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Randomizing constraints?

Posted by Michael on May 25th, 2006, in Development

Randomness is an easy solution for the problem of action selection in an autonomous character. For reasons that I will get into in a later post, complete randomness is not desirable. In order to create believable characters, one needs to develop constraints on this randomness.

But what if we turn the logic around?
At the other side of the spectrum, we find totally scripted behaviour. Would it be possible to inject randomness into scripted behaviour in such a way that the character seems autonomous?

We would first need to define scripting. Obviously if all behaviour of the character is scripted, then randomness cannot not have any deep effects. Unless the intervention of randomness applies to the very linearity of the script. In a branched structure, randomness could be applied every time a new branch needs to be chosen. Or the script could be cut up into sequences that each have a limited amount of sequences that can follow it. Randomness could be applied to the selection. The smaller these sequences are, the more varied the behaviour will be.

It seems that by randomizing the constraints or constraining the randomness, one simply gets closer to the other as we improve the quality. So the ideal system lies somewhere in the middle. Randomizing the constraints might be a more convenient way to author the system because it deals with desired behaviour as its material.

Comment by Michael

Posted on May 25, 2006 at 8:09 pm

One of the problems with scripting is that it can be very labour-intensive. Especially since it needs to be done for each character. But perhaps there is a solution for this. Either by generating the scripts. Or by making each scripted sequence so small that it can be used by multiple characters.

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