We haven’t discussed game AI very much. Then again, as we all know, it tends to lack something: intelligence. For the most part, AI could usually be thought of as “Artifical Idiocy”.

Over at Gamers With Jobs, there’s a preview of Bioshock, which is fascinating in itself. What especially caught my attention, though, is a squib part way down of an encounter/shootout in a bar.

As the piece remarks, it’s an amazingly complex, ever-changing situation, and not scripted at all. Everyone involved is acting and reacting to the changing environment from second to second.

That description is how, I think, we envision AI should work in an RPG, or even, like Bioshock, a shooter (of sorts). We do get tired of the inevitable “fight to the death”, with the occasional “duck around the corner” stuff.

I particularly liked the part where the “Splicer” (a crazed uber-warrior type) gets on fire, runs out, jumps in a pool to “cool off”, heals up, and comes back for more. In most games, he’d probably stand there like an idiot and burn to death.

Decent AI has been one of the holy Grails of programming, and it may be that Bioshock will be a big step towards that goal. Of course, we’ll have to wait for the finished product to see how well it holds up over the entire game. But it does look a bit hopeful.

Bioshock preview at Gamers With Jobs