Gaming is going backwards.

Apr 18, 2018
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dunpachi.com
#52
I think you're right, maybe I underestimated the challenge presented by the games because it turned into an unfortunate meme. I think simply calling them "hard" doesn't do them justice. They excel at putting you on edge, every Souls game is a bit exhaustive. They present a system where death really means something bad for the player (instead of AAA games where you can kill yourself real quick to reset the stealth bits instead of going for a shootout, fuck Uncharted 4) and yet it's ever present because of the mix of hard hitting enemies and ridiculous death traps. I think it's more comparatively punishing than hard. You can't afford to make mistakes and you know you will make them, which makes the experience feel more daunting. Which personally I think it's fucking awesome.
I think perseverance (or endurance?) are a facet of being hard. To me, that sounds like what you are describing. An example would be the shmup genre. Beating a shmup on one credit has more to do with practice and endurance than fast reflexes. Your blood gets pumping as the final boss approaches, you lose your cool, and then you're dead after 20 straight minutes of expert dodging. As you put it, "[Souls games] excel at putting you on edge" and this is exactly right. It's not like each individual enemy is impossibly hard. It's not like each corridor or stairwell or catwalk is booby-trapped. However, put these together and it's a challenge merely to persevere.

That's a good insight on stealthy mechanics and amping up the consequences of death. I don't think strict consequences necessarily equate to hard (that isn't what you said, of course), but it does require more endurance out of the player. Just a different facet of "hard", I suppose.

My problem is that this unease at the prospect of failure in a game shouldn't be an unique trait. The lack of tension in most modern games eventually makes them feel a bit boring outside of obvious spectacle or nice stories and shit.
We used to have a market that was uniquely designed to give us hard-but-fair experiences and it worked shockingly well: arcade games. They were sold to two customers, the player and the arcade proprietor. If it was too hard, the players wouldn't play and the arcade proprietor would lose money. If it was too easy, the player could spend minimal money to play for a long time and the proprietor would also lose money. I have no clue how this would be imitated in today's market other than perhaps looking back and studying the elements that defined hard-but-fair games from the past.

Now, please don't misunderstand. While I love arcade design, it's not for everyone and there are reasons why it faded away. But it's worth remembering from where "hard games" arrived.

The last level on The Last of Us hits it home nicely as well because the game puts you in this really urgent mindset. You gotta go fast, take fools out, stakes are high and you feel the rush in the gunfight. The game achieves this tension through a completely different method than Souls game and it's pretty much as effective at getting you invested and keeping you focuses. If you have no reason to pay close attention to what you're doing, eventually you zone out and since games are long experiences you won't remember most of them. But you do remember Sen's Fortress. And you do remember Valley of Drakes, Demon Ruins and so on.
"Memorization" gets a bad rep, but there are few mechanics in gaming more satisfying than figuring out a pattern or a run, executing it well, and emerging victorious. We remember these sections because we had to remember these sections. We couldn't have proceeded through them otherwise, and I think that's something to be celebrated and studied and tweaked, not avoided.

Good point about being "invested" in the game for the purpose of focus. Focus, intensity, whatever you want to call it is what makes games thrilling. Many ways to achieve that feeling, but difficulty is probably the most reliable (at the risk of alienating unskilled players). Narrative tries to achieve focus through different means (at the risk of alienating people who want a challenge and/or prefer to engage with the mechanics instead of the plot).
 
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#54
Yeah and they seem to unable to understand that maybe those features have a target audience in mind. It's like today everything needs to be for everyone, it's ridiculous.
Ridiculous how? When you shift your focus to "make money" almost every developer decision discussed on the board makes sense.

They need to be for everyone because everyone is more money than someone. Then you can make a stupid franchise out of that game if it succeeded with some demographics and voila another cash cow.
 
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#55
Games are made easier and less complicated to attract a larger audience pool, for, more profits.

But at the same time, they are given a lot of pseudo-intellectual bullshit game mechanics to make casuals and dude-bros feel like they're playing a really complicated game.

Basically I hate Gears of War.
 
