MMORPG Seed’s devs want their AI NPCs to learn from, simulate, and fool actual players

    
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We’ve been keeping an eye on MMO colony sim Seed – the SpatialOS one, not this one – for a few years now, in no small part because of its approach to AI and simulation. Indeed, studio Klang Games has this week published a piece by author and blogger Wagner James Au that discusses the future of AI and MMOs, with pertinent quotes from Klang devs. If you thought it was cool when people could kidnap your offline toons in some sandbox MMOs, you’re gonna love this.

“The simulation is continuous, and even when the player is offline their characters should go about their day-to-day lives, they should respond to threats, make friends, be human,” lead designer Ívar Emilsson says. “We aren’t trying to figure out the best solution to a problem (the goal of machine learning), but rather simulating human behavior. The choices our characters take don’t need to be perfect, in fact, when they’re too perfect they feel unnatural and robotic.” The idea is that via machine learning, NPCs will be able to record and pick up on player behavior and do what you’d do, ultimately becoming “difficult to distinguish from actual players.”

From there, the piece gets a bit more speculative about AI and consciousness, but I suspect the commentary on how “believability” is more about how the NPCs act than about how realistic their hair follicles textures are will resonate with MMO players:

“At a certain point you can only pile so many polys into the screen. As Minecraft proved, consumers care less about how high-res the world looks versus how believably real it feels. And now we finally have the tech to truly kick believability up a notch.”

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Jersey

Hmm, I can think of many weird and awkward results of your characters going about their business while you’re offline… I’ll just boil it all down to this: when you log on, the first thing you should do is ask your character what he or she did last night ;)

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Robert Mann

In before they end up with a bunch of AI making phallic buildings constantly…

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aleccia_rosewater

So are the NPCs going to buy the microtransactions as well?

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I’m still following this one as one of the most promising games to come sometime in the future. Not sure how many years would take to do all that they want to though. I’m still cautiously optimistic about it.

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Mia DeSanzo

I have been curious about this game for a while, but I think we’ve seen these kinds of claims before.

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Rheem Octuris

My only concern is how long until the AI just do nothing but post racist things on Reddit?

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silverlock

I don’t want NPC’s that act like players I just want someone rational to play with/against now that would make games fun again.

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Randy Savage

Do you want to Skynet? Because this is how you Skynet.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Developers have been trying to do this for decades and none have succeeded.

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

They can make the AI as realistic as they like but if the end result is that if players feel either disadvantaged or disconnected it’s not going to matter. For an academic or an art project it’s a very interesting idea but for a game, maybe not so much.