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Adaptive NPCs

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Adaptive NPCs

PostAuthor: Mistcaller » Thu Jun 19, 2003 4:27 pm

Ok. First I must say, this has to do mainly with my personal research for my PhD which lies in the fields of computational intelligence.

I have a feeling it would be easy to add adaptability in NPCs using some simple computational algorithms (i.e. make them learn their opponents and pick the best strategy) but at this point I would like your help.

What do you think should be the inputs of the system? In other words, what an NPC can sense in his environment or on his opponent that could help him improve his performance?

the Race for example? the Sex? Armor type? What else could you think of?? They all should be variables of NWN scripting of course...
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PostAuthor: Dirk Cutlass » Thu Jun 19, 2003 5:17 pm

You asked for opinions ... don't bother!

Sorry Mistcaller, but while fine in theory to do this sort of thing, and really cool from a computer AI point of view, I just doubt if any algorithm would be efficient enough to run a multi-player game like NWN. Much better for a human scripter to use his/her intelligence into thinking up and coding strategies than to get a real computer AI to do it.

If you want adaptability, then parameterise the existing AI, and let a human tweak them occasionally (like once a week or soemthing) to adapt to new player strategies. No way is a computer AI going to adapt to a player quick enough / efficiently enough.

Well, that's my 2p worth... (and I've been hopelessly in love with computer AI for over 15 years, and still haven't managed to make any AI worth while :( ).

[Edit: just re-read your post. If this is just for research purposes, then it is lots of potential .. just not for a game. Sorry, didn't mean to sound gloomy :) ]
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PostAuthor: Dirk Cutlass » Thu Jun 19, 2003 5:24 pm

Further to my other (gloomy) post if you want to try something really cool with the AI, then leave the combat / moving around side for now - the existing scripts manage that fairly well. Try and produce an NPC that can really respond "verbally" rather than using the conversation dialogue.

There are simple AI programs that simply parse a text sentence for key words and come up with almost real sounding responses - they even fool you for a bit! I think there is one called Elisa or something.

It would be really cool to watch folk go up to the NPC thinking it was a PC and have a conversation - I wonder how far they would get before they would realise. :wink:
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PostAuthor: Papillon » Thu Jun 19, 2003 6:41 pm

You might be interested in "Shadow door":

http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~rob/sof ... adow-door/

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PostAuthor: Mistcaller » Thu Jun 19, 2003 7:45 pm

Thanks both for your help and contribution. Perhaps something good will come out of this... :)

@ Pap: This 'shadow door' seems to be an excellent tool for me.

@ Dirk: Initially, I was thinking of an NPC wizard who must choose between defensive and offensive tactics according to the opponent's characteristics. Reinforcement learning is a good method for this. The speech recognition is something really hard to be realized due to the infinite sentences a human can produce... Perhaps an algorithm for prediction might be also a good idea. *thinks of the possibilities and smiles*

Of course I have not tested all these in the NWN environment yet, but I'm eager to do so. And as you correctly stated: All seem fine in theory...

We will see...Thanks again! :)
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