3/05/2005

The I in Team

Sorry for no post until now, I literally tried to start on over a dozen topics that just seemed to go nowhere, so I just blamed it on writer's block and finally went to bed. But after getting my hands on Star Wars: Republic Commando for Xbox (all I will say about the multi-player is that it was extremely buggy online & I actually fell through a level), I finally have something to discuss-Teamwork in games. In many games, teamwork is an important aspect. You often have at least one partner with you-whether you want them or not. Despite all the advancements videogames have made in a realitvely short amount of time, coming up with teammates who will actually pull their own weight seems to be that impossible brass ring that companies can't quite reach. This is especially true in squad-based shooters. If you're lucky, you get games like Freedom Fighters & Brute Force, where your teammates are at least a good distraction while you do most of the work yourself. But most of the time it's like the Ghost Recon games, where you teammates stupidly walk around in the open just waiting to get shot and don't take direction well.
At first glance, Commando seems to fix most of these problems. Your teammates not only have distinct and engaging personalities, but specialities that really stand out in battle, and they seem to be more than able to handle their own.
Unfortunately, a few levels in cracks start showing as these bipolar miscreants lead you to your doom. They get stuck behind doors, occasionally decide to follow orders, and just seem to lack basic instincts at key moments. On RARE they occasions will do things like take cover and heal on their own, but mostly have to be ordered by you into a specifc place or to do a specific action and half the time they don't even respond, which makes the intense firefights a messy chore. It's pathetic that this many years down the road no game can claim to give you a competent A.I. partner to work with-they are either too helpful (making the game no challenge) or almost totally useless. This really needs to be adressed since teamwork is becoming more and more of a factor in games these days.
That it's for now, but I will definitely do another post tonight or Sunday since I have a specific topic in mind.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

AI is really expensive in terms of cpu cycles and such. With the new systems you should see AI become much much better because most of the chips in the new systems will have multiple threads (aka another hypothetical cpu). Developers will be able to offload AI to its own seperate thread and barring any stupid design flaws the system bus should be able to handle the AI along with everything else very well. Lets hope sony puts some more graphics memory on board so we dont end up with a ps2 anti aliasing problem.