Artificial Intelligence. The golden dream of both game designers trying to make the next Killer App
, and megalomaniacs attempting to build a viable Robot Army to Take Over the World
Artificial Brilliance is, quite simply, the ability of the computer characters to make the player think "Hey, these guys are actually pretty smart!" It occurs when the A.I.'s freeform actions, based on real-time decisions, result in behavior that seems, frankly, brilliant. It can be anything from an enemy that manages to outwit and outmanuever the player on the player's own terms and by the player's own rules, to an NPC ally
who manages to assist and even save the player in ways that are unexpectedly helpful and seemingly smart. Just being able to react quickly and enter button combinations flawlessly doesn't count, computers are naturally good at that
; in fact, toning down a computer player's inhuman speed can be a facet of Artificial Brilliance.
The polar opposite of Artificial Stupidity
, when the A.I. makes unbelievably bad decisions that make the player think it's a complete moron. That doesn't mean Artificial Brilliance and Artificial Stupidity
can't overlap, however. No A.I. is perfect, and glaring imperfections and mistakes can be all the more obvious in a game with A.I. that is generally impressively smart.
Of course, it's a balancing act between an AI that is bad at the game and an AI that is too good at the game. The trick is allowing the AI to make human-like mistakes while also allowing it to have human-like brilliance. After all, in a first person shooter, the AI isn't really playing the game in the same way a human does. They don't actually have a mouse/keyboard to manipulate or have to watch a monitor. Thus it's an easy task to make an AI that always knows where you are and can hit you perfectly; it's not so easy to make an AI that can act like it doesn't know where you are and can act like it has reflexes. And as some of the examples below note (see the Half-Life example about greatest threat), sometimes being smart makes it dumb.
Some games avert the issue by explicitly making the computer play a completely different game thus negating the need for the AI to present the illusion of competence equal to the player. For more discussion on AI's, see Video Game AI
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- The Legend of Zelda enemies are generally not known for their intelligence. An exception is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess's Darknuts, who will absolutely murder you, especially when they fight in groups. A Darknut with its armor removed is smart enough to hang back behind the fully armored Darknuts, darting in and out to attack. Have fun fighting four at once in the Bonus Dungeon.
- Computers have gotten really, really good at chess.
- They haven't gotten quite as good at Go, but the average beginner will still lose most or all of their first 50 games against it.
- Older Yu-Gi-Oh! games relied on psychic AI and other gimmicks to provide any difficulty, as otherwise the AI was very poor. In Stardust Accelerator and ''Reverse of Arcadia", however, the AI actually takes time to consider the possibility of every possible move and the consequences in order to decide the best action. The AI will take note of things such as what cards will provide better advantage, whether they can subvert the Tribute process for certain cards and monsters, and which ways they can take control of the situation, to name a few.
- For Wizard of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering video game Duel of the Planeswalkers the programmers had a very difficult task in programming an AI that could deal with all the rule-changing cards of the game itself (and there are possibly more of them than in any other card game because of Magic's "Golden Rule", which states that the text of a card takes priority over the rest of the rules). Seemingly they succeeded.
- This refers mostly to the second game by that name and publisher. While the first game's AI was a remarkable achievement for its time, there was no way to provide it with hints on how to play specific decks, rendering a number of monsters crippled in the single-player game (their difficulty was instead balanced though life handicapping and chance of A.I. Roulette). (It also tended to cast any playable spell as soon as possible, and assume you have no castable spells, a greater weakness given the longer games 5th Edition tended towards.)
- Poker Night at the Inventory uses an AI system that not only considers each character's hand, but also factors this in with each character's unique personality and abilities. Thus Tycho and the Heavy will play cautiously and strategically, Strong Bad will usually attempt an overconfident bluff, and Max will play erratically to reflect his short attention span and poor grasp on the rules of the game (and possibly use his future vision power to cheat. Yes, this game even applies that trope in a justified manner.)
- Many fans of Super Smash Bros. Brawl have argued that the level 9 AI is capable of learning from human players. Players often point to examples of a certain characters' AI altering their recovery strategy after a human player has repeatedly used this character. Though this has been proven falsenote but the rumor still persists.
- The stock AI can also be replaced with more effective AI. Among various projects, one Japanese hacker is working on an Ice Climber AI that never messes up its chaingrab infinites, something that is possible for humans—ie. not a true example of cheating AI—but difficult.
- Crazy Hand in Melee used the downward vertical punch when the player is hanging onto the edge of the stage. The effect is identical to stomping on somebody's hand.
- The adaptive AI may be becoming somewhat of an Ascended Fanon with Super Smash Bros. U as Amiibo figures of the characters will learn when you and other players fight against them in-game. This (in theory) can eventually lead to the figures beating you more often.
- A similar rumor exists for Samurai Shodown 5. The AI on higher difficulties will alter tactics in response to the player.
- Sonic Battle: If you just spam a special attack to beat an opponent and they respawn, they'll change the special moves they use- since each player is granted immunity to the type of special attack they aren't using to attack, spamming one type of attack will lead the opponent to swap specials to defend against yours. This also runs in reverse, with the computers changing their specials to get by your immunity.
- The AI in Fate/unlimited codes tends to come in two flavors: dumber than a rock, and smart as a human. On harder settings, the difficulty in fighting the computer lies in how they use human tactics, particularly mixups leading into absurdly long (but entirely possible to emulate) combos. This is especially true with Archer, who uses his Unlimited Blade Works chants as cancels to continue his combos. On higher difficulties, expect Archer to get in two separate combos each time he attacks with more than one magic bar.
- Captain Cadaver, a boss in Maximo seems to be just another circular-arena projectile-flinger, but unlike most bosses, he actually calculates where you will be by the time the shot reaches you by measuring how fast you're running. Instead of running in circles like most games, you now must run away in strategic patterns. How unexpected!
- It's used in the later Tekken games : use a move too often, and the AI will learn how to counter it and punish you. It especially shows on higher difficulties.
- On harder difficulty levels, the AI in Street Fighter will use strategies that top players use. For example, AI Seth will mimic Poongko, a top Korean player by doing things such as ticking into Seth's command throw. This has been started in Street Fighter 4.
First Person Shooter
- The first fan-made "bots" for Quake were a major leap in terms of A.I., being able to imitate the movements and behavior of a player-like character (as opposed to the simplistic "move in a straight line and shoot" enemies of the time).
- Unreal was the first FPS game to use "bot-like" A.I. for its single player enemies, leading to the creation of the memorable Skaarj, a video game adversary that could dodge and strafe while firing, jump from platform to platform, intelligently pursue the player throughout the entire level, and otherwise move and behave just like the player character instead of (as was the norm at the time) a simple turret-like enemy wandering aimlessly in semi-random directions while periodically pausing to fire at the player's direction.
- Skaarj would sometimes even retreat, only to lead you into an ambush if you gave chase.
- Half-Life is famous for introducing the first "tactically intelligent" A.I. enemies in the form of the HECU Marines. These soldiers operated in squads, provided each other with covering fire, would toss grenades to flush out or kill the player character, and would navigate between obstacles and circle through the level in an attempt to outmanuever the player instead of simply charging suicidally at him in a straight line.
- Brought Up to Eleven in it's remake Black Mesa. The soldiers are a nightmare to fight, using cover, flanking, and covering fire. Each squad also has a medic, kill him quickly.
- The A.I. of the Combine soldiers in Half-Life 2 has been widely criticized for being rather average, uninteresting, and easy to kill. In fact, the Combine A.I. are actually quite impressive, demonstrating such feats as moving in squads, "slicing the pie" around corners, using cover intelligently based on their relative position to the enemy, stacking up, providing and advancing under covering fire, flanking, and using pincer attacks. Unfortunately, they're not really as mobile as they could be, and the tight, linear corridor level design never really gives them a good chance to show off their moves (that, and the fact they die like lemmings because Gordon Freeman is a human tank that can outrun a car). This youtube video gives a pretty good representation of the actual capacity of the game's A.I.
- Valve specifically searched the Quake Mod community (mentioned above) to see who was designing the best bot AI, and hired them.
- Also, even in the linear setting of most of Half-Life 2 the AI does sometimes pull off something clever. Like those horrible times you're cowering from the hail of SMG and pulse rounds, only to see the red streak from that little light on the top of a grenade arc towards you...
