Widelands


A quick one today. Firstly, I forgot to mention Widelands yesterday. A new version, a release candidate for build13, is available for download. The changelog is immense, so it should be large improvement over build12 which, for me, felt a little unpolished. Some of the highlights of build13 are:



  • More stable multiplayer

  • FPS regulation for less CPU usage

  • Improved economy routing

  • Many new sounds

  • Many new graphics and animations especially for the Atlanteans

  • Balancing work for all tribes


Not to harp on too much about Scourge, but I find the recent AI updates fairly fascinating. Developer lordtoran describes the effect of the change to a decision matrix from the crude system that used to be in place before:



Creatures that can't reach a location behave a lot more intelligent now: For example, if a monster can't reach you because you are surrounded by other monsters, it will loiter a bit and then throw a damaging spell or heal someone. When one of your attackers falls, it will engage in melee if there is enough space. I find it quite fascinating how the creatures have a "life of their own" just by using a simple decision matrix.


That sounds better than a lot of commercial game AI - which in general is notoriously bad considering the resources that go into some titles.