Post news RSS Artificial Intelligence in UETF - Directors with personality

Casting cyberspace AI directors as the villains in UETF; Building a system to give each AI director a unique personality, army and tactics; Creating diverse situations for different characters to excel in.

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We have wanted to add villains in UETF for a long time now. Originally, we experimented with adding 'boss' Wrath bots; the idea was discarded because it didn't add that much variety to the UETF experience - each boss ended up feeling like a more powerful regular enemy.

Skip forward to the release of Valve's Left4Dead. Ever since I first read about the concept of the AI director in Left 4 Dead, I loved the idea. The AI Director was the perfect fit for a UETF villain. Instead of a physical manifestation, each villain would live in cyberspace as an AI program, each commanding a personal army of deadly robots. We wanted each AI to have a unique personality that the player could grow to recognize. Each AI would need to 'play the game' differently, to produce a distinct, recognizable feel for the players.

To support this, we created a director framework to support the following customizations:
* Different Army Configurations - each AI would have a custom army composition, including unique units.
* Special Tactics - AIs could favor specific special tactics, such as deploying officers, setting up ambushes, "swarming" the enemy or preventing a resupply
* Unit Upgrades - An AI could favor a specific upgrade to their units, such as extra speed boosts, stealth gear or energy shielding
* Unit Personality - An AI could instruct their units to be extra aggressive or overly cautious

Currently we are naming each AI after an ancient god. An example of one of our current test programs is 'Hermes'. Hermes uses an army of assault bots with extra speed, prefers swarming the enemy with extra enemies, and uses extra-aggressive short range tactics. Contrast this to 'Artemis', who uses an army of sniper and rocket bots, prefers to utilize assassination squads to take out important targets, and uses less-aggressive long range tactics. Each game session will rotate through multiple AIs, encouraging players to adjust their strategies on the fly, making each session different from the last.

It all works to support the goal of encouraging players to build different characters that excel in diverse situations. Players will need to understand the strength and weakness of each AI; the strategy that works well against Hermes won't be successful against Artemis. To be effective, you will need to adjust your perks, your weapon customizations and your team tactics, creating the opportunity for each player to create their own unique strategy to defeat the directors.

'UETF Chronicles: The player-defined shooter.'

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