- Also, the Combine gunship, which were programmed to shoot at "the greatest threat". It exceeded the dev team's expectations by shooting down incoming missiles, rather than at the player.
- Leading to the sad case of Artificial Stupidity in which they would never fire at the player as long as a (smarter AND faster) missile was in the air. Any number of gunships could easily be defeated at no risk as long as the player could keep a missile flying in circles until it could hit one from behind, then launch another or find cover immediately. Partially averted on higher difficulty levels; when you're up against a duo of Gunships, each of which requires more than half-a-dozen hits to take down, and they keep shooting down your rockets, it gives the enemies on the ground ample opportunity to ruin your day.
- Raven Software is well known for pioneering the use of friendly NPC A.I. squads in FPS games, beginning in Star Trek: Elite Force and continuing on in Soldier of Fortune 2 and Quake IV. Their games often feature friendly A.I. squads of several NPCs who can follow the player throughout a level and also of holding their own in firefights against waves of enemy NPCs. They make generous use of Gameplay Ally Immortality to avert the frustration that made Daikatana the smoldering pile of ruin it is remembered as.
- The friendly A.I.'s ability to follow the player in most Raven games without getting lost or stuck is usually due to the use of strictly linear No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom levels, but it's still impressive given the time it was made.
- F.E.A.R. was widely praised for the A.I. of its Replica Soldiers, touted as the best enemy A.I. ever at the time of its release. Enemies would work in squads, provide covering fire for each other, advance under covering fire, fire from behind cover intelligently, and use cover to flank and circle around the player instead of charging straight for him and making themselves an open target in the process. The A.I. also had extremely high mobility allowing it to exploit the battlefield instead of limiting itself to a single small area, and could also dive through windows, vault over objects, and crawl under obstacles, allowing it to access every area of the level the player could.
- The F.E.A.R. A.I. is actually a good example of emergent behavior, which is programmer-speak for "we didn't program it specifically to do that, but for some random reason it does it anyway, and it's really, really cool that it does!". More accurately, complex behavior stemming from simple rules. Specifically, the A.I. is programmed for a limited number of simple behaviors: moving in coordinated squads, providing covering fire, seeking cover, and repositioning itself based on the player's movement and position. The A.I. isn't actually programmed to flank or circle behind the player, but its tendency to seek cover and reposition itself based on the player's movements results in flanking and circling behaviors occurring naturally without "conscious" effort on the A.I.'s part (mostly due to the A.I.'s high mobility combined with its preference for seeking lateral cover rather than charging the player directly).
- The level design. The levels were designed to help facilitate the AI in action. You will find that there's generally two ways to get to any position thus always allowing the AI to find a path. This also gives the player the impression that levels are bigger than they are so it was a win-win.
- FEAR 2 keeps up the tradition. Set an enemy on fire and don't kill them? Instead of going the normal route of flailing around before burning to death, they'll actually stop drop and roll to put the fire out.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl features a complex Artificial Life ecosystem featuring both wildlife and human NPCs. It has an entire ecosystem of monsters that live in packs, defend their territory, and migrate from area to area. It also features humans that live out their own lives independent of the player's actions; exploring, traveling from map to map, resting at friendly camps between forays through hostile territory, scavenging loot, and getting into fights with the Zone's other inhabitants. Tactically, the combat AI is pretty damn good, too: enemies flank, use cover, retreat, dodge behind and through obstacles and buildings, and are pretty good at navigating the game's wide-open levels. Its Achilles' Heel is its inability to recognize environmental hazards such as anomalies or campfires. If the press on the pre-release preview versions is to be believed, the AI was even perfectly capable of beating the game itself.
Naturally, with the series having the modding community that it has, there are several mods that restore this astounding AI, and in some cases, refine it so that it achieves feats like enemy stalkers shutting off their flashlights and walking back-to-back if they suspect they're being targeted. As one might expect from this description, playing the game with those mods installed is a masochist's wet dream.
- The enemy AI for the Legendary difficulty level in the Halo games is notoriously brutal, but still holds back in order to provide a reasonably playable game. One of the easter-egg Skulls in Halo 2 (named "Whuppopotamus" in the game files) corrects this, allowing enemies to discern the wibbly outline of a cloaked foe, hear guns reloading, and generally behave as though they were capable human players. Meep.
- Exacerbated by the Artificial Stupidity of the friendly AI.
- Halo: Reach's Legendary veered into The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, with things like Covenant turrets firing faster and with more range and accuracy than the player can when on them, and enemies that track and home in on the player the second he sticks his nose out, especially when the shields are down.
- With some recent patches and updates in Left 4 Dead, the special infected have become a little smarter when it comes to attacking the survivors and dealing with fire. Boomers and Hunters will usually wait around a corner and then strike once someone is in their range. If a survivor is close enough, the Boomer and Hunter will usually attack by slashing rather than vomit or pounce them. Tanks are also smarter when it comes to fire; if there is a way around the fire, the Tank will usually go around the inferno.
- Left 4 Dead 2 upgrades the Tank's intelligence. In the first game, if the Tank knocks someone down, it would stand over the survivor and pound them while the other guys blasted it to death. The sequel now changes the Tank's behavior where after it knocks down someone, it will usually ignore the downed survivor and run after the other survivors, just like what someone would do if they controlled the Tank in VS mode. All the other special infected have also smartened up where now they will tag team you if given the chance. Additionally, if a player throws a molotov, hunter bots will light themselves on fire intentionally, then pounce, dealing extra damage; and smoker bots will try to drag players through the flames.
- Jockey AI is also frighteningly intelligent when it comes to forcing survivors through a hazard. Is there a Spitter acid nearby? The Jockey will actively try to steer you into it (and ditto for any fires started by survivors). Is there a Witch nearby? The Jockey will gleefully steer you into her for a one hit knockdown.
- Turok 2: Seeds of Evil had the Endtrail enemy, which use cover whenever possible, move around to make itself harder to target, chase you a bit and use hit & run tactics. The other enemies of the game weren't so bright, however.
- The AI for the offline mode for Team Fortress 2 has its periods of fail from time to time, but at least it knows that when on defense, spam Soldiers and Demomen.
- The Bot AI has gotten remarkably better in recent months. Engineers will check suspicious behavior around their buildings, and snipers will now be smart enough to back off while firing their SMG instead of charging enemies. If spies are spotted, expect a thorough round of spychecking from the bots. Medics will also wait until their patient is incurring damage to engage an ubercharge, and scouts will know to use their pistols to take out sentry guns outside their effective range. Bot Pyros are also quite good with using the airblast secondary attack on their flamethrowers to clear points and reflect projectiles.
- Valve even went out of their way to avert The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard by doing such things as giving the bots a virtual "mouse". This prevents them from autocentering their view and forces them to manually aim their shots the same way a player would.
- Say what you will about Mann Vs. Machine mode, one thing that almost everyone can admit is that those robot Spies are good. They can spawn in non-standard areas, move remarkably similar to players, and, once discovered, will fight tooth and nail until it sees a chance to get away. Made worse by them having reflexes you could only dream about.
- Let a wave of bots too close to your spawn in Mann Vs. Machine will also result in you being spawn camped just as if you were facing human opponents.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando was notable for having exceedingly good party AI. If you told one to take up a sniping position, they would get there unless there was a positively absurd amount of stuff in their way and no intermediate cover, and would last quite long in such a position without assistance. If you got shot down (which at times happened frequently), your team would either cover each other as they attempted to heal you, or set up a proper defense and wait out the threat depending on your orders.
- The AI was massively improved in Halo: Reach. Apparently, they were programmed to behave like real players. When a grenade falls near them, they will engage Armor Lock if they have it. They'll take cover, dive away from bullets, and play like you would.
- Of course, the friendly AI in the same game completely avert this trope and go straight into Artificial Stupidity. Kat (one of the members of Noble Team) has become somewhat of a joke to fans, due to her horrible driving as seen in this youtube video.
- The Stalker from Dead Space 2 is designed to behave similarly to the velociraptors from Jurassic Park, meaning they will attempt to flank the player while another peeks around cover within your field of view in order to distract you. They can be very effective.
- The first time you play BioShock you will be amazed at how eerily realistic the splicers act.
