Dear AI Writers

Was looking for a good Fallout 3 screenshot, then in my search I found this picture of Liam Neeson, who’s a voice actor for Fallout 3. I pretty much forgot everything else I was doing and decided to post this instead. Mmm. Liam Neeson.

I used to work at a game company. I am married to a game programmer (14 years this week!). I’ve been friends with graphics programmers, AI programmers, UI programmers, networking programmers, and more. I know this job is tough. Really.

But do you think, maybe, you could consider the logic involved in having an NPC ally run in front of your PC as they’re firing a ranged weapon?

I play Mass Effect 2. My team takes their position, battle starts, everyone starts running around, and I start hearing “taking friendly fire!” I know I’m not the best shot, but this happens a LOT.

Last night I was playing Fallout 3. Some Brotherhood of Steel dudes were fighting some raiders. Hey, I thought, I’ll help! So I ran in and got myself a nice sheltered corner. I have a machine gun, so there’s not a lot of stealth involved. It’s not like they could say, “I totally didn’t notice the woman running into the room going RATATATATATATATAT.”

I’m firing a long round of bullets and then suddenly a dude runs in front of me and “Sneak Attack on Brotherhood of Steel” pops up, and the dude I’m there to help out turns around and starts shooting at me. This of course puts his back to the Raider, and between the Raider shooting him and his focus on me, the dude dies immediately. I am not too sorry. Fucker tried to shoot me.

This happened a lot in Skyrim, when I was a magic user or ranger and hired a tank to go in with me. Only, the tank would place him or herself RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME in order to engage the enemy. Without even an “excuse me.” Then I would shoot them and either they would die or turn on me, and we’d have a merry chase throughout the dungeon with me yelling, “I don’t want to kill you, I just leveled you up! Quit it!”

I don’t know how to program. Not even a little bit. But it seems that you could put in some awareness of teammates’ positions, and reluctance to place themselves directly in front of said teammates.

Or shit, just have them realize that if you do run in front of a woman who’s shooting a machine gun to help you out, and you get shot, it’s your goddamn fault and don’t turn around and shoot at her. Because she will then have to loot your broken, bloody body and your combat armor is really fucking heavy, and that’s just rude to expect her to carry it back to Megaton.