You'd think that the smarter the video game AI the better, but according to Bethesda's Todd Howard, enemy ships in Starfield used to be just that bit too smart.
Getting AI right in games is a tough balancing act - make an NPC too smart, and it can feel unfair, but make them too stupid and it can feel frustrating or overly easy. Speaking on The AIAS Game Maker's Notebook Podcast, Starfield director Todd Howard shared some details on the steps Bethesda took to get the balancing act for the game's enemy ships right in particular (thanks, GameSpot). "Forever we were just jousting," Howard shared.Watch on YouTube
"It turns out you have to make the AI really stupid. You have to have them fly, they need to turn and basically be like: 'Hey, player one, you can just shoot me for a while.' And then you give the AI tools where the player can see: 'Oh, he's boosting away, I can do that.'"
According to Howard, getting the enemy AI right was one of the most important parts of the space combat, making note of how it's something that's famously difficult to pull off in a video game. Howard also shared that games like FTL and MechWarrior served as inspiration for Starfield, but he wanted to feature similar mechanics "in a way that people could understand, where we're not having to pause the game in space."
Space combat was obviously one of the big draws of Starfield, especially considering you can build your own ship (which has led to players building some pretty out there designs). Though space exploration, on the other hand, is a bit more limited, as it turns out that its planets are technically an illusion, as proven by one streamer that attempted to fly all the way to Pluto's surface.