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#56
It becomes worse when they consider Turn based RPGs “grindy”because the boss becomes little to hard for them. instead of different tactics to beat them they think they should grind more.
Ya but the reviewers have no problems playing Pokemon games, they are still using old jrpg turn based combat, it shouldn't be a issue.
 
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#57
I was actually just thinking that after I posted it. Agreed!

There are still games till this day that are "retro" not made by Nintendo, that I still cannot beat with the OG setups.
Yeah, those games were hard but in a way that I think wouldn't fly nowadays. They were so timing intensive and "unfair" sometimes that people would call them out as they do many times for newer games.

In reality, most people want a "challenge". That means a challenge under their own terms and what they consider making an effort to overcome. That also means not a real challenge.
 

Danjin44

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#58
Ya but the reviewers have no problems playing Pokemon games, they are still using old jrpg turn based combat, it shouldn't be a issue.
That still big mystery for me. They are fine for Pokemon stay turn based but not fine with other games.
 
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#59
I think its cause these casuals grew up playing Pokemon, and give it a pass. Though they are narrow minded about other jrpgs they didn't play. Id love to talk to some game reviewers who complain about turn based rpgs, and don't complain about pokemons turn based combat they still have been using since red and blue.

I actually like turn based combat, it makes you think and plan things out, its almost like playing chess.
 
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#60
It becomes worse when they consider Turn based RPGs “grindy”because the boss becomes little to hard for them. instead of different tactics to beat them they think they should grind more.
Urggggg yeah. I saw this complaint leveled at Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Octopath, which really shines a spotlight on the reviewer's incompetence, seeing how one of the key defining aspects of these games is how they are very difficult unless you are exploiting weaknesses (and building your party accordingly).
 
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Danjin44

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#61
Urggggg yeah. I saw this complaint leveled at Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Octopath, which really shines a spotlight on the reviewer's incompetence, seeing how one of the key defining aspects of these games is how they are very difficult unless you are exploiting weaknesses (and building your party accordingly).
If you listen to some of their podcast they talk about how they need to finish the game as fast as possible to make it for the review. Makes me think that reviewers play games much differently than most people do. They don't want to fully engage with the game or take advantage of system the game has because they in the hurry to finish it as fast as possible so they can move on to next game to review.
 
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#63
i know OP is about AI where i've commented earlier on, but just wanted to say it definitely feels like gaming at its roots is going backwards with the business plans going forwards.

it's so hard to enjoy an industry when every turn is an obvious nickle and dime scheme.

the business practices leave such a bad taste in my mouth, and thats on top of the rest of the shit we are consumers have to deal with.
 
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#64
I remember some articles, earlier this gen, about some AI middleware that could be implemented and tailored as devs seemed fit (difficulty / hw resources) but I never heard anything about it again. Maybe it was too expensive or was never completed.
 

Danjin44

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#65
I guess the "almost" includes the stupid AI that plagues turn based RPGs. That is actually that really bothers me, it's like the only thinking being in the game is the player.
??? Bosses in games like Nocturne and Strange Journey and some of extra bosses in Octopath are hard not because of “AI” rather than it because of their design.

Actually I will give you good example with one of the extra bosses in Octopath. One of the side quests you need beat this giant wolf. Now what you notice with this boss when you first fight him is that he does high physical damage and when he summons smaller wolfs(which have no elemental weakness) it block out 1-2 of his weakness but no problem, If you have Tressa as your party member and put runelord job on her you can use Rune transfer and sidesteb that everyone in your party can evade physical attacks and also remember every time you break his shield he will have more shields later turn. Now suddenly he use "howls" that basically undos all your buffs and even divine buffs and he summons 3 wolfs at same time and blocks out all his weakness and because you broke his shields before, now he now 12 shields you need to break but thanks to the smaller wolfs he summoned all his weakness are blocked.

All of this has NOTHING to do with "AI". This all about how developers design the boss.
 
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#66
It became too mainstream. In the past they at least had to try a little bit, but now that everybody games they only have to appeal to the lowest denominator and still have the game do well.
 
