Friday 21 November 2008

Left4Dead Week: An Open Question for the former Turtle Rock Studios

Left4Dead week will feature one short piece on Left4Dead each day this week to celebrate the full release of the game.

I see Left4Dead has inherited what I like to think of as the ‘grenade problem’. What I mean by this is that the investment required to get the AI to use grenades correctly is too high to justify; and unlike many other AI problems, an intermediate implementation (that is getting the AI to pickup and throw grenades badly) is worse than no implementation at all.

Ironically, the friendly AI bots in Counter Strike seem to use grenades reasonably well, and Turtle Rock Studios implemented this as well. So I was wondering what the issue behind not doing the same in Left4Dead was? And I suspect it is a simple return on investment problem. Left4Dead is intended as a coop game and friendly AI using grenades was well down the list.

(Other than that, great job guys).

[Edit: Robin has suggested an interesting alternative in the comments].


roBurky said...

I would say it's down to how important the grenade usage is to the game. When you have a team of humans, deciding when is the appropriate moment to throw a molotov or pipebomb is important - each time you use one it completely changes that encounter, and you'll do quite a bit of communicating about when is the right time.

If the AI bots stole all the molotovs before you could take them, then always set the tank on fire for you, it wouldn't be terribly interesting. It's taking all those tactical decisions away from the players.

Whereas in counter-strike, everyone throws grenades at every opportunity. They're not such a big deal.

Andrew Doull said...

Thanks Robin, your insight is always appreciated.


Andrew Doull said...

PS: Looking forward to that 10th class. Any strictly hypothetical suggestions as to what it might be?