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What the hell is videogame AI anyway?

Posted on 16th Jul 2014 at 09:05 by Rick Lane with 10 comments

Rick Lane
Dearest readers of bit-tech! Come hither and listen to my whispered words, as I am a troubled soul. For a long time now I have lamented the lack of progress made in the AI sphere of game development. In the years surrounding the millennium AI was bold and bright and exciting. Games like Unreal Tournament, Thief, Black and White and Halo were doing clever and innovative things with artificial intelligence, providing enemies that could use teamwork to outmanoeuvre us, guards that would hunt us, and a big daft monkey that could learn from us.

This continued until around 2005, with FEAR being the last game I can recall with truly memorable AI. Then something changed, and after that nothing changed. Stealth AI has patrolled the same pathways for years, shooter AI crouched behind a wall circa 2006 and decided to make a home there, and when was the last time you played a game that involved the AI learning anything?

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There's more to graphics tech than resolutions and framerates

Posted on 6th Jun 2014 at 10:10 by Rick Lane with 38 comments

Rick Lane
Last year I interviewed Ken Silverman, creator of the Build engine (used in games like Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior) as part of a monthly article series I write in Custom PC about graphics engines. While preparing for the interview, I read through his timeline for the engine's development, which is published on his website. Amid all the technical jargon and details of publisher deals was the simple line "Finally added SLOPES!"

It stood out because whereas so much of the information was factual and to the point, this entry conveyed more emotion; a strong sense of both relief and achievement. I asked him what the big deal was, and he responded thus:

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Should we be concerned about the state of Steam?

Posted on 9th May 2014 at 08:58 by Rick Lane with 27 comments

Rick Lane
Earlier this week the post-apocalypse FPS Earth: Year 2066 was withdrawn from sale on Steam. The game had come under fire from fans and journalists alike on account of being severely underdeveloped even for an Early Access title, and misleading players about its rudimentary and broken state on the product page. This came to a head on the sixth of May when Valve dubbed the game a scam and removed all mention of it from the service.

Earth: Year 2066 isn't the only steaming plate of rubbish served to players through Steam lately. This has been highlighted by Escapist Reviews Editor Jim Sterling, who has spent the past few months slowly shovelling his way through the mounting pile of excrement which alongside 2066 include the likes of Overcast: Walden and the Werewolf, the multiplayer FPS Rekoil, and Day One: Garry's Incident. All as part of an effort to demonstrate that Steam needs better quality control.

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Far Cry 3 and the inventory problem

Posted on 26th Feb 2013 at 14:21 by David Hing with 43 comments

David Hing
Dear Far Cry 3,

I wanted to thank you for inviting me to spend time on your beautiful tropical island paradise filled with red-shirt pirates, ninja tigers and quick-to-anger murderous bovines. Exploring your beaches, cliff tops and jungles has been a truly amazing experience and despite what I'm going to say, I must stress I am grateful for that and honestly believe you have something truly wonderful going on for you.

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Total Annihilation and the four hour adrenaline rush

Posted on 11th Feb 2013 at 07:20 by David Hing with 23 comments

David Hing
Starcraft 2 is probably my favourite game that I never play. I fell for the original thanks to a decent demo that captured the feel of the single player game and I loved the campaigns, despite being so unbelievably terrible at the game to never really grasp how to progress into even the later Terran missions, let alone the Zerg and Protoss campaigns.

When the long awaited sequel came out, I threw myself into the notorious multiplayer, which was something I had never had the option to do with the original thanks to my thoroughly rural internet connection that might very well have been carried on the back of cows and a friendship group that consisted of non-LAN compatible Amiga owners.

The multiplayer clicked and resonated with me, although the joke is that just because you understand something, it doesn't mean you can necessarily do anything about it.

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Mind the multiplayer gap

Posted on 31st Jan 2013 at 07:26 by David Hing with 30 comments

David Hing
I worry about single player modes disappearing and multiplayer becoming the norm. When Unreal and Quake started releasing multiplayer-only titles I thought that was the end, but thankfully it was a trend that didn’t really catch on. All the same, my fear is still there, lurking away.

Imagine a chasm. A deep, dark, seemingly bottomless canyon, but when viewed from above the sides appear to be quite close together.

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Hardcore Farmville and the games that play themselves

Posted on 21st Jan 2013 at 10:13 by David Hing with 13 comments

David Hing
When the iPad arrived on the scene it was the device that industry commentators liked to declare as "scaring the pants off Nintendo" because of its desirability among the market that the Wii and DS were chasing.

When the iPad arrived in my possession, I could see that traditional console developers had a while before they needed to be too worried about this thing. Mobile gaming has definitely come a long way since my first foray into the Apple App Store, but despite that, its landscape is still peppered with one particular type of game.

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Can it play Crysis 3?

Posted on 5th Jan 2013 at 09:31 by Antony Leather with 72 comments

Antony Leather
Turn back the clocks to 2007. It was the beginning of the GeForce 8800 GTX's phenomenally long reign as the best graphics card around, but also a period that saw more and more PC gaming titles relinquished to mere console ports. They barely touched the surface of Nvidia's graphics cards' pixel pushing - one of the main reasons it had such a long life.

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What We're Playing: CPU Wars & Stronghold

Posted on 30th Dec 2012 at 12:34 by Paul Goodhead with 8 comments

Paul Goodhead
It’s been a little while since we last spoke board games, so we thought we'd have a quick festive round up of what we've been playing over the Christmas break. We’ve got two games to show you today, and you will not want to miss this first one, we guarantee.

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The death of Warcraft

Posted on 20th Dec 2012 at 07:42 by David Hing with 39 comments

David Hing
I feel a great sympathy for the City of Heroes players who have recently lost their favourite MMO to the grim abyss of cancellation. There is something incredibly final about an online game being pulled as there is so very rarely any way of clawing that experience back. Instead, all that remains is an inert double-figure-gigabyte folder sat on your hard drive and mere memories of your polygon-formed world.

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