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#69
I think perseverance (or endurance?) are a facet of being hard. To me, that sounds like what you are describing. An example would be the shmup genre. Beating a shmup on one credit has more to do with practice and endurance than fast reflexes. Your blood gets pumping as the final boss approaches, you lose your cool, and then you're dead after 20 straight minutes of expert dodging. As you put it, "[Souls games] excel at putting you on edge" and this is exactly right. It's not like each individual enemy is impossibly hard. It's not like each corridor or stairwell or catwalk is booby-trapped. However, put these together and it's a challenge merely to persevere.

That's a good insight on stealthy mechanics and amping up the consequences of death. I don't think strict consequences necessarily equate to hard (that isn't what you said, of course), but it does require more endurance out of the player. Just a different facet of "hard", I suppose.
Agreed, the shmup example perfectly describes the kind of experience we should have at least once throughout every game. You have complete control over the mechanics, but you could mess up on your own and get punished for it. The fun there obviously isn't in the punishment, but the possibility of it. It's the best way to keep someone engaged. If I don't feel like sitting on my ass behind a chest high wall in Uncharted 4 I could just off myself and try another route through chest high bushes. Since it reloads you right there and checkpoints are so incredibly lenient, you frequently cheese through the game. And the combat mechanics of course aren't complex or explosive enough to go for mastery, so you just kind of roll with it to see the story. That to me is not optimal game design.

"Memorization" gets a bad rep, but there are few mechanics in gaming more satisfying than figuring out a pattern or a run, executing it well, and emerging victorious. We remember these sections because we had to remember these sections. We couldn't have proceeded through them otherwise, and I think that's something to be celebrated and studied and tweaked, not avoided.

Good point about being "invested" in the game for the purpose of focus. Focus, intensity, whatever you want to call it is what makes games thrilling. Many ways to achieve that feeling, but difficulty is probably the most reliable (at the risk of alienating unskilled players). Narrative tries to achieve focus through different means (at the risk of alienating people who want a challenge and/or prefer to engage with the mechanics instead of the plot).
I feel like people bring up memorization as a way of dismissing a challenge they didn't feel like trying. And that's a bad criticism because if the game is rewarding, memorization is not a problem because you feel like doing it. If the game is shit, there's no reward. I agree with your point about arcade design and I badly miss level based games. There are some still getting release, mainly those by Platinum, but nowadays everything feels like a huge sprawling mess of different concepts. Levels were great because while they feature different concepts as well, they did so through self contained bits. DOOM 2016 had a bit of this as well so maybe we're due for a resurgence of this kind of game.

Ridiculous how? When you shift your focus to "make money" almost every developer decision discussed on the board makes sense.

They need to be for everyone because everyone is more money than someone. Then you can make a stupid franchise out of that game if it succeeded with some demographics and voila another cash cow.
I'm talking about gaming journalists, not publishers or devs. A review that brings up turn based combat as a negative in the 11th game of a series that always featured turn based combat is like a review complaining that jazz music features saxophones or that an action movie has explosions. It's stupid.
 
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#71
I guess the "almost" includes the stupid AI that plagues turn based RPGs. That is actually that really bothers me, it's like the only thinking being in the game is the player.
You have to look at games like Chrono Trigger, and how some bosses you have to use magic on them to lower their defense, or have items to protect you from getting confused. A lot of turn based rpgs you can't just sit there and mash attack, cause you will just lose if you don't heal, you defense spells, and know the bosses weakness.

A lot of the best bosses in video games will actually make you think about beating them, instead of just mashing attack, or just mindlessly shooting at them till their HP runs out.
 
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#72
Yeah, console players don't play some of the most input intensive 3D games out there. They play mostly button mashers and games with assisted/auto aiming.

And what would you call a "tough" 3rd person action game? If you're going to say something like Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, etc., I'm going to laugh at you. The AI in those games is a joke.

I don't think a Japanese developer has ever actually made a challenging 3rd person action game. They've made cheap ones and ones where the AI cheats a lot. Actually challenging because of the AI? Nope.
You lost all credibility there when you said Ninja Gaiden has joke AI.
 