- In one example, if you set a splicer on fire and there is a pool of water nearby, they will jump into the water to put it out. They will also break off combat in order to go use a healing station if one is in the area, just as the player no doubt does. Of course, if you anticipate these behaviors, you can exploit them to lead the splicers into traps.
- Crysis and Crysis 2 may have their occasional hiccups, but the enemy AI in both games shows impressive levels of intelligence. Enemies will suppress you and flank your position, call in re-enforcements and sweep the area for you if you try to hide. In Crysis 2, a highly alert enemy will notice a cloaked player if they are close enough (though by then, it is typically too late) and they will throw grenades at your last known position, or where they think you may have gone. Enemy troops will even track what direction you're going in; if you run toward cover while the enemy can see you, cloak, and then change direction, the enemy will continue firing along your original path and try to suppress the general area it thinks you were running toward.
- Command & Conquer: Renegade does not have the most stellar AI for most of the normal troops you fight. However, stealth troopers have actually been observed stalking the player and ambushing when you least expect it. Also, Nod troops who do not have any other valid targets in sight will immediately shift their attention to any abandoned but operational GDI vehicles they can find to deny them to the player.
- Perfect Dark Zero's enemy AI, despite being a first-generation 360 title, is quite smart on Perfect and Dark Agent difficulties, with enemies constantly dodging and strafing, relentlessly pursuing and flanking the player in groups, hitting and running, and laying suppressing fire while moving in for the kill.
Flight Simulation Game
- While Ace Combat's AI isn't known to be the smartest, more recent games have demonstrated better AI abilities, such as better response from teammates to orders (Pixy, for example, behaves much better than the rest of Wardog Squadron combined, to say nothing of Shamrock). A very good example of better enemy AI is in Zero, where Ace Pilot squadrons that come in several missions will constantly flank you and keep your wingman busy while they move in for the kill. They move so well-coordinated that one reviewer notes that "They put the Yellow Squadron (of Ace Combat 04) to shame." Notably, the Ace squadrons almost always outnumber you 2 to 1, and they use their numbers to their advantage. One plane might act as bait while another tries to shoot you down, and in particularly annoying furballs, three planes will come after you while the fourth keeps your wingman busy. The one squadron that doesn't outnumber you (Gelb, which only has two planes, as do you) is in vastly superior planes to what you're normally flying at that point in the game.
- Galactic Civilizations is known for this. See especially this After Action Report, which goes so far as to cause Artificial Fridge Brilliance. In the mid-to-end-game, the player was up against an alliance of a warmonger, a diplomat and an average race. The warmonger could have crushed him easily, but didn't. In fact, he even used his massive empire's voting power to punch through a galactic motion for peace against all three other races. The reason for this uncharacteristic behaviour: If the player had been defeated, it would have instantly resulted in an Alliance Victory, meaning a victory primary for the diplomat race that engineered the alliance. The goal of the warmonger faction was to keep the player alive until it was strong enough to break from the alliance and conquer both of its former partners at once - and the diplomat even anticipated this betrayal and built up his forces explicitly to be strong against his own ally. At which point the player happened to play "lucky third party" by achieving a Technological Victory.
- And if Word of God is to be believed, this is another one of those things where the AI was never intended to do anything even close to what happened.
- Back in the first Galciv, one of the people who wrote the A.I. was repeatedly curbstomped by his own creation.
- It's telling that the "Normal" difficulty setting has the AI's economy working at reduced power, with the mechanically equal setting known as "Tough".
- Galciv's spiritual predecessor, Master of Orion, also has some very clever AI. The Impossible difficulty really earns its name.
- Sword of the Stars AI can recognise your weapon loadouts and adapt by using the appropriate counters.
- The battle AI leaves something to be desired, though. Enemy ships armed with only ballistic and missile weapons will keep hammering away at your deflectors, which cover only the front of your ship, even though they have no chance at penetrating the shield, instead of flanking. Ditto for energy-armed enemies against disruptors. In fact, the battles boil down to "get close to the enemy and keep firing until either side is dead". Retreat is not an option, unless the ship in question is not a strict military vessel.
- The AI will also never explicitly target your ships' turrets or specific sections. It'll fire at whatever's closest. This gives the player doing this an advantage.
- X-Universe series:
- Rapid-response fleets in X3: Albion Prelude jump around the universe on their own to respond to threats to their faction. They'll also emergency jump out on their own if they take too much damage.
- The upcoming seventh game, X Rebirth, completely redesigns the pathfinding algorithms to avoid what X fans fondly refer to as the auto-pillock. Ships now look further ahead along their path and plot an actual course around obstacles rather than (in previous games) checking for collision, turning slightly and moving, turning back towards the destination, and repeating until they get around the obstacle (which causes them to go absolutely nuts around large obstacles, especially moving ones like capital ships). See it in this video from the devs.
- Most recently, IBM took another shot at human vs. computer, with Watson starring on Jeopardy!. The machine can answer the questions almost as well as a good human player, and (more importantly) its perfect timing on the buzzer gives it a nigh-unbeatable advantage. It beat the two highest-ranked human champions by a three-to-one margin.
- In doing so, however, Watson exposed the limits of his brilliance more than once, giving wrong answers that no human would guess.
- In an instantly classic moment, a Final Jeopardy! question in the category of "U.S. Airports" wanted to know the city with two airports, one named after a World War II hero and one named after a World War II battle. The answer was Chicago, but Watson answered with "What is Toronto?????", prompting much hilarity about how apparently Toronto had been annexed with nobody noticing. This was caused by a slight oversight in Watson's programming that intentionally undervalued the category name since the category doesn't always have much to do with finding the answer. Since the clue didn't mention a country, Watson didn't rule Canadian cities out of its answer. In addition, according to the developers it didn't really understand the question (it didn't get the connection between World War II and airports)... so it guessed (as indicated by the five question marks).
- In the "Literary APB" category, the clue wanted to know the person responsible for the murder of Severus Snape — "he'd be easier to find if we could just name him!" Watson didn't know and didn't buzz in. His top three choices were Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, and Voldemort. Watson had very obviously figured out that the answer had something to do with the Harry Potter franchise, but didn't understand that the category was exclusively villains (being unable to make the link that APBs are only issued for criminals), and couldn't catch the allusion to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
- In a practice test, Watson answered that the most popular non-dairy creamer was milk.
- In Shocking Swerve, Watson was defeated shortly thereafter... by a Congressman. Rep. Holt (D-NJ) to be precise.
- The "It's Thinking" advertising for the Dreamcast was all about this (in theory). For a football game the ad would say e.g. "It knows you like to go for it when it's 4th and goal. It's thinking".
- A non-video game example: In the climax of The Two Towers, the enemy Orcs were programed to make the best tactical decisions possible against the tree-folk, but the programmers forgot to put an important piece of intelligence into the AI, causing the virtual actors would start running when no enemy was present in front of them instead of looking around. This resulted in the Orcs looking uncharacteristically pragmatic about their chances in battle.
- Some web apps are getting very clever at interpretation. One person made a Facebook update consisting solely of the phrase "Gorram Reavers", and FB grouped it in with a bunch of friends' comments talking about Firefly.
- Google for something like "that film that runs backwards" or "that film with no babies".
- Or input your search in one language while asking for results in a second language. It'll often come up with results for the translation of the search in the second language, even if you input proper names! For example, searching Japanese pages for "Nintendo" will display results with the kanji and katakana for the company name in bold.
- Google's search algorithms are also capable of cross referencing terms with synonyms and expanding acronyms with some contextual awareness. For example, searching drinking caffeine before bed includes terms like coffee, bed time, and sleep. Searching for say the PlayStation 4's BOM will pull up the bill of materials.
- Pac-Man is perhaps the earliest example of "smart" A.I. in a video game, as each of the four ghosts was programmed with a specific "personality" and navigating/tracking style that allowed them to make decisions on how to pursue the player character, rather than simply moving at random or in a more or less straight line. The aggressive Blinky was programmed to chase Pac-Man, the cunning Pinky was programmed to corner Pac-Man (by heading toward a spot a few steps ahead of him), the wired Inky was programmed to follow Blinky and try to aid, and the scared-witted Clyde was programmed to run away when he got close to Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man made the ghosts move randomly for the first 7 seconds so that players couldn't learn and re-use an optimal path. More here.
