GTA 6 Could Gain This Next-Gen Intelligent NPC Technology From Rockstar
A newly discovered patent by Take-Two Interactive hints that Grand Theft Auto VI will have smarter non-playable characters (NPCs), which has our minds swirling with possibilities. Rather than following programmed directives, NPCs that leverage advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities could potentially feel like more life-like, in the decisions they make in the game.
We might be getting ahead of ourselves a bit—we have no idea what exactly Take-Two and its Rockstar Games subsidiary have planned for the next GTA installment, and to be clear, GTA VI has not been announced—but we would certainly welcome smarter NPCs. Not just for the GTA series, but for gaming in general.
The patent (listed as 16/393365) was filed in October of last year, by inventors David Hynd and Simon Parr. According to their LinkedIn profiles, both work for Rockstar Games—Hynd is the associate director of technology and technical director of AI and gameplay, while Parr is the lead AI and gameplay programmer. So even though Take-Two Interactive owns the patent, it seems the technology is destined for a Rocktar Games title.
"Computer games often provide 3D worlds in which the game unfolds. Such games often include non-player characters (NPCs) that exist in the game's 3D world and who interact with the human players, the 3D environment and other NPCs. These NPCs can be programmed in an artificial intelligence manor such that their actions in the game are driven, at least in part, by real-time decisions made by the NPC algorithm regarding the current state of the game and the environment," the patent explains.
It goes on to state that this type of interaction is driven by a collection of nodes and edges (vehicles and links), and that "conventional systems only provide limited resources" for developers. As it applies to the GTA franchises, this is likely why NPCs all seem to drive and navigate the world in the same manner, with only visual cues distinguishing them from one another.
"Since currently-available multiplayer gaming systems are deficient because they cannot provide realistic movements for non-player objects in a virtual world without increasing computational resources and/or restricting game development/design, a system for managing nodes and node graphs relating to non-player characters that provides virtual navigation and management can prove desirable and provide a basis for a wide range of network applications, such as creating a realistic virtual world that is not limited by hardware and software limitations," the patent states.
Part of the patent involves tapping into the cloud to overcome local hardware capabilities, for advanced AI processing. And from our reading, it sounds like the patent would result in NPCs have more individualized personalities, at least with regards to traveling about.
We'll have to wait and see what develops, and hopefully Rockstar Games sees fit to announce a new GTA game soon.