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Skyrim's Radiant AI Downgraded?

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#21
GoodfellowGoodspring

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Ive been calling for a NPC sechedule overhaul since the game's launch. You would often not be able to find certain quest ncpcs in Oblivion because they would be visiting a neighbouring city or something. Tracking them down would reveal their life, why they travel, what they were going for etc. In Skyrim everyone is static and are way too controlled mainly to make them easier to find, most never sleep, eat or visit a chapel once a week.

 

Overall i blame the success of Oblivion and how console players made that success, it may be the PC gamers who passionately play the game for years after release due to modding. But its the console gamers who make the profit, Bethesda sold out many of Oblivion's best features in order to please the mass market. Yeah it has fancy graphics, you can kill stuff and become a hero. But many of them will sell the game after a first playthrough. They never think of how shallow the game feels, how every day feels the same. They just want to level up so they can make gold armour and go ride a dragon.

 

- Oh and i miss how npcs used to gossip amongst each other. NPCs just stand there either using a idle marker or staring at you (why does every npc stare at you when you enter a room?!) Having them talk amongst themselves (like in Oblivion,) would add to the realism and emptiness. The only places i have seen this happen is with Vilja and with interesting npcs, both mods and both have me sitting there listening because its something new to explore.


Edited by GoodfellowGoodspring, 28 February 2014 - 02:30 AM.


#22
Rennn

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Ive been calling for a NPC sechedule overhaul since the game's launch. You would often not be able to find certain quest ncpcs in Oblivion because they would be visiting a neighbouring city or something. Tracking them down would reveal their life, why they travel, what they were going for etc. In Skyrim everyone is static and are way too controlled mainly to make them easier to find, most never sleep, eat or visit a chapel once a week.

 

Overall i blame the success of Oblivion and how console players made that success, it may be the PC gamers who passionately play the game for years after release due to modding. But its the console gamers who make the profit, Bethesda sold out many of Oblivion's best features in order to please the mass market. Yeah it has fancy graphics, you can kill stuff and become a hero. But many of them will sell the game after a first playthrough. They never think of how shallow the game feels, how every day feels the same. They just want to level up so they can make gold armour and go ride a dragon.

 

- Oh and i miss how npcs used to gossip amongst each other. NPCs just stand there either using a idle marker or staring at you (why does every npc stare at you when you enter a room?!) Having them talk amongst themselves (like in Oblivion,) would add to the realism and emptiness. The only places i have seen this happen is with Vilja and with interesting npcs, both mods and both have me sitting there listening because its something new to explore.

 

I agree. Even in Oblivion some Dark Brotherhood contracts were amazingly dynamic because the target would be walking between towns. In Skyrim they seem to have cut an alarming amount of that out.

*Sigh* Remember when a sequel didn't make you worry that they'd remove some of the best gameplay mechanics? Bethesda has been chopping stuff out in the name of polish ever since Daggerfall.

 

Some NPCs make idle conversation with each other, at least, though not nearly as many as Oblivion.



#23
LonesomeDrifter

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Ive been calling for a NPC sechedule overhaul since the game's launch. You would often not be able to find certain quest ncpcs in Oblivion because they would be visiting a neighbouring city or something. Tracking them down would reveal their life, why they travel, what they were going for etc. In Skyrim everyone is static and are way too controlled mainly to make them easier to find, most never sleep, eat or visit a chapel once a week.

 

Overall i blame the success of Oblivion and how console players made that success, it may be the PC gamers who passionately play the game for years after release due to modding. But its the console gamers who make the profit, Bethesda sold out many of Oblivion's best features in order to please the mass market. Yeah it has fancy graphics, you can kill stuff and become a hero. But many of them will sell the game after a first playthrough. They never think of how shallow the game feels, how every day feels the same. They just want to level up so they can make gold armour and go ride a dragon.

 

- Oh and i miss how npcs used to gossip amongst each other. NPCs just stand there either using a idle marker or staring at you (why does every npc stare at you when you enter a room?!) Having them talk amongst themselves (like in Oblivion,) would add to the realism and emptiness. The only places i have seen this happen is with Vilja and with interesting npcs, both mods and both have me sitting there listening because its something new to explore.

 

I agree. Even in Oblivion some Dark Brotherhood contracts were amazingly dynamic because the target would be walking between towns. In Skyrim they seem to have cut an alarming amount of that out.

*Sigh* Remember when a sequel didn't make you worry that they'd remove some of the best gameplay mechanics? Bethesda has been chopping stuff out in the name of polish ever since Daggerfall.

 

Some NPCs make idle conversation with each other, at least, though not nearly as many as Oblivion.

 

 

 

Ive been calling for a NPC sechedule overhaul since the game's launch. You would often not be able to find certain quest ncpcs in Oblivion because they would be visiting a neighbouring city or something. Tracking them down would reveal their life, why they travel, what they were going for etc. In Skyrim everyone is static and are way too controlled mainly to make them easier to find, most never sleep, eat or visit a chapel once a week.