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#73
You lost all credibility there when you said Ninja Gaiden has joke AI.
How so? It's a mass of enemies that are designed to go down so you can hack and slash your way through them. I can guarantee you the "A.I." for those enemies are maybe a few methods of code for each enemy. I think you'd maybe find more intricate subroutines for controlling behavior in the original Streets of Rage games.
 
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Danjin44

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#74
How so? It's a mass of enemies that are designed to go down so you can hack and slash your way through them. I can guarantee you the "A.I." for those enemies are maybe a few methods of code for each enemy. I think you'd maybe find more intricate subroutines for controlling behavior in the original Streets of Rage games.
Games like Bayonetta, DMC and even Souls games don’t need advance AI, what they need is good enemy design with interesting attack patterns.
 
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#75
AI has become a joke. It doesn't help matters when one side of the so-called enthusiast 'hardcore' gaming crowd mostly just complain resolution, framerate & other visual elements (probably because they've invested in a TV/monitor/hardware for that purpose), whilst the other side bitch & moan about narrative & the 'social' elements (is the main character a he/she or whatnot).

AI has become an afterthought & the fact the biggest sellers right now (for example COD) have the same freaking AI as last gen (10 years ago, i.e. Modern Warfare 2's AI is very similar to recent COD's) is actually a serious disgrace.
 

Danjin44

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#76
AI has become a joke. It doesn't help matters when one side of the so-called enthusiast 'hardcore' gaming crowd mostly just complain resolution, framerate & other visual elements (probably because they've invested in a TV/monitor/hardware for that purpose), whilst the other side bitch & moan about narrative & the 'social' elements (is the main character a he/she or whatnot).

AI has become an afterthought & the fact the biggest sellers right now (for example COD) have the same freaking AI as last gen (10 years ago, i.e. Modern Warfare 2's AI is very similar to recent COD's) is actually a serious disgrace.
The thing is games like COD and BF games are MP focus games so in developers eye why should waste time and resource create advance AI when they have MP so people can go against other human player.
 
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#77
How so? It's a mass of enemies that are designed to go down so you can hack and slash your way through them. I can guarantee you the "A.I." for those enemies are maybe a few methods of code for each enemy. I think you'd maybe find more intricate subroutines for controlling behavior in the original Streets of Rage games.
When you compare NG AI with other 3D hack-n-slash games then you will find that it behaves in a much more advanced way. There is a reason that when the original 3D NG and NGB came out, its combat and enemy AI was praised a lot. All AIs in all games are few method of codes only but how well they are tuned to react based on what the player is doing is what makes the difference.
 
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#79
I'm guessing that building a game like Far Cry 5 in 4K HDR and a massive world leaves less room for a competent AI. F.E.A.R was a linear game, graphic Wise from what I remembered (played it on 360) it was mainly warehouses, even at the time of its release it wasn't a very good looking game and I never like the art but yeah the gunfights were amazing.
 
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Reason why enemy AI hasn't improved is because - generally speaking - making games hard limits their sales potential. Most people don't want to put in the time and effort to git really gud, they want to see the sweet sites of Assassins Creed, be made to feel like they're an absolute badass and convinced they've progressed and overcome some tricky stuff. You don't need advanced AI for that and your budget is better spent elsewhere. Not saying I think that's good or right or agree with it but that's how publishers would see the issue.
 
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#83
The real reason is making complex, clever, AI is that its a lot of extra work for not necessarily that much more "fun". There are good reasons why in every ID shooter since Doom (maybe Wolf even) enemies first shot at you upon detection will always miss. Smarter is not always better.

The other point about AI (and this goes for game cameras too) is that the behavior does not just occur by creating a better "digital brain" for your entities. it requires a lot of rigging in the environment data to function at its best, and as such the size and complexity of the environments has a major impact on workload.
 
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#85
I kinda remember something about AI being intentionally dumb, because, it's easy to make a AI that is too good, which devs think risks pushing players away, and invest less in the game. With less investment, they are more likely to not buy the sequel.
 
