Real Opponents         Growing up as an only child I never

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Real Opponents Growing up as an only child I never got the chance to really experience a real opponent. I would play video games by myself because there was not anyone to challenge me. I had to rely on Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to keep me entertained and challenged. That is how I became a great video game player, I would play against the computer on the hardest difficulty and once I beat the game on that setting I would go to a friends house and would play forever. That was when I was younger, now I can just go online and play against thousands of people online simultaneously and that really cuts the need for one player games. However, now of days a lot of video and computer games are coming online ready and Gamers will soon no longer have to play against the computer controlled A.I.. With the advances in technology and the internet, Online gaming will eventually end the need for computer controlled AI opponents.

The history of A.I. Dates all the way back to the first electronic computer in 1941. However, later in the 1950?s a scientist by the name of Norbert Wiener, would revolutionize the way people thought about AI and machines with his theory of feedback mechanisms. Such a mechanism would be a thermostat: it gathers the temperature, and adjust accordingly due to preference. Through this he believed machines could acquire intelligence (William Par.4). Later in the 50?s the first AI program would be created, The Logic Theorist. This program allowed the computer to choose the best possible outcome of a problem by representing a tree as a model, and the branches to the best conclusion.

(Gevarter 35). Later with the Father of Artificial intelligence, John Mcarthy, AI would take a rapid growth into development, basically turning our everyday lives around. Through the advances of technology in AI, we were able to obtain video game AI.

At first the military only had the technology to handle advance AI, such as flight simulators, now we can get that same technology in home game consol like the Microsoft X-box. As the technology advances, we look for greater ways to simulate intelligence and what better way to do that then with an actual human. Online gaming is the key to perfect Artificial intelligence because it eliminates the need for a computer AI controlled character. However, many games have not yet started to take advantage of the online capabilities, moreover, to achieve an AI free oppent we must look at what makes AI so great in games and why at times it can be better than playing against another human.

Some single player games need no opponents at all, however, games generalized towards single player play, are met with unpopular views. Which is the case with the video game for the Dreamcast called Seaman . This is video game unlike any other, you actually conversate with the game. There is a microphone that plugs into the controller, and it allows you to communicate with your Seaman. Basically the game is: the player is asked questions from the Seaman as it grows and it stores that info and that helps shape what it becomes. Will the Seaman be good or bad? It depends on the player (Funk 33). This type of game is very orientated to single players, in spite of this online gaming has grown because the use of the microphone. The microphone allows for on the fly communication with fellow players of an online game. Online games can only benefit from new Advances in AI.

There are also a lot of new single player games that come with the option to go online. Such games would allow the player to go online and find another player to help them through a certain level per say. Others would allow you to download pathces and new opponents. Such a game as S.W.A.T. 2, for the PC, demonstates the ability of what being online can do to help better a video game. SWAT 2 has an advanced Artificial Intelligence that enables non-player characters to behave spontaneously depending on their built-in personalities and abilities, and their perception of the environment (Marr). Which basically means that if you played a specific mission twice the computer controlled characters will act different every time. However, at the same time the game allows for the player to eliminate the need for this advance AI by letting the player go online to find a team of real people. There are also options that can even allow for teams to be made up of half NPC(non-player controlled) and half human controlled. The options are endless with online gaming, and it can be clearly be seen here that videogames are headed towards a NPC free world.

Games are out now that are completely online. They can only be played online, with thousands of players simultaneously. One of those games is Ultima Online. The game has the player create there own character and have them embark on a journy in a virtual world with no NPC?s. Ultima Online uses a virtual ecology system where player actions, functional economics, delicate ecological systems and limited resources interact to continually reshape the game (Boyer). Whereas Seaman used the information from yourself to help shape what he becomes, Ultima Online uses its thousands of human controlled characters to help shape the enviroment that it becomes. Online games like this are becoming more and more popular due to the fact that there is actually another person with you when you play, it brings a vibe to the video game scene. Online games connects gamers throughout the world. Thus forming, friendships.

What a lot of people do not realize is that online gaming can open the door to numerous friendships for children who are an only child. When I was growing up I did not have the opportunity to go online, I was completely by myself most of the time. However, with video games going online, children, parents, teenagers and adults can make friends online and that in turn means a lot more than just playing against the computer controlled opponent. Once again what perfect opponet is there than a real opponet? Online opponents are needed if videogames wish to survive. Go online get in the game! Works Cited Boyer, Crispin. ?What?s Next in Online Gaming.? Electronic Gaming Monthly. September 2002. #158. Ziff Davis. Oak Brook, IL, 2002. 178-179.

Funk, Joe. ? Yoot Scoot Boogie: A Chat With A Virtual Pet Creator.? Electronic Gaming Monthly. September 2000. #134. Ziff Davis. Oak Brook, IL, 2000. 30- 34.

Gevarter, B. William. Artificial Intelligence Experts Systems. Noyes Publications. Park Ridge, New Jersey, 1992. 3-7.

Kent, L. Steven. The Ultimate History of Video Games. Prima Publishing Co. Roseville, California, 2001. 34-39.

Marr, John. ?Game A.I..Com?. http://www.gameai.com/ (10/18/02) William, Timothy. ?History Of Artificial Intelligence?. http://library.thinkquest.org/2705/history.html. (Last updated 8/22/02