- AI behavior in Armored Core isn't the best, granted, but in Silent Line, you are able to train an AI pilot of your own. The AI starts out very stupidly, but as you pilot the AI's assigned mech, the AI starts emulating your combat behavior, both good and bad. With enough practice, the AI would even be able to accurately aim rockets, something that even the best human players have difficulty to do. The AI opponents in the Arena also improve with repeated combat exposure.
- World of Warcraft generally has fairly limited AI opponents with only a handful of abilities. The encounter commonly referred to as Faction Champions in the Argent Coliseum, however, is quite impressive - it's meant to mimic a huge PvP battle, as each enemy has access to most of the spells you'd expect a player of the same class and specialization to use, the healers are quick to remove status effects and heal injured comrades, and the group will often gang up on one player and then switch to a completely different one.
- Guild Wars still does have some obvious flaws with the AI, namely that they'll attack enemies rather than trying to run away from them, and that the heroes often need you to tell them how to use the more complex builds, but the specs they do have, they know how to use. It also helps that if you ping a target, they immediately focus fire whereas all that does to players is say "Attack here".
- Still even some individual behaviours are nice - Herta uses the Ebon Hawk-Stoning combo, the interrupt/domination henchmen are actually really good at interrupting (helps they have godlike reflexes), Minion Master heroes will actually heal their minions if you have them use something like Karei's Healing Circle or Heal Area, etc.
- EVE Online has introduced an AI package called the "Sleeper AI" in March, 2009, which is specifically designed to allow special "Sleeper" NPC ships to combat player ships toe to toe at similar numbers and ship classes. NPC ships with Sleeper AI execute agile maneuvers to avoid turret fire, remotely repair friendly ships that are the most damaged (a practice called "Spider Tanking"), and most importantly, switch targets according to the threat level of each enemy ship at semi-random intervals. The threat level is calculated dynamically based on the target's firepower, total hit points, repairing capabilities and special abilities such as electronic warfare or remote repairing capabilities. The end result is a group of NPC foes that can emulate human behaviors in fleet warfare and blowing up unprepared foes into smithereens, and such foes take a lot more preparation to defeat than mooks without Sleeper AI. Fortunately, the use of Sleeper AI is resource intensive to the server, so regular NPC Pirates("Rats") are still nothing better than pińatas.
- A refined version of Sleeper AI package is currently being used by the Sansha's Nation incursion fleets, and is introduced in the eponymous "Incursion" expansion in Jan. 2011. On top of the features provided by the Sleeper AI, the Sansha's incursion ships are equipped with specialized behavioral rules base on ship classes and roles (stealth bombers targeting larger ships for torpedoes, electronic warfare ships pinning down smaller support ships, battleships focusing fire on single targets, etc). As many regular combat mission runners severely underestimated the competence of Sansha's incursion fleet and ran into them unprepared, the galaxy map with the "Ships Destroyed within 24 Hours" filter lit up like a christmas tree for more than a month, making the developers, and especially the in-house economist, very, very happy.
- And now, all NPCs have "sleeper" AI.
- One of the most notorious puzzles in The 7th Guest is the Microscope puzzle, where you have to face off against Stauf himself in a game of cellular Reversi. It's already hard enough when Stauf goes after the player, and can screw up any move the player pulls off. What makes this maddening is that Stauf's intelligence is tied to your processor speed, so the faster your processor is, the move moves Stauf can predict, and the harder he'll be to defeat. Back in the days of Windows 3.1, this puzzle may yet have been beatable, but on today's quad-core processors, it's essentially impossible.
- This is the reason Puzzle Quest has such a notorious reputation for cheating. As the plot progresses, enemies make fewer and fewer "mistakes" such as leaving potential skull clears on the screen for you to use. Except for the training dummy (which simply doesn't have turns), the computer never misses 4 in a rows and knows how to set them up for optimal follow-ups. Combined with observation bias and some less than perfect playing on the human's part, and it seems to be cheating.
- The AI in Forza Motorsport 4 will adjust their behavior based on how you drive. What this means is that if you drive like it's a demolition derby, they will smash into you just as often as you try to smash into them. Forza 3 and 4 have the "Pressure" system - if you ride on the ass of an AI player, the AI will be pressured into braking later and later in order to try to pull ahead of you. Keep on them long enough, and they will usually eventually miss the braking point entirely and go flying off the track.
- In Mario Kart DS, the AI actually seems to know that if you put a banana peel on the loop-the-loop, Hilarity Ensues.
- Mario Kart 7 upgrades the AI's tactics with items. Now they will usually drag items behind them for a while (shells, banana peels, etc.) before using them so that players can't make them crash with their own items too easily. Should you get in the line of sight of an AI racer? They won't hesitate to use their items on you.
- The AI has improved so much they can even use shortcuts if they have the item needed to access it.
- The AI traffic in Test Drive: Unlimited realistically follows traffic laws, uses turn signals, and has fender-benders.
Real Time Strategy
- AI War Fleet Command, a seemingly innocuous indie 2D space RTS made by a single person. But that doesn't stop the AI from actually understanding flanking tactics, creating distractions for the human player, utilizing hit and run warfare...
- Despite how stupid the AI Bots are in League of Legends, there's some Artificial Brilliance in there, too. Players may not be quite aware that if you try to finish off a retreating champion by a turret, it'll stop shooting at Minions and start firing at you. Bots know this, and if a turret ever starts firing on them, most of the time they start hightailing it out of there. If you blind or silence them, they run. The bots will try to goad you into attacking them when they're next to a turret - and if Shen bot is running over to you while you're attacking a turret, the best thing to do is get out, because he will taunt you and cause the turret to start shooting you instead. They know the rules.
- Ryze, Annie, and Trundle bot go positive. Trundle is able to put his obstacle in the absolute WORST location possible, whereas players will often mess up. Ryze Bot will often harass you with Rune Prison (sometimes right next to a turret), and Annie bot is well aware that her passive gives every fifth spell a stun. You'll notice that she'll sometimes use her Disintegrate to last-hit minions...however there is a visual warning that says her stun is ready. Immediately, she stops last-hitting minions with Disintegrate and starts to go right for you. She even knows the oldest trick in the book when it comes to Annie - saving her stun and using it when she summons Tibbers.
- The bots still suck in the end unless you are a complete dummy. What is more interesting is the behaviour of Quinn's abilities. Her Harrier marks random targets for bonus damage, but is biased to "help" you in combat by marking the "correct" targets. It does a very good job most of the time, marking an enemy champion just as you start moving in their direction. Also, Vault places you closer when you are chasing and farther away when you are trying to escape; it isn't clear how it tells the difference, but it does.
- The AI in the original Supreme Commander and its expansion Forged Alliance is far from perfect, and in fact often actively cripples its own chances of success, but higher levels are excellent at early-game harassment and have nearly perfect base layout and economy management. The true brilliance, however, is that the Adaptive AI will occasionally emulate player tactics it has observed to be effective, and will use them against the player.
- The A.I. in XIII Century was most of the time brutally efficient. If the player divides his forces to attack from two fronts an enemy entrenched in a well fortified position, the A.I. will sometimes wait then charge one of the two groups while the other is too far away to provide support in time. This, in addition to the fact the A.I. always has more and better troops, in addition to usually having an extremely good defensive position, made this game extremely difficult, even on the easiest difficulty setting.
- StarCraft II - Blizzard had originally described the AI in Wings Of Liberty as 'revolutionary', claiming that it would challenge even the best of players. In reality, below insane the AI was easy to counter, and could be easily manipulated. The difficulty was added via allowing the AI to build faster, with less resources, until it got to the point where the Insane AI would simply have full map vision, and hard counter you with a quick timing attack. Cue Heart Of The Swarm: The AI on all difficulties Took a Level in Badass. The ability to specify AI builds (economic focuses, timing attacks, Zerg Rush, etc, was added into the game. Suddenly the AI is planning to expand across a map to starve you of resources, making full tech switches to hard counter your compositions, and generally providing a very good resource for new players to learn to adapt to the game. The Insane difficulty is still cheater (and is labelled as such) but is generally much more challenging an opponent, very capable of elevating newcomers to the level they need to compete on Ladder.
