Interviews

Crysis

Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli and lead game designer Bernd Diemar on the PC FPS phenomenon

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The AI is applied on bigger creatures. On the Hunter for example, it has sensors so it can hear and see and recognise the biggest threat. It will try to freeze you, shatter you, grab you, throw you around, it tries to pin you with its legs, it's very, very intelligent for an AI. So we're pushing that kind of AI for example, also we're pushing the vehicles' AI. For the North Koreans, the human element is negotiating objects better, making them more aware of the environments and then ultimately the Zero-G enemies, the aliens themselves, that [environment and] AI is going to show you a lot of gameplay variations.

AI-wise we're pushing everything. On the aliens' AI side I think we're going to set a new bar - that's our goal and intentions. On the human AI, we're not pushing as hard, but there will be a tangible difference to the next generation of human AI, but we need to acknowledge that the aliens are our key focus. We want to be number one in the human AI again, but we're not pushing it as hard as the alien AI. There won't be any weaknesses like the mutants in Far Cry, that won't happen this time.

Bernd Diemer I think two areas concerning AI where we've made the biggest leaps forward are that the AI is aware of the environment and also aware that the environment is changing, for example with falling trees. So they need to react because you can use a tree to block a road for example, so the AI has to do something smart and not just bump into it. This is just one example, but it can apply to a lot of things, especially in the jungle environment. They don't only have to react to sounds the player makes, but when you brush against a tree or leaves, they have to see it and know that it's the player causing it.

The second the thing is readability. We can make an AI that's so damn smart that you wouldn't ever have a chance of winning the game, and the art is to make the AI seem very, very smart, but it also gives the player an option to be even smarter. One thing we had in Far Cry is the AIs talking to each other and they'll say 'I'll check out this corner over there', which was kind of cheesy.

In Crysis we're going to take that to the next level so they comment on what they actually see. It's like a guy saying 'I think I heard something' or 'I think I saw something over there', or he could say 'I'm hit'. These are very simple examples but he could call for covering fire or say 'I'm going forward' or 'flank him'. It's very important because when we added the readability signals, suddenly levels became much, much more fun. I could hide behind a rock and hear that the enemy is doing something, I wasn't really sure what, but they were aware of me and trying to counter my actions.

Cevat Yerli: What's important is that some of that was there in Far Cry but it was an 'I', but in Crysis they talk about 'we', it reinforces the group tactics as well, it's an intuitive AI aspect. In Crysis it's more about the group recognising and that's very important to amplify the group tactics. Also we've improved the cosmetic nature of the animation if you like, to make the animation more beautiful, so we implemented a new animation technology with AI and physics driving it, so your opponents look more real and more believable.

How many weapons will we get to play with in the game and can you describe the most important ones or at least your favourites?

Cevat Yerli: We have a Gauss rifle, it's an alien technology-based weapon, we have the SCAR, which is the most advanced human assault rifle and we're getting a next generation version of it essentially, with a number of mod kits for it, including sniper configurations. But we also have a rocket launcher as you have seen, with a mini-gun version, which we're going to remodel to a more intermediary version in the final game. We also have things like grenades and C4 and also some other weapon classes which I can't talk about for now.

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