Game developers employ AI for more adaptive play

Programmers reveal how they can code enemies to be smarter in games like 'Crysis' and 'Hitman'

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  Personal Tech

Instead of charging directly at the player in the craggy martian landscape, as they might do normally, the aliens zigzag to take cover behind boulders and outcrops of rock, adjusting their approach as the hero opts for a less conspicuous route to his destination. The player changes his route again, and the aliens adapt their movements accordingly.Situations like this are becoming more common in video games as the product of a technique known as situational, or tactical, awareness. The concept is rooted in military tactics, but programmers schooled in artificial intelligence (AI) have started incorporating it into games to make enemies and other characters seem smarter. Situational awareness can play a big role in games that take place in immersive, "sandbox" environments, in which the objectives and challenges are not pre-set but rather determined by the player as he or she moves through the game. But situational awareness can be useful in any game that seeks to include intelligent beings in its cast of characters. 

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