- This is the point of the short roguelike Smart Kobold. Your character's a nigh-indestructible melee-fighting death machine (i.e. a typical late-game player character) with no ranged attacks, so the second you set foot in their caves, they grab all their weaponry, valuables, and babies, and start running (setting traps as they go) into a large room from which they can easily snipe you to death. If you somehow manage to corner one of their mages or archers, there's a good chance he'll snap his wand or bow in half to deprive you of the ranged attack you'll need to win. Furthermore, even when you do get a ranged attack, they'll do their best to stay at maximum range - or in the "blind spot" between the eight directions you can shoot in, like NetHack's unicorns.
Role Playing Game
- In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII you will find yourself frustrated by enemies who chain their attacks such that there's almost no time to dodge, or that rolling to dodge one attack leads to Zack entering recovery frames in time for another to land.
- This is why your party members are useful in Final Fantasy XIII. Synergists remove debuffs and prioritize buffs that are more effective against whatever you're fighting. Ravagers focus on whatever a Commando's doing and try to help him/her out, focusing chain attacks or spamming area-of-effect spells. Saboteurs focus on debuffs the enemy is weak to, remove enemy Status Buffs efficiently, and prioritize based on what everybody else is doing. Medics remove debuffs quickly and select spells based on how injuries are distributed. Synergists prioritize the most helpful buffs for the situation. Sentinels are really effective at drawing and surviving enemy attacks.
- In addition, they act in the way an actual human will. Against an unfamiliar monster, they will use ineffective elements or debuffs simply to test things out; once they figure out that those moves don't work, they'll switch to something else. Should the player character use Libra, they'll instantly stop doing that and only use moves that will work.
- This also doubles with Artificial Stupidity, while the feats of brilliance listed above are true, the AI sometimes makes rather questionable decisions using the skills of certain Paradigms. For instance, a Medic controlled by the AI will usually heal with one Cure spell at a time, even when waiting for the full ATB bar to fill and casting 4 cure spells is better, or using Area of Effect spells like Cura. Other times it will heal the Sentinel, who can clearly recieve the damage coming it's way, while the Medic gets pounded by the Area of Effect attacks or enemies in melee range, nevermind that the Sentinel's job is to take damage, or that the Medic is squishy, if the Medic dies he can't keep the Sentinel alive. Most of the times this situation occurs will end up in said AI-controlled Medic dying and the player shifting into Medic in order to properly heal the Sentinel and Revive the fallen.
- Also, annoying, the AI understands what a good attack element is, but not necessarily what a good attack is. For example, when Sazh switches between a physical attack and a magical attack, it takes almost two seconds to do so. Despite this, the AI will constantly switch between physical and magical attacks. And sometimes, when the enemy has specific elemental weaknesses, the AI will exploit them, and then tack on a non-weakness element for no reason, using fire, fire, fire, and wind, for example.
- Ravagers' AI do this because linking different attacks boosts stagger more efficiently. Doing fire, flamestrike, fire, flamestrike on an enemy weak to fire adds a 1.4% base increase to the gauge than 4x fire would, for example.
- Enemies also exhibit this. PSICOM compensates for their lack of sheer power with effective cooperation, and have the annoying tendencies of focusing their fire, buffing each other, and removing your buffs.
- Some CPU opponents in Pokémon are actually like this when they're not committing suicide or cheating, especially prevalent in the more recent years. They now know what type your Pokemon is, and if it has a weakness, especially a double weakness, they will exploit it just like a player would. (Oh, sending out a Vespiquen on me? Eat Power Gem! Think that Torterra is so hot against my Luxray, huh? It may be immune to Thunder Fang, but it's not immune to Ice Fang!) And some trainers/Pokemon are even smart enough to exploit moves that benefit under a certain environmental condition, which is why Groudon and Kyogre have Solarbeam and Thunder, respectively. And in Generation IV and above, they have begun to think about you trying to use the most common weakness - Trying to use Water, Rock, or Ground Pokemon against Flint's Fire Pokemon? Well you better get them down fast, because if you don't, they're going to use the Sunny Day + Solar Beam combo until you cede defeat.
- In the Fifth generation, some trainers (especially Ace Trainers and your Rivals) will even set up specific move combos more commonly found in Metagaming competitive circles, like Endeavor-Quick Attack and Mean Look-Curse (Ghost-type).
- Ghetsis' move pool on his Hydreigon would count as this, but surely was designed this way. Instead he uses his AI to oneshot your team with the right type attack.
- Justified in-story via Fridge Brilliance. He wasn't expecting you to befriend the other Legendary Dragon, wasn't expecting you to stop N, wasn't expecting to have to battle you himself, doesn't know what he's up against, and is freaking out.
- Not only that, they use smart responses to your moves. For example, they'll stop using attack moves if you start using Bide.
- However, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 seem to have averted this and dumb down the trainers again, as they have a tendency to use attacks that aren't very effective commonly. Repeatedly. Including attacks that your Pokémon 4x resist. Even on Challenge Mode, which is reported to increase the AI of opposing trainers. In this game, Veterans, Ace Trainers and important battles are really the only ones that seriously try.
- Much less obvious, as overlevelling is easy in this game, but Pokémon X and Y still keep this with some important trainers. For example, there's a good chance that Clemont will send his Emolga first, Volt Switch with Heliolisk and Grass Knot your Ground-type Pokemon. And the Elite Four still uses movepools, set-ups and dual-typings to keep you from relying on just a single Pokemon.
- Trainers in the Battle Maison sometimes employ sets and strategies common in the Pokemon metagame - Sure, the opponent will still annoyingly spam Protect, but this time it's not A.I. Roulette but rather as part of a larger SubSeeding strategy.
- The final boss of Lunar Silver Star Harmony is a nightmare because of this. Good luck keeping Jessica alive, because he knows to Shoot the Medic First, for one.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn shows a case of this with the Ancient Devil's Demon Sign. He is capable of judging which of your members is most damaging to him either by pure damage, healing potential or some combination thereof, and control that character, provided they're on the front line and conscious. His number-one target for Demon Sign is Sveta, but even Rief and Himi are shockingly effective under his control. Once under his thrall, your Adepts will heal and buff the Ancient Devil and summon against you using your own standby Djinn, stopping any summons you have set to go off that round, as well as attacking you with the weapons and Psynergy you so kindly optimized for them.
- Previous installments also have a good chunk of this. Enemies with elemental attacks will automatically target someone whose default element is weak to theirs, with predictable results. Don't bother buffing against anyone from the Mars Clan, they all know to respond with Break, and several have debuffs of their own. Enemies that can use healing powers or items will pay as much attention to their allies' health as to their own. Enemies with status-inflicting attacks will aim for characters relying most on whatever gets crippled (Psynergy Seal for casters, Delusion for warriors). Non-Adepts frequently carry usable healing and elemental-damage items.
- Xenoblade has a battle system that relies on well-timed, structured combos of special abilities, and often relies on two or even all three party members using skills in concert. The player can only control one at a time, but fortunately, your AI partners are smart. Each has their own AI, uses their skills at the best time and position they can, and tries to fulfill their proper role: for instance, your tank will switch targets to draw aggro away from other characters, while squishier characters will stop using skills for a few seconds to let that happen.
- The first four games of The Elder Scrolls had AI that was at best laughable, since they would just dead-zone you and try meleeing (if you could tell they're doing that; sometimes the sprites wouldn't show them attacking) or use up all their magicka in the first ten seconds and then stand in front of you swinging their weapons, while saying they fought mudcrabs better than you or calling you an n'wah. However, Skyrim features much better AI. Enemies might flee into another room to get help to fight you, archers will switch to a dagger when they're in melee range of you, and enemy casters are annoying because they'll use frost spells on you to reduce your stamina and deny power-attacks. And mages, when fighting other mages, will spam lightning on you to drain your magicka. Some of the higher-level Draugrs, who are armed with Shouts, will disarm you and force you to pick up your weapon while they get free shots. It's most prevalent to archer-player characters. The enemies know it's harder to hit a moving target, and will sometimes notice you're aiming at them and will strafe, sometimes they even wait until after you fired to sidestep and force you to miss. They also know the game averts the No Arc in Archery and will often shoot arrows from seemingly impossible angles where an archer trying to counter-attack would miss due to an object in the way.