 

Overall i blame the success of Oblivion and how console players made that success, it may be the PC gamers who passionately play the game for years after release due to modding. But its the console gamers who make the profit, Bethesda sold out many of Oblivion's best features in order to please the mass market. Yeah it has fancy graphics, you can kill stuff and become a hero. But many of them will sell the game after a first playthrough. They never think of how shallow the game feels, how every day feels the same. They just want to level up so they can make gold armour and go ride a dragon.

 

- Oh and i miss how npcs used to gossip amongst each other. NPCs just stand there either using a idle marker or staring at you (why does every npc stare at you when you enter a room?!) Having them talk amongst themselves (like in Oblivion,) would add to the realism and emptiness. The only places i have seen this happen is with Vilja and with interesting npcs, both mods and both have me sitting there listening because its something new to explore.

 

I second that wholeheartedly. 

 

I wonder how many PC copies of Oblivion were sold in the intervening years...

 

I hate how all these companies have to tone down content just to please a mass audience. I mean, simply creating dynamic character AI can't be that difficult or demanding, they managed to do it in Oblivion, what was stopping them now?

 

One recent game that sold pretty well (especially at retail) and had some form of dynamic NPC behavior was The WItcher 2. 

 

Do today's games have to hand-hold everyone these days 'cause they can't handle a little scavenger hunt, or hate being challenged altogether? 



#24
Rennn

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I second that wholeheartedly. 

 

I wonder how many PC copies of Oblivion were sold in the intervening years...

 

I hate how all these companies have to tone down content just to please a mass audience. I mean, simply creating dynamic character AI can't be that difficult or demanding, they managed to do it in Oblivion, what was stopping them now?

 

One recent game that sold pretty well (especially at retail) and had some form of dynamic NPC behavior was The WItcher 2. 

 

Do today's games have to hand-hold everyone these days 'cause they can't handle a little scavenger hunt, or hate being challenged altogether? 

 

 

I'm not sure exactly how many copies were sold, but Oblivion remained one of the top selling games per year on the 360 and PC until 2010.

 

Plenty of ARPGs have dynamic AI on at least some characters. The fact that Skyrim's was stripped down so much is pretty disappointing for a game that sells itself as "another life in another world."



#25
LonesomeDrifter

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I second that wholeheartedly. 

 

I wonder how many PC copies of Oblivion were sold in the intervening years...

 

I hate how all these companies have to tone down content just to please a mass audience. I mean, simply creating dynamic character AI can't be that difficult or demanding, they managed to do it in Oblivion, what was stopping them now?

 

One recent game that sold pretty well (especially at retail) and had some form of dynamic NPC behavior was The WItcher 2. 

 

Do today's games have to hand-hold everyone these days 'cause they can't handle a little scavenger hunt, or hate being challenged altogether? 

 

 

I'm not sure exactly how many copies were sold, but Oblivion remained one of the top selling games per year on the 360 and PC until 2010.

 

Plenty of ARPGs have dynamic AI on at least some characters. The fact that Skyrim's was stripped down so much is pretty disappointing for a game that sells itself as "another life in another world."

 

 

Clearly it did pretty well.

 

True, but there was no need to cut down an AI like that after already establishing it in Oblivion on a pretty dated engine. They could have done more with it, but they decided not to. 

 

So many characters don't even sleep at night, heck, hunters are never really seen hunting out in the woods. It seems the only characters who have any sort of dynamic schedule are the few that are related to Quests, like the guy from Morthal who does necromancy at late hours of the night... 

 

It just makes most characters in the game seem so uninteresting, you finish a quest for them and they become your friend and...that's all the interaction you have with them. It would have been redeemed with broader dialogue options, favor quests or other mechanics that could help develop their characterization.

 

Maybe Bethesda should take hints from the Vilja mod...

 

In contrast, I just revisited Anvil in Cyrodiil at night, and the only people walking the roads are like three or four city guards, everyone else is asleep at home. 



#26
Niklass

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First off, I love this thread. So glad I decided to check the forum. I love watching all the Oblivion video being posted showing the awesomeness that is random AI. I have massive nostalgiagasms, I think I'll have to replay Oblivion very soon. It will be interesting to see the contrast having played so much Skyrim. To be honest the biggest thing holding me back from playing Oblivion is having to install all the mods because I now myself I would spend so much time on that.  

Edit: NVM I reinstalled Oblivion, actually wasn't that much work because I was smart and kept a folder with all the extracted mods I used in my last playthrough where I put a lot of time into finding all the mods. /Edit

 

Skyrim really feels like it wasn't designed around the idea that the player spends a lot of time in cities. It's almost like they don't want you to do that. Think back to Oblivion or even more extreme in Morrowind how much time I spent INSIDE the cities how much things there were to do how many places to explore. I made an experiment yesterday and decided to explore Whiterun and visit some homes the only NPC home that I could find that wasn't locked was that of Amren and that of the Greymanes. Cities in Skyrim feel like places to sell stuff to get back into the dungeons they feel like a means to an end not something worthwhile in and of itself. /rant


Edited by Niklass, 03 March 2014 - 11:08 AM.


