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


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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