- Players have also reported dragons use PC-tactics against players. They're well aware that sometimes, people will sometimes Gang Up on the Human and land in a spot where you're forced to go into the aggro radius of other monsters who will then weaken you while the dragon breathes on you. Another observed tactic is that a dragon may attack a monster and then fly around the player, causing the creature to follow, approach the player, and attack him/her.
- NPCs that can cast magic on themselves do so in appropriate contexts. Powerful vampires, for example, are quick to cast invisibility on themselves before running away.
- Some enemy mages will also use healing spells when their health gets too low, making it nearly impossible to use hit-and-run tactics to wear them down, as you could against a non-mage enemy.
- Ice Wolves appear to be moderately clever, making a small effort to flank the player rather than charge headfirst into a sword.
- Just when the player thinks he's gotten away with stealing, zero bounty and all, he may later encounter armed mercenaries sent after him, one of which is carrying a contract that reveals that whoever the player stole from sent them. If the player survives that encounter, the Dark Brotherhood may show up next... Little girls can hire bandits as well. So yes, a 10 year old can hire criminals to kill you.
- Hostile archers will constantly move back and forth if you're armed with spells or bows. They won't move at all if you're running toward them to attack in melee.
- Bandits, who normally would attack you on sight, will be very hesitant to do so if they're the survivors of an attack by something else that has thinned their ranks, and will even call out in an attempt to make you go away rather than fight.
- Mass Effect 2 has pretty good AI, especially on Insanity level. Enemies "leapfrog" each other, advance under covering fire, use cover effectively, fire with good accuracy, use powers to flush you out, and flank you.
- Mass Effect 2 has got NOTHING on Mass Effect 3. From the demo alone, the game has displayed ridiculously impressive AI who use their powers and abilities and strength in numbers to overwhelm and flank you at an incredible rate. Its got probably the best tactical AI since FEAR or Crysis.
- See the trope page for a bulleted list of brilliant tactics, exhibited by Cerberus units alone.
- The one thing Mass Effect 2 does have on its successor is that its AIs will also call out things they do, and things they notice you doing (memorably, if you shoot a krogan with a Predator he'll laugh at you) such as deploying drones. Blue Suns have particularly disciplined radio chatter, deploying and advising like military forces, while Shadow Broker goons will use codewords to avoid tipping you off to their strategies.
- Cerberus troops will do the same thing. Geth, Husks, and Collectors don't for obvious reasons.
- Indie RPG Fortune Summoners features extremely good friendly and enemy AI. Every enemy in the game up to and including the very first slime you encounter will bob and weave around your strokes and teach you very early on that mashing attack is very much not an option in this game. On the other hand, the meek little White Magician Girl you pick up early on will lead you on with her easily-terrified demeanor, then proceed to effortlessly dance right through a cloud of enemies while keeping you healed.
- The AI in the Tales Series can go in and out of this. Estelle in Tales of Vesperia is considered Too Dumb to Live because she has a melee attack (Not a good idea on the White Magician Girl, but on the plus side she has pretty high defense.) yet at the same time, she often uses an attack that brings enemies close together...while Rita or Raven is channeling an Area of Effect magic attack.
- In the remakes of the first two Star Ocean games, the AI's actually pretty good for the healers. If you tell them to focus on healing allies, they'll actually only use their MP on that. However, when they get the next level of healing magic, they'll automatically default to that and only use the level below when they're running low on MP. Granted, it's a little better to overheal a bit than underheal, but the AI doesn't judge how much will over-healed, so they'll use Faerie Healing on someone who's only missing a couple hundred health. Then again though, in the second game, the bosses get annoyingly fast and damaging, so maybe it's not as unjustified...
- Likewise, there are often times where if you tell the characters to do whatever it takes or attack with all they got, they'll blow through their MP really fast...however versus bosses, the melees actually try to keep the boss stun-locked so they can't get away. In The Second Story, you have to push the final boss into a corner or surround him in melees while spamming attacks or else he'll kill everyone.
- This is one of the main features of Indie RPG Din's Curse. The monsters' AI is dynamic, which means they will, unless you complete quests in a timely manner, gather and strengthen their forces, fortify their defenses, send spies and assassins to infiltrate the town and, eventually attack and overrun the town.
- This is one of the reason why Demon's Souls and Dark Souls is so difficult. The AI behavior is simple, and in many ways, predictable, based on simple "if-then" conditions. However, this is also what makes it very dangerous. For example, an AI for a regular enemy is coded such that, if its attacks get deflected by your shields, they will jump immediately out of the way to avoid your counter attacks. More defensive enemies, such as the spear-and-shield soldiers will patiently wait until you begin to attack or when your attacks are deflected by their shield before they begin attacking. Other times, they break patterns for no reason to see what your reactions are before responding. The aforementioned spear wielder for example, may suddenly rush you without rhyme or reason, but with just enough irregularity that you don't expect it to do that. However, the arguably most recognizable enemy AI pattern is their tendency to rush you the moment they see you healing. Defeating the enemies then, counter-intuitively, is for you to think like an AI and know what they would do in response to your actions.
- The de facto hardest boss in the game, bar none, is Ornstein and Smough, a Dual Boss with AI patterns that are predictable, but cover for each other's weaknesses. Ornstein is a Lightning Bruiser that can zip around the battlefield, while Smough is a lumbering Mighty Glacier. They rarely move independently from each other, cover each other's advances and retreats, flank you from different directions, and even forcibly open your guard for the other's follow-up attack.
- The AI is generally this in Persona 3 and Persona 4. When set to a freeform tactic, they will try different attacks to figure out the enemies' elemental affinities until they find a weakness or until Mission Control identifies one (in the case of Persona 3; your Mission Control in Persona 4 cannot find affinites, only track the ones you've found). Once one is known, they will remember it and exploit it for all it's worth. If the player wants to trigger specific actions, they can set the AI to follow certain thought patterns; the most useful ones are the option to specifically target and destroy an enemy of your choice, the option to focus them on using healing and support skills, and the option to only knock down the enemies, rather than focusing on killing them. This last one is a brilliant example because the battle system awards you with extra turns by exploiting weaknesses. Thus, against a team of enemies with a common weakness that a member can exploit, said member will abuse that weakness, knock down an enemy (the enemy's death optional) then proceed to ignore it and work down the rest, setting you up for either a follow-up All-Out Attack or a different action altogether. This is sadly interspaced with the ocassional act of Artificial Stupidity from your teammates, like the ones that learn status-inflicting ones. Fortunately, the player can remove this random factor entirely by taking direct control of the whole team in Persona 4 and Persona 3: Portable. On the opposite side, enemies will exploit a weakness they discover in your team, although they will usually shift to something else in order to test more elements, if applicable. This is far truer in Persona 4 than in 3, since the battle system there received a couple alterations, a notable one being that just one target of a multi-hit spell needs to be weak to it and hit in order to award the extra turn, rather than all targets like it had been in 3, resulting in enemies that will proceed to mercilessly pound your team again with more multi-target magic, or take advantage of your stun and either buff themselves up, debuff you, or use a special move on you that requires you to be knocked down, and of course, deals massive damage. This fact comes to a head with The Reaper and the World Balance. The Reaper will actively target your character if it discovers a weakness, and if it doesn't, will experiment with the rest of your team, removing immunities to elements that don't work on them once it knows them. The latter actually managed complaints from players that argued it was adapting to their tactics. For more fun, if you put a magic-reflecting shield on your party even once, both of these things will drop everything to start bombarding your whole team perpetually with Almighty spells like Megidola and Megidolaon, the only kind of spell that said magic-reflecting shield can't stop.
- The party AI also seems to understand not to waste SP on healing minor cuts and scrapes. They'll tend to wait until someone's health is significantly low before healing. However, the AI still do some pretty dumb things. If their attacks prove ineffective, in P3, they will usually just select the "wait" option, instead of using their support abilities, which can get a bit annoying to constantly see your allies just waiting around and making you do all the work. This was improved in P4, where they generally will use support skills in these situations. Also, your allies never seem to get the message that light and darkness spells (insta-kill spells in this series) will NEVER work on bosses. They'll learn after they try it, but it is annoying to see them waste a turn trying to use spells that NEVER work on bosses for rather self-evident reasons.
- One enemy in P4 actually tries to trick the player into using a move; a boss in an early dungeon will start the battle by using a skill on itself that raises its resistance to a certain elemental attack. The player would assume that the enemy is weak to that element and is trying to remove its weakness, and is ready to use it once the resistance wears off...only to find that the boss absorbs that element.
