Star Citizen fans were privy to a 45-minute “Around The Verse” stream yesterday, and it focused purely on how NPCs and AI will contribute to the developing game. Details were dropped with regard to missions, multi-crew ships and more.
Speaking first to overall progress, Cloud Imperium Games universe lead Tony Zurovec said the team is “cresting the hill with regard to the initial tier of architectural functionality.” The discussion then went into much greater detail about what that milestone actually means.
With missions, for example, Zurovec expressed hope that soon his team will have reached a stage where they can promote true mission variety. “We won’t be talking about 17 mission [types],” he mused, “you’ll be talking about a much larger potential number of missions.” These thoughts echo those of studio director Chris Roberts, who talked about the game’s planet variety earlier this month.
What that essentially means is that, when touching down on certain kinds of planets, the same people won’t always be waiting for you to complete the same tasks. The locations where NPCs live and the things they request will change dynamically based on the specific planet. This essentially creates mission variety through an algorithm. Programmer Francesco Roccucci piped in to say “I think the main thing with the [AI] that I’m really trying to push is the fact that they understand the environment. And you are sure.”
As well as being real, however, NPCs must also interface correctly with Star Citizen’s revolving door of human players. Success in this area is paramount for concepts like multi-crew ships, where mixed groups of AI and humans work toward a common goal.
On his end, Zurovec called the planned system of AI integration “very easy” to understand. He stopped short of confirming whether or not human or AI crews will be superior, however. When it comes to NPC recruits, their effectiveness will largely be dictated by how much you’re willing to pay them. With humans, there’s always room for errors in dexterity.
When all’s said and done, the mission is for “players to form long-lasting relationships with all of the characters in the game.” Will you build a reputation for being a space pirate? Are you going to focus more on the medical needs of others? The connections you make and the degree of attachment will depend on the tasks you participate in.
As with most of Star Citizen, many of the concepts discussed above are very unfinished and subject to change. For the more immediate future, CIG is currently working on alpha version 2.6.1. It’s largely intended to provide bug fixes for what’s currently available.
Star Citizen is now in alpha for backers on PC.
Do these NPC tidbits make you more excited for Star Citizen? Will CIG actually deliver? Tell us in the comments section!