5 Tips For Making More Believable Open World Cities

Gamasutra- "Creating a breathing, living city is one of the toughest challenges facing developers of open world games today: get it wrong, and your player feels like she's walking through a lifeless television set with cheap props and false fronts for buildings. Get it right, and she'll be absorbed enough in your world to momentarily forget she's playing a game at all.

Ubisoft Montreal is among the best in the business at creating believable cities thanks to its Assassin's Creed series. We sat down with Alex Hutchinson, creative director of the upcoming Assassin's Creed III, for his tips on making a city feel alive. He tells us it's "one of the hardest things you could possibly do," but managed to offer the following."

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I think R* make the best and most believable open world cities.

it's all down to the AI and the interaction and the stuff going on while you play.

I will never forget playing gta4 and coming out of my appartment I opened the door, just as it opened it tripped up some guy who was running. he did a few rolls and then slowly got up and as he did a fat looking cop came running up to him and arrested him.

it was one of those moments you could not help but wonder if the game and just spawned him outside the door the second I had started to open it, or if whatever he had done had been done in the game world while I was doing my thing and everything had just led up to that moment.

it makes the world so much more believe able compared to most games that just have random people walking in groups doing nothing at all.

Psychotica2340d ago

It's to bad they can't make it more real than it is. I always wished I could go into all the offices in the skyscrapers and seen NPC's working. I have followed NPC's in GTA IV just to see where they are going, like after a cop arrests someone. All they do is just drive around though, would of been cool to see them go to the police station.

lonesoul652340d ago

i think a lot of that has to do with development focus and lack of power for current hardware. The amount of time it would take to program those routines would be huge but it also take a lot of processing power to carry out all those sub AI tracks. Though the next gen consoles probably wont offer an extreme upgrade to the graphics already seen on today's PC's, these types of AI paths could very well be possible. Good point to make Psychotica.

Dfooster2340d ago

There still seems to be this disconnection between the AI populating the game and the buildings themselves though. You never see someone going inside or a face behind a window to make you think people are living their lives normally you just get the impression everyone is always outside in a kinda endless groundhog day limbo. And people who you can interact with just stand there all day and all night waiting for your character to talk to them. In assassins creed revelations a random would come out from the crowds and attack you, why not use this mechanic to open up side quests with the random coming out from the crowds to tap you on the shoulder and ask for your help rather than attack you and lose the guy always stood by a building waiting for you to interact with them.

Also give the player the moral choice and include children and animals in these sprawling cities,

CouldHaveYelledUiiW2339d ago

There was something that I noticed in LoZ:TP-
Yes, Zelda is text and worse the area that I am referring to did not occur in a city.
The fishing shop dynamic in LoZ:TP was nice because the NPC would comment on whatever Link happened to be staring at through the "Look Mode".

Also, NPCs should have more than one thing to say- at the very least they should have several variations of the same script.