Post news Report article RSS Feed The NPC dance of death: AI behaviour video

Hi everyone, time for another development update – and this time with something a little more exciting to show. This is a demo of the NPC behaviour we’ve put into the game, on display using a debug rendition of the entire suburbs map. It shows the new zombie horde system - pumped up to 11 on the zomboid-ometer for demo purposes.

Posted by Batsphinx on Dec 9th, 2011

It also now shows how zombies (in red) are now completely persistent across the entire map, instead of being virtualised when they got out of range. This will be more taxing on the CPU, butmeans the cell you inhabit will be completely alive with no trickery, and also that fulltile barricades will be able to cordon off safe areas based outdoors.

On top of this zombies will only ever spawn on the edges of the map, while the flocking and wandering behaviours have been altered to provide much more interesting zombie migration and hunting. They’ll now never ever start thumping ata door unless they seen or heard a noise from directly inside, for example. This willkeep door genocide to a minimum, even though with NPCs about those deadheads will often have a perfectly legitimate reason to give those doors a hard time.

NPCs in this video (the white dots) are attempting to survive by grouping together -if their personality suits it. They are also establishing a safehouse, going on looting missions to other houses, eating, bandaging and fighting/fleeing zombies where appropriate. It's difficult to tell what they’re doing a lot of the time from blobs, butthey are a certainly a lot more intelligent now. If you see any odd behaviour then thisis likely either a bug, or a particularly mental NPC (they have stats).

At the moment their fleeing takes no consideration to where their friends are, so when there are a shit-ton of zombies surrounding them, they soon get split up. This coupled with the fact that NPCs try to avoid bringing zombies back to their safehouse does mean that things go a bit mental when the zombie count is high – they can be a little reckless. Then again it does make for more interesting video than a bunch of NPCs hid in a safehouse unseen by zombies for the whole time! Additional work needs adding to their tiny NPC minds too, since they can occasionally forget seeing a hordein a particular place and go back there to forage. Which is somewhat silly.

Oh, and as ever the music is by the awesome Zach Beever. We thought we'd add a couple of the new tracks as a taster of what's to come!

Best to watch on HD to see what's going on clearly.

Post comment Comments
Parker: Dec 10 2011 says:


+5 votes     reply to comment
Gamer_Goo321 Dec 10 2011 says:

This would be awesome with multiplayer :D and also having a map editor

+5 votes     reply to comment
4wheeler Dec 10 2011 says:

will npc's open doors and windows? many npc's have felt the hard end of my hammer due to this

+3 votes     reply to comment
Dr.Goupyl Dec 10 2011 says:

Atom zombie smasher anyone ?^^
That's a nice view for the ai, we can see you did a nice job.

+6 votes     reply to comment
[ZanMgt]Micah Dec 10 2011 says:

Very cool. Got a question, can the maximum zombie count increase over time? Or if there's a lot of noise in this particular region?

To make the late game much more difficult when you got thousands of zombies from every direction.

+4 votes     reply to comment
hagamablabla Dec 10 2011 says:

I saw there was one group of 5, got swarmed by zombies and one guy just ditched them...

+4 votes     reply to comment
Skylar15 Dec 10 2011 replied:

Maybe he had a divorce with his zombie wife and had to get to the court room to get the divorce.

+3 votes     reply to comment
jmcmillan78 Dec 10 2011 says:

What hit me straight away is how much better the NPCs are at standing off against bands of marauding zombies than my little bald-spotted dude is. About 2:20 one guy just runs through a pack of 30-40(?), then stands at the other end offing them as they try to catch up. Red mist, or too many half-bottles of whisky?

+2 votes     reply to comment
QuixoticRocket Dec 12 2011 says:

Reminds me of the zombie infection simulator:

which, in turn, reminds me of Atom Zombie Smasher:

All of which are good things ^_^

+1 vote     reply to comment
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