Former Left 4 Dead developers Stray Bombay have revealed AI Director 2.0, which will power its new game, The Anacrusis.
In a post to its Steam community page, the team explained what made the original AI Director to Left 4 Dead:
“The thing that makes the Left 4 Dead series so special isn’t the zombies or the shooting, it’s the AI Director. Originally created by Michael Booth (now at Bad Robot) and later expanded at Valve, it translated the tense mix of intense action and quiet anticipation from the best zombie movies into video games. It didn’t create that tension by throwing endless waves of zombies at you, but by holding back, giving players those creepy, anxiety-ridden moments that bring truth to the cliché–it’s quiet, too quiet.”
The team went on to explain why they felt that they had to differentiate this new AI Director in the decade since Left 4 Dead launched.
“We also knew that knocking off a ten-year-old game wouldn’t fly with players. We needed to do more. Under the hood, the Left 4 Dead Director works due to a combination of careful tuning and random chance. The chaos that is Left 4 Dead comes from getting lucky (or unlucky) rolls at the right time to spawn specials, hordes, or… nothing at all. It knew next to nothing about the player or their experiences.”
The Anacrusis, which is a four-player cooperative first-person shooter, will use the new AI director, which the team is saying will provide players with a challenging, but rewarding experience.
“Now, our Director had access to information far beyond what we’d been able to expose in Left 4 Dead. It knew how players were doing, what their relative skill level was, and whether they were moving quickly or slowly. It had access to tools that let it increase and decrease both difficulty and intensity independently of each other. Our Director was matching the game’s difficulty to the player’s skill reliably in both internal playtests with people who had spent hundreds of hours playing the game and in external playtests with brand new players.”