[MUD-Dev] New topic: AI and NPCs

Nathan Yospe yospe at hawaii.edu
Wed Aug 27 08:22:17 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Tue, 26 Aug 1997, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

<snip VERY entertaining D&D campaign>

:The problem we were pointing out was that kobolds, weak as they are,
:have an intelligence rating of 'average' in the Monster Manual. They
:don't charge headlong into combat. They have actual tactics. They
:operate as a group. And they're fiendishly efficient at guarding their
:homes. Which brings me to the actual question, finally.

:Has anyone managed to implement something resembling tactical intellect
:in MUD mobs? I've been thinking about this sort of halfheartedly,
:lately, and considering that this sort of thing isn't often seen. There
:are several very simple tactical maneuvers which appear at first blush
:to be rather easy to implement -- selection of targets, for example. In
:most D&D style games, the creatures should concentrate on removing
:single targets rather than spreading attacks: a wounded creature hits
:just as hard as a healthy one, but a dead one doesn't hit at all. In
:systems where spellcasting can be easily disrupted, such disruption
:should attract at least one creature's efforts. Different methods would
:fit different creatures, such as some who would target the weakest
:creatures first to thin the numbers rapidly and then retreat, while
:others might attack the strongest creatures first in order to simplify
:the extermination of the entire group. 

:There are additional possibilities, like the inclusion of raiding
:parties: groups of creatures that go out and literally attack and
:obliterate areas to loot and pillage them. This could actually create
:rudimentary quests, as important families could on occasion attract
:kidnap attempts and have an automatic response of posting a reward. 

:Anyone thought much about this? It *looks* rather simple, but like I
:said I haven't really gone in depth. What sort of efforts have other
:people made in this regard?

Both of the following apply to my GURU engine. Phymud++ has pitifully little
in the way of advanced AI. I'm still working on it...

There are two major arts in war: strategy and tactics. In coloquial english,
they are synonyms. In military jargon, they are extremely different. Tactics
are the art of battle, strategies the art of war. GURU's army conglomerates
are currently testing activation methods (GURU AIs, what few there are, are
considered fully functional PCs by the engine, and get their own region
activation thread...) that simulate strategic organization based on several
algorithms, but the most successful so far has (predictably) been the
simplistic algorithms derived from Sun Tzu. As for tactics... there is no 
way a computer can match a human in tactics, they are by far too situational.
So I don't try. Instead, I mirror player controlled entities into non PCs,
from some remote encounter elsewhere in the world, modifying NPC populations
to match some currently existant PC population, a heartbeat behind. This
gives NPCs a frightening intelligence. (I'm assuming that, by the time this
project is finished, I will have figured out how to handle enough
simultanious users to make this work. Its already distributed, so possibly
links could be garnered from remote servers as well.)


"You? We can't take you," said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian.
"You don't know a thing about guerilla warfare." - Reaper Man,
Nathan F. Yospe  Registered Looney                   by Terry Pratchett
yospe at hawaii.edu   http://www2.hawaii.edu/~yospe           Meow

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