如何让AI“放水”

在gamasutra上看到一篇关于如何让AI“放水”的游戏设计文章,有点意思。

作者先是探讨了通过降低电脑运算能力来限制其AI水平,不过得到的结果是AI会犯“不是正常人会犯的错误”,这样就很不现实了。所以作者提出了一个疑问 “Design or Code? ” AI的“放水”应该通过规则实现还是通过编程水平实现(这里译成中文有点偏离原意,还是直接看英文好)。

答案当然是通过Design啦。于是作者又提出了一些想法,比如定一些条件来限制电脑的发挥;让电脑故意让玩家取得优势,而且做得很自然,让玩家感觉不到被防水了,从而能让电脑AI计算能力全开的情况下依然让玩家有势均力敌的感觉,等等。
摘录文章里两段话:

By reducing the amount of computation, we create an AI opponent that is trying to win, but has been crippled in a way that leads to unrealistic gameplay. But does the player actually care about what is going on under the hood? What if we don’t cripple our AI, but instead let it play at full strength, but have the AI deliberately throw the game?

In a shooter, the enemy aliens should not simply randomly break from cover — they should sometimes break from cover when the player is close to them and panning toward them. They should "accidentally" throw themselves into the line of fire to make the game more interesting.

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读《通过数据挖掘来更好地平衡游戏》

最近翻查游戏平衡方面的资料,在Gamasutra上看到这篇 Better Game Design through Data Mining ,觉得有些参考价值,它给出了数据挖掘(统计学)在游戏中的应用和能解决的问题,以及游戏设计中一些难题(主要是处理玩家抱怨和socail方面的问题),在游戏平衡方面也是很有参考价值的文章。感觉文章的内容跟WoW的设计很有关联,在WoW设计中一定也运用了相关理论。在Ghostcrawler的一篇nerf shaman的蓝帖里也可以察觉到这点。

以下是一些抄录和注解,供自己参考:

1. To balance the economy — 平衡物价等
2. To catch cheaters — 通过分析与平均水平相差甚远的数据来揪出作弊者
3. To cut production costs — 物品都倾注了资金、时间、人力来设计, 通过分析物品的被使用频率来确定物品设计的成功与否,然后通过将不成功的物品重新设计(patch)后再推出,以免浪费
4. To increase customer renewal — 找出表现较差的职业(low-performance class)进行调整以免玩家流失

Data mining takes numbers, processes them, and makes new numbers. These numbers cannot tell you how each player feels. The player may be misinformed or biased about the balance of the game, but she is always right about how she feels. Some players’ feelings may be immature, and some players may have contradictory responses. Yet the paradox is that they are all right. Every player’s emotional response is valid. The data also does a poor job of revealing how players feel about each game asset. It does not indicate which asset has beautiful modeling, expressive animation, or a compelling story.

数据不能告诉你玩家的感受。玩家可能是不理智、充满偏见的,但是他们说出了心里的感受。所有玩家的情绪反馈都是真实反映了玩家心中的感受。数据不能揭示出玩家对一个道具的感受,比如道具好看与否、帅不帅等。

传统的调查方法是问卷调查(survey),但是那是不客观的,不一定正确的。人们总会出于各种原因口是心非。每个人都说是不平衡的受害者,而真正的受害者却选择了沉默,然后静静地绝望地离开游戏。数据挖掘是客观的,能从各个角度分析游戏,为游戏设计人员提供了全局观。

Recycle old data into new design.
1. Live: Scoop up lots of raw data in the live service. — 关键:样本
2. Archive: From here, clean it up and store it for safe keeping in an archive.
3. Statistics: Sift through the data to create statistics, which are more informative than the raw data.
4. Analysis: Then apply the actual mining, which yields knowledge about player performance. –关键:图表、clusters
5. Hypothesis: Propose hypotheses about how to tune the game.
6. Test: Test each hypothesis and then introduce the new design into the live service. — 经常是失败的,或者没有预期理想,但是一点一点的进步总比什么都不做好。
然后回到第一步,形成一个循环

平衡的时候尽量保持修改的独立性,只影响到目标群体,不要牵涉其他群体,这样更容易修改(见Part3的图)。

Some pieces about Game design

最近有一股冲动想研究一下WoW是怎么去平衡游戏的,所以趁着休息翻了一下Gamasutra,顺道翻了些好东西。

“Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as invention, you know. It’s only magnifying what already exists.”

Allie Fox (played by Harrison Ford),

The Mosquito Coast

很欣赏这句话,简单地把创新的实质描述了出来。

A video game artist or animator should study the basics of fine art: art theory, art history, composition, color, form, space, and light. Just because video game artists compose their work on computers does not exempt them from having to understand traditional
art.

Game Art and Animation, An Introduction 里的一段话,艺术的基础:1.艺术理论、2.艺术历史、3.构图、4.颜色、5.形状、6.空间和7.光线。

游戏设计师的主要职责包括有:编写设计文档、开发和维护游戏数据库(图表和表格),偶尔地编写对话、协助创造等级,还有通过不断测试来平衡游戏。

Wright还强调了Excel的重要性,它是模拟人生系列所有作品的原型模拟的基础。Excel允许开发小组通过更改条件来观察其它的模拟如何反应。Wright说他的团队还用Excel分析标准和游戏调整。

摘自Designer Advice: A Beginner’s Guide Excel真是无比强大啊,得Excel者得天下!

But, I don’t view games as something that has to become a part of your weekly or daily schedule. They are supposed to be there for when you WANT to play, not to make you feel like you have an obligation to play.

“我不认为游戏是那种你每个星期或者每天日程里的一部分。它们应该是呼之即来挥之即去想玩就玩的东西,而不是让你觉得有负担/责任/义务去玩的东西。”某老外的 精彩评论