-Artificial Intelligence Programmer
Are you basing the AI for the dinosaurs on any particular animal?
Not a particular animal, more a synthesis of animal hood. I’m borrowing from quite a few dif-ferent animals, looking at the way they move and express their intentions/feelings. A preda-tory stare, a curiously cocked head, a defensive jump backward, angry tail lashing, a dismis-sive snort. The dinosaurs should be more expressive than your average house pet- these are somehow more than real creatures, and you have (albeit unintentionally) invaded their world. They are a goodly portion of you interaction with this Lost World, and you should be able to empathize with them somewhat even as you try desperately to stay alive.
How many different dinosaurs are there? Do they all have similar AI, or is it completely different for each?
As many as we have time for! Each AI is a composite of its behaviours, so they will all share many attributes. The basics are pretty much the same: go to stuff you like/hate/hunger for, flee from stuff you fear. However, what each dinosaur fears and what it eats or hates varies from species to species- in some cases from individual to individual. Also, some characteris-tic traits will appear or vanish from certain species. The raptors might lash their tails and make their hunting crooning sounds before they pounce from hiding, where the T-rex doesn’t know about this subtle nonsense, and will just charge in, roaring.
So yes, they are similar. But they are different enough that you can recognize the distinc-tions.
Do the dinosaurs attack, or must they be provoked first?
That depends. A hungry T-rex or raptor will probably attack you on sight. A less hungry one may not. A placid triceratops will probably ignore you. But if you piss him off, he’ll try to run you down.
Do the dinosaurs have “eyes”? “ears”?
Yes. There is a fine balance here- a true vision system or sound system is a lot of work and computer cycles. Luckily, we can fake it really well. A dinosaur can’t see you until it’s head is pointed in the right general direction, and it doesn’t necessarily know what causes a particu-lar sound. So if you make some noise, the raptor will glance over at the sound. You’d better be ready when it sees you. I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to see this behaviour first hand- hazardous to your health, and it doesn’t take long for a raptor to glance over its shoul-der.
Do the dinosaurs have prior knowledge of the terrain? IE: if you run away, can they get lost? Find a shortcut?
Some do, some don’t. In general, raptors are the smart ones and most likely to follow you through tricky terrain. If you get far enough away, even raptors will give up the chase.
Do the dinosaurs have any particular objectives?
Not usually. For the most part, they just want some food and to be left alone.
If left alone, what will they do?
In theory, live their lives. Eat plants, eat each other. I can’t claim that the Trespasser island is a balanced ecosystem, and we don’t have the spare cycles to keep running dinosaurs when you aren’t around to see them. But if you manage to sneak up on a dinosaur or two, you’ll see them wandering about and eating and drinking and hunting and running from each other, just as if mankind had never been around.
How functional an environment is Trespasser?
Like I said, it’s not a balanced ecosystem. We don’t have the complexity of a real ecosystem in our game, and a simple ecosystem is a fragile thing. If we activated every dinosaur on the island and left them that way, eventually the herbivores would all be eaten, and then the car-nivores would get hungry and eat each other, and finally the last ones left would get really hungry and really cranky. Luckily, that won’t happen. We can maintain an interesting envi-ronment in the area around the player, filled with dinosaurs happily living their lives.
Are there varied levels of intelligence among dinosaurs?
Absolutely. In the Jurassic Park world, Raptors are the smart ones.
Is it possible to make a dinosaur angry?
Yup. You can even anger it into making decisions that it wouldn’t ordinarily make.
How do you think the AI in Trespasser compares to other games?
That’s a tough question. Our AI focuses on simulating animal behaviour and expressing emo-tions, so I think you’ll find a lot more depth to the Trespasser animals. They attack. They run away. They eat. They react to their environment. Trespasser doesn’t do anything that makes it’s AI’s seem smarter than other games, just more real.
They don’t want to kill you. They simply want to survive. Just like you.