The Suffering: A Game AI Case Study

Greg Alt

This paper overviews some of the main components of the AI system for The Suffering, a single-player 1st/3rd-person action/horror game by Surreal Software for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and XBox consoles (2004). A simpler version was used in the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002). The behavior hierarchy, pathfinding, and steering components are described. The AI system was designed to satisfy goals based on lessons learned from previous projects and work within the constraints of developing a commercial title for videogame consoles. The main goals were to have: a modular behavior system able to support a large variety of behaviors, memory-efficient and robust saved games, many distinct NPC types with different styles of movement and combat, fast and robust pathfinding, robust movement and collision, and modular steering behaviors. The goals were largely met, though some issues became apparent in the course of development, primarily difficulties for designers with setting up movement graphs and NPC logic.

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