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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Enemy

While playing Fallout 4 the other day and dispatching of several foes with almost disheartening ease, I wondered about games of the future.

Many, if not most, computer games give the player character a number of advantages over the digital foes they must face. Players are inherently smarter than non-player characters (since we're humans with brains and AI isn't here yet), often stronger, faster, nimbler, and better equipped. The bad guys come in greater numbers, and some are more powerful than others. But generally speaking, if you play a computer role playing game long enough, eventually you will run out of foes to conquer.

What if, I wondered, you started a game of Fallout 6 or Elder Scrolls IX or Mass Effect 8 and these games had one or two enemies with the same advantages as a human player?

To use Fallout as an example, what if an enemy started at level one, just as you do, and began his or her own parallel adventure in the game, collecting perks, increasing his or her SPECIAL attributes, collecting loot and building hideouts just as you do? What if that mirror-foe had a personal quest in direct conflict with yours? Or what if, like you, it could choose to be good or evil within the context of the game? What if multiple paths for your enemy were possible? You might might him early in the game, or you might not meet her until the very end. You might discover each other while evenly matched - or not. You might fight to the death on first meeting or declare a truce. Maybe you could even be friends, and take on the wasteland together.

While I suspect gaming AIs aren't up to this task right now, I'll bet this idea or something like it will be implemented sometime in the next decade or so. The possibilities for richer gameplay are tremendous. 

1 comment:

Jeff Shyluk said...

You'd like Alien:Isolation. Next time it's on sale, pick it up.