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Developer quotes Edit

The essence of it all is that we are looking to give the players a dynamic experience, where the enemies are changing according to your behavior, time of day, amount of players / enemies, your class and whatnot. Getting the AI right is essential in a MMO to make the experience great, and that is what we are implementing.

QJ.NET, 12th November 2007 (Jørgen Tharaldsen) [1]



The need system in Conan AI is loosely based around famous American psychologist Abraham Maslow's pyramid of needs where NPC AI is categorized into several distinct categories – like the need to eat, sleep, survive, fulfill your dreams and so on. Each of the levels of our pyramid contains a steady grow in need, and will need to be fulfilled by the AI. So in the night, the character will grow tired and close up his shop, and might walk home. On his way home he might be attacked, the need to survive will be kicked into high-gear, letting him defend himself. And so on.

We have made this neat AI not to create something we think will revolutionize gaming, making the world "real". I think all such claims are Utopian. We have done this to be able to let the NPCs be a little bit more intelligent than just "quest vendors" or "battle-monkeys" or whatever you will call the behavior of monsters / NPCs in todays MMOs. The NPC’s will approach a player and try to sell stuff, talk to him or interact if appropriate. The NPC’s will have loyalty to their leaders, and various degrees of social abilities.

It is important to note, though, that combat AI is quite a bit more linear. This is because for battles it is most likely more fun to interact with a predictable enemy than someone that seems "random".

ShackNews, 16th June 2006 (Gaute Godager)



One example would be in a village where you will see different behavior based upon the time of the day and also the needs of the person you are encountering. And you'll also see the A.I. working with group behavior. If you are out in the countryside and one wolf is coming along you will probably be spared. But if there's a whole pack of wolf you might be attacked because they will have different behaviors depending on how many there are and also how many players you are with. Hopefully it won't be 100% for real because this is a game. It has to be a parameter of fun. So what is fun and what works will be kept. The player of online rpgs often like to have some hunting grounds, some regions which will be good for that as well. I guess the essence is that it should be to some degree unpredictable, it should be varied, and that is what we are trying to achieve. More than anything it should be fun though!

conan.mmorpgs.info, 2nd April 2006 (Jørgen Tharaldsen)




What we try to do, I mean we developed A.I. for many years with Anarchy Online, is to see what could be done about taking the somewhat unpredictable gaming experience further. I guess you could say that the very foundation of the Maslow hierarchy means we are doing something unique as it allows for a more dynamic gameworld, but in the end I think the players will be most pleased about the fact that we are coming with a game where you cant always predict what will happen. Good challenges makes a game more fun, and nothing is more boring than everything simply becoming rinse and repeat of what you are constantly doing.

conan.mmorpgs.info, 2nd April 2006 (Jørgen Tharaldsen)



The foundation of the system has the Maslow pyramid at its foundations, which states that everyone has certain base need they must get fulfilled in order to get a “good” life, or survive if you will (laughs). This psychological background in mind is definitively coming from Gaute, who is educated as a psychologist, and his wish to take AI and dynamic experiences to the next level.

conan.mmorpgs.info, 2nd April 2006 (Jørgen Tharaldsen)



That said, some of our goals for AI and whatnot in AoC will hopefully make the game environment more dyanmic than one is used to in a standard MMORPG. We were very pleased to hear comments coming out of E3 in terms of finding Tortage City to feel a lot more "real" than would be expected. I know our AI people are working very hard to try to create a far more "spontanious" game world.

Forums, 11th August 2005 (Jayde)



We can give every single NPC, dynel, item, puzzle, trap, quest and even playfield its own AI script, and this script can be very simple or very complex. That means that the entire world can be controlled with AI, something that give us the possibility to make a good, dynamic envirorment where nothing really is predictable unless we want it to be!

Forums, 12th August 2005 (Mjoellnir)



On that note, will the animal mobs have some sort of AI to attack lesser animals? Sorta like "Predator X, preys on Animal Y"?

I can't say much about it at this time. But we are working on an AI that do just that..

Forums, 18th August 2005 (Mjoellnir)



Hehe, Gaute promised that you would not have to fight rats. Anyway, we certanly want the world to be alive, and not just filled with static NPC's who go from point A to point B and then back again until they are attacked.

Forums, 18th August 2005 (Mjoellnir)



If I can help it, we will not have static NPC's, other than those who are supposed to stand in a certain area. I don't want to go into more details than I have in some of the other posts, but when we design and script the behavior of animals we try to see how they act in real. A migrating system is interesting and not impossible to implement, so I'll keep it in mind.

Forums, 25th August 2005 (Mjoellnir)



Our AI/scripting tools are made on site, and I'm not sure how detailed I can tell you about them. But basicly we have the scriptingtool and we have the braintool.

In the scripting tool, I make both simple and more complexed behaviorscripts.. Say one script for what the NPC will do when he is hungry, and one for when he is lonely and want some company.

In the braintool, I set up what the NPC should use as a default script, and what scripts he should use when he get hungry or lonely. And then I define the emotion values that decide when what script should run.

Emotions may also be triggered by the main scripting tool trough events happening in the world. If a NPC is afraid of say, magic, he may run away when someone cast something. The AI can reside in any dynamic object and also be a part of the playfield. As for toning down the AI.. well we'll see how badly the NPC's hit you in Beta. I don't think I can be more presice now.

Forums, 20th September 2005 (Mjoellnir)



I want to say though, that we will do our best to make a unique AI for this game. It is a lot of work, but with an additional AI designer, we should be able to make it.

Forums, 21st September 2005 (Mjoellnir)



With the need based system we are working on now, we can give all NPC's their own mind.. meaning they will be hungry, thirsty, sleepy etc and act accordingly to their emotions and needs. Some NPC's will avoid conflict, others will warn you not to come closer while others again will attack on sight. We are trying to make this as good looking as possible rather than having static NPC's who are just looking at you until you get close enough to fight.

Forums, 14th October 2005 (Mjoellnir)

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