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#86
When i say planner, i am referring to the technical system that works behind the scenes, not about what the visual end-result is on screen. :pie_winking:


Along that line, Crysis is another of those titles where AI can be quite clever. Even was pushed as a PR point.


Could you elaborate on the following?
  • What would you call a ''Challenging 3rd person action game''?
  • Which 3rd person action games from Japan are you considering cheap?
  • Is one of these called Dark Souls? If yes: What makes you think the AI is cheating? If not: In which 3rd person action game from Japan (that you have played) is the AI actively and demonstrably cheating?

On its own, that statement is false.

If you meant '''PC games taking advantage of the platform'' it would be more accurate, but still debateable.

Examples of PC only games, both past, present, and indie:
  • Shattered Horizon
  • Star Citizen (The obvious ones)
  • PositronX
  • Universal Combat
  • Elderborn
  • Splitgate: Arena Warfare
  • Citybattle: Virtual Earth
  • Arthurian Legends
  • Kings & Heroes
I could keep on, but this should be sufficient.
The fact that you had to reach so far to include games that haven't even been released yet says it all.
 
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#88
The fact that you had to reach so far to include games that haven't even been released yet says it all.
Dude, just give up. All your points have been soundly defeated. You refuse to back up your claims, and have belittled yourself to drive by posting those who actually DID back up their points.

You waded out a bit too far, and got swept out by the undertow. You're drowning here. Quit fighting, and doggy paddle yo ass back to shore.
 
Jul 24, 2018
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#89
Dude, just give up. All your points have been soundly defeated. You refuse to back up your claims, and have belittled yourself to drive by posting those who actually DID back up their points.

You waded out a bit too far, and got swept out by the undertow. You're drowning here. Quit fighting, and doggy paddle yo ass back to shore.
You mean I'm absolutely right and no one offered a compelling counterpoint? Agreed.
 
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#91
I kinda remember something about AI being intentionally dumb, because, it's easy to make a AI that is too good, which devs think risks pushing players away, and invest less in the game. With less investment, they are more likely to not buy the sequel.
I'd say that's bullshit from those devs, i.e. smarter AI (for example in a shooter) can be counter-balanced by fewer waves of enemies (& even destructible environments). If the enemies take cover, work together, flank & apply actual tactics (& attempt to save themselves when under fire), I cannot see how this would hurt anything - especially if the friendly AI around the player (often present in shooter) are also smarter, instead of getting easily killed or standing out in the open like idiots.

There's nothing more revolting in a shooter than wave after wave of enemies rushing at the player (including the now ubiquitous shotgun dudes + enemies with shields), with all them equally stupid with zero self-preservation skills, whilst the 'challenge' rests within killing as many as possible as quickly as possible. I'm thinking of that disgusting final section of the Pripyat mission in Modern Warfare where the player is surrounded by dozens of enemies with the combined intelligence of a half decayed zombie.
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
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#92
The fact that you had to reach so far to include games that haven't even been released yet says it all.
I observe a percieved unwillingness to engage in an actual discussion. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Here is a small list of PC exclusives that have been released.
  • Mortyr: Operation Thunderstorm
  • Rise of the Triad 2013
  • Iron Sight
  • Brigand: Oaxaca
  • Reframed
  • Wickland
  • PWND
Also, as you might have missed it, could you elaborate on the following, as detailed in this post here. Refer to that post for the context in which the following is asked:
  • What would you call a ''Challenging 3rd person action game''?
  • Which 3rd person action games from Japan are you considering cheap?
  • Is one of these called Dark Souls? If yes: What makes you think the AI is cheating? If not: In which 3rd person action game from Japan (that you have played) is the AI actively and demonstrably cheating?
 
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#93

The above video is an example of the complex AI systems found in F.E.A.R, a game that is now thirteen years old.

Compare this with the virtually brain dead AI found in modern games like Far Cry 5; a title developed by thousands of developers across multiple Ubisoft studios — it’s night and day.

