Most of the popular games today focus on multiplayer, with online FPS and party games soaring to the top of the charts time and time again. Whilst online play and a recent surge in the acceptability of gaming mean it’s easier than ever to find some buddies to team up with, it wasn’t always this way. Games were much more single player focused in years gone by, and the games that still retain this focus require a sound AI to truly engage the player. Here are ten games that have produced believable and engaging artificial intelligence.
Half-Life’s narrative trick of not using any pre-rendered cut scenes to further the story must’ve required some serious AI tweaking. Balancing the dialogue and NPC reactions to allow the player to retain control without interrupting anything was what made the original Half-Life so impressive. What the sequel added to the mix was the same AI being used to make enemies truly efficient. The Combine paired off into squads, took cover and generally did whatever they could to make your life difficult. It might not have been all that good at launch, but patches have brought Half-Life 2’s AI up a fair few notches since its release.
Thief: The Dark Project
Thief was a pioneering title in the stealth genre, being one of the first games to utilise sensory perception as a form of detection. This meant the AI needed to be able to realistically respond to flickering shadows and the various sounds the player might make during their adventure. It was ambitious, but it sure as hell paid off, cementing Thief as one of the most revolutionary games ever made.
Metal Gear Solid series
Though some may look back at some of Kojima’s earlier master works and scoff at their simplicity, they all shared a common trait of having incredible AI for the time. The original MSX2 Metal Gear games were incredible simply for having any kind of conceivable logic in enemy patrol patterns, but as the series developed you’d see guards responding to noise, footprints, camouflage and even smells.