How Neural Nets Can Make Video Game Characters Even More Realistic

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 - 11:29AM
Technology
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 - 11:29AM
How Neural Nets Can Make Video Game Characters Even More Realistic
Image credit: theorangeduck.com
Video games are the one medium where phrases like "beautiful score" and "lifelike landscapes" can be found alongside critiques like "bizarre horse physics." Skyrim it usually the target of these kinds of criticisms, but anyone who's played Mass Effect or other triple-A games is familiar with a more pervasive problem: pathfinding.

How many hours have been lost to watching an NPC walk endlessly into walls or a giant rock? It's staggering. Even more common are the moments when a PC avatar starts to navigate some weird terrain, like a mountainside or a rocky spot, and starts inexplicably hopping or floating to try and deal with the landscape. All of this can be solved, hopefully, by incorporating neural nets into characters' movement:



This video comes from The Orange Duck.com, whose author Daniel Holden is a researcher at Ubisoft Montreal. He's been experimenting with "Machine Learning for character animation and other applications," and from what we've seen so far, he may be our last, best hope at bearable NPC companions.

Godspeed, Daniel Holden. Godspeed.
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