Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

A Story About Vice City

Friday, May 16, 2008

this entry brought to you by modest mouse, "fly trapped in a jar"

i don't make a habit of sharing anecdotes from games on my blog, and if you don't have an interest in video games or specifically grand theft auto, go ahead and skip this entry. but this story is just too good for me to not tell. if you have any interest in the grand theft auto series in general, or if you enjoy watching ai in games and how it interacts with one another, you'll see why i couldn't just not tell this.

I'm a big fan of AI in video games, and I love watching how video games react to things you do and don't do. A really old example of this would be playing a fighting game and not doing anything. In most fighting games, if you're just standing there, the AI has absolutely no idea what to do. It'll jump back and forth, occasionally tapping you with a weak attack, maybe it'll throw you, but it finds the idea that you're not fighting to be absolutely baffling. The same goes in most action games. If you can find a way to look at the AI when it doesn't know you're there, you'll generally find non playable characters just standing around not doing anything, and the second you show up, will jump into character and run around like a force to be reckoned with.

The best games to watch AI, however, is in open world games that are supposed to have a living, breathing city, because in these games the artificial intelligence specifically has a life outside of you, and no where is this more prevalent than in the Grand Theft Auto series. I absolutely love watching the AI in the games, and I have spent a disproportionate amount of time not doing anything of note, putting the AI in different situations and watching them react. For example, in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I was trying to take a picture of a preppy girl who, ordinarily, if you try to do anything aggressive to her, will run off in fright. However, I was trying to get her to stand in a specific way and in a specific place to take her picture, and she kept telling me to leave her alone, to bugger off. Eventually she got so infuriated with me trying to take her picture, she started a fight with me, despite the fact that I did nothing directly aggressive against her. I have absolutely never gotten in a fight with this character outside of this situation.

I've also spent time finding out that the people in Grand Theft Auto are programmed so that if they see you running at top speed, they assume there's a reason for you to be running, and will take off running in the same direction, screaming "AAAH!". The more people that are running around screaming "AAAAAH!", the more people join in, until you have a crowd of people running around screaming bloody murder when absolutely nothing has happened. I ran around a block five or six times once with a crowd of people screaming bloody murder, despite the fact that nobody was in any danger.

The story I want to tell, however, happened when I was playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. There's a point toward the end where you have a giant, sprawling mansion, and you have a bunch of body guards, who roam the grounds of your mansion and will stop any threat that comes your way (that's them and your mansion in the picture above). What's especially satisfying about this particular feature is you can get them to get in the car with you before you leave and they'll help you on your next mission.

I was at my mansion, probably stocking up on weapons, and as I was about to climb my car to head off on another mission, I noticed a police officer running across the street to my mansion. I looked up on the screen and saw that I wasn't in any trouble with the law, so I wondered what in the hell this cop could possibly be pissed off for, and knowing that my bodyguards would obliterate anything that was a threat to me, I was safe.

So the cop comes up on my mansion's property, then immediately starts beating up one of my guards. I don't know what my guard did to piss him off, but it wasn't enough for the cop to get out his gun-- just fisticuffs. What was odd was that my bodyguard never fought back, and the rest of my bodyguards just ignored him-- probably because the cop wasn't any threat to me. The cop pummeled my bodyguard to death, then went on to another bodyguard, who again did not fight back and got pummeled to death.

Then the ambulance drove up, and the EMT jumped out of the truck and resuscitated the first two guards, and by the time he was done and heading back into the EMT, the cop had killed a third guard. The EMT turned back around and saved the next bodyguard, while the cop was beating down another. This continued for a few minutes, the cop killing my guards, the EMT resuscitating them and heading to his ambulance, only to turn back around when the cop killed a new one.

Eventually the EMT worker saved a fallen bodyguard and ran over to his ambulance before the cop killed another, jumped in his ambulance, drove up onto my grounds and ran the cop over. Initially I thought this had to be a mistake. This had to be random, there was no way the EMT did this on purpose. If you play Grand Theft Auto, if you run over a person at a low speed, you don't actually kill that person-- you either have to continually run the person over, run over them at a fast speed, or you have to park on that person until blood comes out, meaning they're dead. The EMT parked on the cop, until blood came out, then angrily sped away, meaning he specifically parked on the cop just long enough to kill him. And when I say "angrily sped away", I mean that. In Grand Theft Auto, if you piss off drivers, they do this "crazy drive" where they speed and drive recklessly, and this is how the EMT drove off.

I could only come to one conclusion. The EMT got tired of resuscitating fallen bodyguards, so he killed the cop so that he wouldn't have to resuscitate any more. This fucking fascinated me.

with love from CRS @ 8:00 AM 


Post a Comment