#27
Rennn

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Cities in Skyrim feel like places to sell stuff to get back into the dungeons they feel like a means to an end not something worthwhile in and of itself. /rant

 

I think you might be right. And that wouldn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, except Skyrim's dungeons really aren't better than Oblivion's, so it doesn't offset the loss of explorable towns.

 

The main thing still holding me to Skyrim is all the mods to improve polish and realism. Back in 2006-2009 when most of the Oblivion mods were in development, it seems like people paid a lot less attention to little details, like footprints in snow or visible breath in cold weather, and focused on new dungeons or gameplay mechanics instead. Ofc, it makes sense because back in 2006-2009 those things would have been silly wastes of performance that no games really had anyway. But now, I'm finding it hard to give up little immersion enhancers like that.


Edited by Rennn, 03 March 2014 - 08:51 AM.


#28
LonesomeDrifter

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First off, I love this thread. So glad I decided to check the forum. I love watching all the Oblivion video being posted showing the awesomeness that is random AI. I have massive nostalgiagasms, I think I'll have to replay Oblivion very soon. It will be interesting to see the contrast having played so much Oblivion

 

Glad you're enjoying this thread. :)

 

I do agree with you on the cities part. It does seem that Bethesda assumed people would spend more time away from the city and more time in dungeons or forts. Guess that's why NPC's aren't as dynamic as they should be. They probably guessed no one would notice.

 

Then again, that is why mods like AI OVerhaul and Interesting NPC's exist, to fill the empty space that Bethesda didn't fill.


Edited by LonesomeDrifter, 03 March 2014 - 05:43 PM.


#29
LonesomeDrifter

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I think you might be right. And that wouldn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, except Skyrim's dungeons really aren't better than Oblivion's, so it doesn't offset the loss of explorable towns.

 

The main thing still holding me to Skyrim is all the mods to improve polish and realism. Back in 2006-2009 when most of the Oblivion mods were in development, it seems like people paid a lot less attention to little details, like footprints in snow or visible breath in cold weather, and focused on new dungeons or gameplay mechanics instead. Ofc, it makes sense because back in 2006-2009 those things would have been silly wastes of performance that no games really had anyway. But now, I'm finding it hard to give up little immersion enhancers like that.

 

 

Very true, sometimes the little things like immersion enhancers really do add more polish to the game, even when some people see it as unnecessary. 



#30
Exyll

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Ive been calling for a NPC sechedule overhaul since the game's launch. You would often not be able to find certain quest ncpcs in Oblivion because they would be visiting a neighbouring city or something. Tracking them down would reveal their life, why they travel, what they were going for etc. In Skyrim everyone is static and are way too controlled mainly to make them easier to find, most never sleep, eat or visit a chapel once a week.

 

Overall i blame the success of Oblivion and how console players made that success, it may be the PC gamers who passionately play the game for years after release due to modding. But its the console gamers who make the profit, Bethesda sold out many of Oblivion's best features in order to please the mass market. Yeah it has fancy graphics, you can kill stuff and become a hero. But many of them will sell the game after a first playthrough. They never think of how shallow the game feels, how every day feels the same. They just want to level up so they can make gold armour and go ride a dragon.

 

- Oh and i miss how npcs used to gossip amongst each other. NPCs just stand there either using a idle marker or staring at you (why does every npc stare at you when you enter a room?!) Having them talk amongst themselves (like in Oblivion,) would add to the realism and emptiness. The only places i have seen this happen is with Vilja and with interesting npcs, both mods and both have me sitting there listening because its something new to explore.

+1

Sorry to necro but I'm coming back to Skyrim after letting the mods and expansions develop and this is the #1 that sticks out between the two. And very good point about PC vs Console players. I kept waiting to start my nighttime adventures in Skyrim as I loved to in Oblivion by following all the vendors, seeing who they talked to, about what, etc etc. And the chaos!  Every corner you'd turn someone had their weapon and ready to do in...someone. I never knew who, but I was always ready to investigate! Trying to track down some of the NPCs in Oblivion was a real task.

Skyrim NPCs dont have that same 'variety' to them, you know exactly what to expect in any town now. Reading through this it seems Oblivion's AI may have been too ambitious for it's time, but it's the ambition that makes for the memorable moments!  

Graphics arent the only thing to VGs and even less of a priority in RPGs. Yes Skyrim looks great, but Oblivion still holds #1 RPG position imo, just for the scale it tried to achieve.


Edited by Exyll, 22 May 2014 - 05:16 PM.






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