- In the core Shin Megami Tensei series, Atlus enjoys baiting gamers into taking silly risks. For instance, in Shin Megami Tensei IV, Fiends and Bonus Bosses hit like a truck with powerful elemental attacks. Should you decide to stack the deck against them by fusing parties specifically to counter these moves, thus removing their Press Turns, they will instead go berserk and start spamming Almighty moves to bombard you and your entire team into oblivion.
- The Cactuars in Final Fantasy IX can cause Confusion to your party, making them have a random chance of attacking enemies or their own party. Think that is bad enough? The same Cactuars will also cast Haste on confused characters, making them faster to attack and faster in destroying themselves.
- Creatures was notable for its use of a genetically coded Artificial Life system, allowing you to breed creatures called Norns, mixing their DNA and resulting in evolving behaviors unpredictable to the original programmers. Unfortunately, there was a lot of variation, especially early on, so this behavior often included things like steadfastly refusing to eat until dead or the infamous Wallbonking. Eventually, the community created Socrates, a norn genetically engineered to be incapable of learning from experience, which actually did better than the normal norns. Its behavior revealed the pleasure/pain coding imbalance in the brain of regular norns: eventually, no matter what the norn did, their brains would tell them they were deliriously happy, even as they were sitting on a campfire, starving to death. This lead to the community creation of the Canny Norns, which are truly brilliant.
- Black & White is famous for its use of The Creature, a pet that acted as the representation of your power on Earth (since your status as an incorporeal god somewhat limits your ability to affect the world directly). The Creature acts independently and cannot be controlled directly, but can learn and be taught a wide variety of behaviors through a combination of classical conditioning (stroking them after they do something you want them to do, and spanking them after they do something you don't want them to do) and imitative behavior (if your creature sees you setting fire to villagers, he'll start setting fire to villagers). In this manner you raise the Creature like a child, and can shape its behavior and personality in a wide number of ways.
- Famously, during a demo of the game at a major conference, as Molyneux was speaking, the Creature proceeded to surprise him by learning "rock + fire = extra damage" without prompting.
- The A.I. of The Sims 3 has been noticeably improved on compared to the previous 2 games, with Sims being able to live out their lives autonomously with almost complete success, instead of doing dumb stuff like missing work because of improper sleep schedules, traveling across the house to use a bathroom instead of using the one two feet in front of them, or staring at a fire and letting it burn down the house instead of actually doing something about it.
- Although they still miss work playing computer games.
- In the first two games, you could delete the pool ladders (or create a one-way moat around your house) and watch as the sims all stay in the pool until they drown. Imagine everyone's shock when they tried that in The Sims 3 and the sims climbed out of the pool like you would expect someone to do in Real Life.
- Dwarf Fortress is infamous for tracking the logical consequences of everything you can do, often leading to Butterfly of Doom or For Want of a Nail situations if you aren't Crazy-Prepared yourself for everything you can do.
- A recent update has added vampires, along with murder-mystery systems as the dwarves try to figure out who's exsanguinating everyone in their sleep. The brilliance is that the vampires themselves will try to accuse others of being the vampire (though dwarven intelligence is not so robust that they won't accuse infants).
- Vector Thrust's AI revolves around the philosophy of "whatever the player can do, the AI can do too." Because of the game's heavy focus on modding, they also are able to learn and very quickly use player-made weapons and aircraft as well.
- AI pilots take into account damage level, weapon inventory and their proximity to allies and enemies when in battle, leading to situations where a computer-controlled aircraft will limit use of their missiles and guns as they run low on ammunition unless they're sure that their shots will connect.
- A glitch in the NES Lunar Ball game was recently found and utilized in a Tool Assisted Superplay. The entire TAS in question was done not by a human but by a bot that was specifically designed to find the most frame-efficient way to finish each board using what was known about the game, taking into account that deliberately performing a shot that pockets no balls reduces the number of frames spent waiting for the bonus to be added to the score. The bot stumbled across the glitch by mere luck and decided "hey, this works better". This is the TAS in question.
- Almost paradoxically, happens in Pro Evolution Soccer a lot on the easier difficulty settings: not only will the AI let the player take his time while practicing basic skills and passing, it will also purposely decide to defend or attack according to how well the player is learning. It's most notable on a beginner's first run, as any player who has mastered these skills will obviously notice all loopholes.
- NBA Jam: On Fire Edition by EA Sports makes use of Real AI, originally developed for their Fight Night series, to learn the player's strategies and make the CPU smarter as you level up, to the point where the AI can play like a human opponent. This is particularly apparent during the Platinum Challenges in Road Trip mode, featuring the "Jam Bots" that employ the same strategies you've been using against the CPU. Know all the tricks to blow out the CPU? You better know how to counter them, because they'll be thrown right back at you without mercy.
- In Sony's MLB The Show, if a user has a tendency to swing at certain pitches outside of the zone at a high frequency, the AI will exploit that weakness often until the player stops doing so.
Stealth Based Game
- Thief is notable for implementing a complex sensory system for its A.I. characters, allowing guards to be aware of and respond to environmental factors such as noise, lighting, movement, and shadows. While Yahtzee was playing it, he accidentally jumped out and then leapt back in while a guard was watching him. Instead of the guard just moving on, he yelled "Don't think you can just jump back into the shadows, boy!" which, Yahtzee said, "Surprised both myself and my dry cleaner."
- Every Metal Gear game after (and including) MGS2 has had some MASSIVELY improved AI. When walking on metal floors, an enemy will hear it if a) they are close enough or b) if it is loud enough. If a soldier is downed and another person sees the bloodspot or finds the corpse, they will automatically kick it up to maximum security and a new guard will be sent to the area. If a guard is knocked out, they will kick it up to maximum security. If all guards have been killed, the commander will notice after a while and send a heavy-duty team to investigate. If the player has been spotted by a guard, they will smack/shoot the player (depending on how far away he is) and call for reinforcements. If the player has used a chaff grenade or has shot the guard's radio, he will try to gun the player down himself. When heavy reinforcements are called out, some of them will have riot shields and will use them as a baracade trapping Snake into a corner or nasrrow hallway. Also during Alert Mode, if there are blood trails on the floor leading into lockers and/or closets, the enemies will either throw a grenade into that area, or have each soldier comb each nook and crannie of the area and search the lockers (and they can HEAR YOUR HEARTBEATS and your breathing if you stand too close to the locker door!). If you are hiding behind cover, some guards will provide suppressing fire while some others will flank around you. Enemies also can have the uncanny ability to spot discolorations in the atmosphere or a floating gun if you are using stealth camo.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 takes this a step further by adding a camo system. If a guard sees rustling grass or some oddly colored spots in the environment, they will go to investigate.
- Also, if your stamina is low enough, your stomach will start growling and if an enemy is nearby, they will hear it and investigate, effectively screwing over the player if they are out of food because your accuracy and wound healing both depend on your stamina.
- Not only that. If you managed to outrun your pursuing soldiers during an Alert, and managed to hide in some room in a fortress, for example, they'd sweep each room thoroughly, starting by chucking a flashbang into the room, temporarily blinding and deafening you, then storming in, finding you, and proceeding to carve you up with bullets. If enemies had access to gun-emplacements, you can bet your life on it they'd use them against you. Oh, they'd also be able to smell your cigar if you happened to be smoking it, or the smell of your clothes if you happened to be wearing the Fly camo, or the sight and smell of your vomit if you happened to retch either from sickness or Easter Egg. And these are just regular Mooks. There's a special brand of EliteMooks that appear only on special areas, that are specifically designed and programmed to patrol the area hunting for Snake while setting up positions for both spotting and ambushing him. This includes setting up a sniper from the rooftop of a building Snake just escaped form, while having about another half-dozen guys patrolling the surrounding area, each and everyone equipped with top-grade weapons, fast reflexes and efficient tactics.
- The A.I in Hitman:Absolution is very noticeably upgraded from past games. Enemies will no longer run up to a corpse, run back and forth while swiveling their heads, and walk away like nothing happened. Now, they will sweep the area if they notice a body on the ground, gather fellow guards to assist in their search by calling for help, and are able to identify the player as the perpetrator if they stand next to the body or bloodstains. But the most impressive improvements are seen during combat. Enemies will flank the player aggressively, take good cover, and duck back into cover if they come under fire, making them difficult targets to take out. The toughest enemies in the game, the Agency Heavy Troopers, are especially aggressive and will charge the player when he reloads, move as groups, and pin the player down with automatic fire.