What the hell happened? Where have our standards gone?
Game getting more mainstream, game dev want to appeal to the lowest common denominator where casual gamers can easily beat games proceed to buy DLCs or forced to play online in the hopes of making money via in game purchasing.
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
Jun 25, 2018
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#95
What an awesome game is f.e.ar.
The reason i have it and Fear 2 and Fear Files, all on X360. A bit dumbed down, but the original beats the sequel (And certainly Fear 3 which had very little to do with Fear in general).

Useless trivia: City Interactive used (and abused) the Fear tech for a whole line of games between 2008 and 2011, the majority with pretty much the same system spec as the original Fear (Meaning that, for instance, you could get playable frame rates with a Radeon 9700 Pro). Somewhere after 2010 they seemingly modified the FEAR build of the engine, as it then only suppoed Shader Model 3 hardware.

Together with their usage of Chrome Engine 2, there is quite an interesting budget list to be found there. Perhaps for a thread sometime in the future. :)
 
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#96
Man, I'd kill for a modern FEAR ala DOOM 2016.

But yeah, games are mostly brain dead experiences these days. I really have nothing else to add other than it sucks. I've just learned how to live with it I guess.

That reminds me. MCC recently got that 4K update so I should give Halo 3 another go on Legendary. Peak Bungie AI.
 
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#98
The real reason is making complex, clever, AI is that its a lot of extra work for not necessarily that much more "fun". There are good reasons why in every ID shooter since Doom (maybe Wolf even) enemies first shot at you upon detection will always miss. Smarter is not always better.
Good point, and applicable to the example of Far Cry 5. Take, for instance, the gameplay mechanic of outposts, where you sneak into an enemy compound and single-handedly eliminate a dozen or more armed guards. If the AI even approximated human behavior, this would be practically impossible to do.

There are games that benefit from good AI, but high-body-count shooters aren't amongst them.
 
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#99
The good AI may be limited to genres where people do care about the additional nuance that good AI adds.

Consider the rise of 4x strategy sims on PC (basically, anything made by Paradox, but also stuff like Sins of a Solar Empire, AI War: Fleet Command, Dominions 4, etc) and how strong AI is openly celebrated when the game has it. So perhaps strong AI will only be prevalent when devs get strong feedback (and praise) from the fanbase. Otherwise, as @Snow_Lizard and @Clear said, devs will omit it because it's a ton of extra work for something that many people wouldn't find any more "fun".

To draw a comparison, I saw this happen about 6 years ago in the boardgame hobby. A lot of the really cool new conventions that popped up (like games that could be played co-op or even solo) early on became so over-copied that the mechanic almost became dull as a result. For instance, so many co-op boardgames resort to nothing more than shuffled decks of cards as your "opponent", which is super sleek and works at a certain level, but it doesn't often provide a lot of depth. This makes a lot of co-op boardgames boring once you solve for the randomized factors.

Every FPS is a cover shooter nowadays. That's why I loved DOOM 2016. It felt fresh merely because enemies weren't constantly ducking for cover in the same cheesy, slow, exaggerated dive or roll. Modern AI feels bad because we've all pretty much "solved" it and we know how to exploit it.
 
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F.E.A.R. sold poorly did it not?

Why make super awesome AI if the game doesn't sell?

This is classic conflating AAA with the entirety of the medium. Gaming has never been better and I've been around for most of it.
I mean, it sold well enough to generate expansions, two other sequels, and an online game. I think F.E.A.R. did come out at a strange time though, but correct me if I'm wrong, I always thought it did pretty well actually.

Yeah, I agree. I personally don't see the connection with the gaming "going backwards" comment, but it HAS become more mainstream by a landslide. Which in the long run is going to affect quite a few things. Times change, fads/trends change, and then some. Those "things" are generally going to be reflective in the product as a result of time, it's just how it works. It's why playing older games when they were new didn't feel that hard, but nowadays they feel harder than ever. We were taken away from what was normal then, and got used to what is considered normal now.

That being said, I don't think things have taken a step back per se. I just think that because things have changed so much as a result of more modern scopes becoming so much broader nowadays. More space is made to handle more "things", which creates more "things" as a result, but there is sacrifice in some areas because of it.

If I'm rambling at all, excuse me, it's been a long day. :(
 
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