Third Person Shooter
- The Last of Us features small enemy squads that pan out amongst a small area, looking for supplies. You can throw objects as distractions, sneak up behind enemies and hold them as a human shield, hide out of sight, duck behind cover, take their weapons away, and use improvised weapons like bricks and Molotov cocktails to do real damage. The kicker? The enemies can do all of that, too. In addition, when you're spotted, they'll give away your location to call for reinforcements, either as they run to cover (like "he's by the door!") or as you struggle with them (shouting "he's in here!" while trying to take their gun away). Plus, if you try to fire your gun when you're out of ammo, the gun will click, enemies will know you're out, and become more aggressive.
- Your partner, Ellie, is also very smart. In an attempt to avert some of the worst aspects of the Escort Mission, Ellie automatically goes to cover when enemies are nearby. She can also use improvised weaponry, like throwing a brick at an enemy's head to give you a chance to rush him. Ellie can also attack enemies who have you pinned to get them off of you.
- Max Payne 3 has quite realistic and adaptive A.I. Notably, they will react to gunfire by ducking back into cover and waiting for an opportune time to move up. UFE squads will generally stick together in coordinated assaults, flanking from multiple directions.
Turn Based Strategy
- The enemy AI in Final Fantasy Tactics can be quite good at times. Its main flaws are that it usually doesn't have good skills or equipment to work with, and it can't plan its actions multiple turns in advance, so its brilliance is limited to what the best action within the current AT list is (including spells/abilities currently charging). Fixing these is the purpose of one of the more notable Game Mods.
- To give examples, the AI properly understands elemental absorption for healing its allies, attacking MP (or restoring it) to affect charging spells, and bouncing spells off of Reflect to increase range. That last one is a very rare situation even for human teams. It also performs extremely esoteric actions such as placing a doomed unit (e.g. a fatal spell is charging on it that it can't escape) in front of a dead ally Mime solely because if the player uses a Phoenix Down to revive their Mime, their Mime will mimic the Phoenix Down and resurrect the enemy unit.
- An unprepared player may be caught off guard as the AI even knows how to exploit the game's projectile rules. For example, range weapon-equipped characters can shoot enemies that are too close to be targeted by shooting at enemies standing behind their intended targets; this can even be done with longbows, but requires a major elevation difference between the attacker and intended target! The computer will occasionally mess up these attempts though- not surprising considering how hard they can be to predict.
- The AI perfectly understands the mechanics behind the Calculator class. If you have your entire party as Calculators, then set your party to AI, and they will wipe the floor with the enemy team.
- Its spiritual predecessor, Tactics Ogre, also has the same. You'll hate that they averted the No Arc in Archery trope when you're fighting an uphill battle, and love it when you realize you can do the same. The PSP remake also takes this up to eleven, where the enemies know to focus fire on low-health targets, targets that will take a lot of damage such as low-levels and squishies, and to Shoot the Medic First. You can still exploit this by sending someone with no equipment out to act as a decoy. They also will send knights with rampant aura (Which prevents you from moving further than them) to body-block you and just stand there with Phalanx on (reduces damage by 90%). They even decide that the end justifies the means too - they'll often target their own allies with status inducing spells just because they're surrounded by more enemies.
- The AI in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is dangerously smart. For instance, if you steal a mook's only weapon, he will run to the nearest weapon shop (if there's any that sells weapons he can use), and will actually buy the best weapon he can use and attack you with it next turn.
- Enemy flying units will prefer to attack your ground troops from whatever range that denies you from counterattacking(if possible) and then use their remaining move spaces to fly away into terrain where you cannot retaliate, effectively denying you the chance to finish them off.
- Similarly in Fire Emblem Elibe and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, mages with versatile attack ranges will often run right up to your archers and attack at a range where they cannot counterattack. You would really want to be careful if there's a Swordslayer around...as axe wielders will run right for the nearest sword user (Especially if they're a Lord) to use the swordslayer on.
- In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, 3-13 Archer is a rare aversion to typical Allies. When his ballista runs out and his soldiers are attacked he will move and attack. He's even garnered a fanbase because of this.
- The AI in recent Fire Emblem games has become quite Dangerously Genre Savvy. They know that everyone will go for a one hundred percent survival rate, so They try to make you Rage Quit.
- The AI in the latest game, Awakening, is particularly devious. If you try to set up a formation to protect your weaker units, the enemy will focus on the weakest unit on your frontlines to either kill them or force them to retreat for healing, which either way will leave a gap in your defences. And if you're doing an Escort Mission, and your formation is less-than-airtight, the enemy will simply ignore your units and go straight for the ones you're trying to protect.
- In 1981, and then again in 1982, Douglas Lenat tested his learning program, Eurisko, in a Traveller: Trillion Credit Squadron tournament. Eurisko simulated thousands of battles, found unconventional ship configurations and methods, and defeated all comers. Twice. In a row. Even with notable rule changes.
- Eurisko could have done it a third time, but Lenat decided to retire it from the tournament, since if the program had won a 3rd time, it would be the last such tournament.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Bully has some. Prefects don't only chase you if you break a rule, they chase other kids who break rules.
- Dead Rising was famous for having incredibly stupid survivor AI. In Dead Rising 2, they're much, much better. They follow you intelligently and are very good with weapons. If a zombie jumps onto you, they even attack the zombie in order to save you!
- The Rapid Response military ships in X3 Albion Prelude are some of the smartest enemies in the game. When they detect one of their race's stations are under attack, they'll jump their ships in and curb-stomp the enemy with heavy missile spam fired from 80 kilometers away. When one of their capital ships starts to take heavy damage, it'll use its jump drive to jump to safety and go repair.
- In Minecraft, mobs can navigate around obstacles and hazards to get at you. Normally, this isn't very impressive. But consider this: Seeing as the world is procedurally generated and you can augment the world at any moment, they have to figure-out the lay of the land in real time without any assistance from the developers, and decide in real time if there is an alternate path should you have blocked yourself off.
- A dramatic example of the mobs' pathing ability can be seen in this video. The mobs have no trouble tracking the player down in a complicated maze despite his best efforts to block their access to him. If there's a way to reach the player, the mobs WILL find it.
- Then there's the Creeper's affinity for lurking in dark corners, specifically around areas you tend to frequent.
- Another example is the normally peaceful Enderman. When fighting, they abuse their ability to teleport for all its worth. If you try to chase it down with a sword, it will teleport out of your reach and wait for you to drop your guard, then teleport back in to continue the fight, typically right behind you. And when they've taken enough of a beating, they'll try to run away. They also have the presence of mind to teleport out of the way of arrows, and out of water.
- Zombies and skeletons catch fire and burn in sunlight. They're smart enough to look for shade or water to prevent this, and skeletons in particular will not leave a safe place just to attack you. Forget artificial intelligence, Minecraft creatures actually have common sense!
- The cops in Grand Theft Auto IV no longer focus solely on the actions of the player, and there are occasional random events where someone in front of you gets mugged and you'll see a cop run after them for an arrest. The player can take advantage of this in certain missions such as the optional assassination assignments. Your targets shoot on sight, so you can call the cops, run into the sight lines of the targets when the cops arrive, then watch the ensuing firefight. Generally the cops go down easy, but usually other police cars drive near, or you can keep calling them in yourself. This might lead to Videogame Cruelty Potential where a player might punch a random bystander, run toward a cop, and wait for them to retaliate, getting them arrested.
- Grand Theft Auto V takes it a step further with their police. During pursuits, they will set up spike strips where they expect the player to go, attempt to box the player in with one cop car in front and another cop car behind, drive better through traffic, and will sweep the area if they lose sight of the player, even checking obscure spaces that the player is likely to hide in such as canals or alleyways. Also, NOOSE helicopters have the annoying tendency to rappel NOOSE officers on top of buildings, resulting in the player getting hammered from all sides by gunfire. NOOSE officers will also drag wounded comrades out of the line of fire, which can lead to sadistic moments of killing a wounded enemy and his would-be rescuer.