MALVIN - Demonstrational AI-companion game


Hello everybody c:

First off, let me tell you a little bit about how this game came together. I’m currently finishing up my bachelor thesis regarding a fundamental analysis of the staging of an AI-companion using the well-known example of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite]( I basically gathered information from interviews and observations on Elizabeth’s behaviour and tried to work out some basic routines or rules. To substantiate my observations I had to create sort of a proof-of-concept so I decided to put together a short, demonstrational project for me to use in a usability test, to measure how well certain requirements are met. In the scenario, you’re a captive in a futuristic facility that tries to escape with the help of Malvin, the AI-controlled companion which is the central piece of the project. The aim was to create a supporting character that the player bonds to and has an autonomic feel to it.

Also, I always wanted to do something in Unreal and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to do so and it really paid off! :slight_smile:

I’m almost done with the test-sessions, but apart from my bachelor-thesis I’d just like to share this little short with the community and I’m very open for discussions and feedback regarding it! :slight_smile: I want to annotate, that there certainly are some rough edges to the project. Naturally, I didn’t have the resources Irrational Games had to make Elizabeth, especially regarding animations and I had to finish the project within a month to be on schedule (which I managed to do, yayy). I only relied on Starter Content and content from some example projects, with a few exceptions.

So, to cut a long story short: Please have a look at it and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on it! :slight_smile: You can also find me on Twitter.

**Download Link: **
(852 MB - sorry it’s a little big, I know ;_; )


Thanks to A. for putting up an afternoon to create an additional animation I reaally needed and of course Epic Games for Unreal Engine 4 and to you, reading or (hopefully) playing this short :slight_smile:

Update 1.1: I fixed a few bugs reported to me in the last week and updated the link to the new version :slight_smile:

This looks very interesting, it’s on my list to try out once I free up some time (and HD space!) Good luck!

Hey, would you mind sharing your information on Elizabeths AI?
I just finished the main game again and i really loved the way she worked.

Want to have a similar AI companion in my game later on.

EDIT: Just played your game and it is way too dark. Most of the time i’m moving blind >.<

And i was able to walk around the part where he talks about the “camera” thing being able to
analyze materia and i shouldn’t get too close. I didn’t know what to do and walked around it, falling
down into the z Kill and broke the game xD

Some people have told me that aswell, regarding the game being too dark :S Now it makes sense why most games implement a brightness-calibration-setup before starting. You weren’t supposed to walk towards that camera, but I noticed that a lot of people got too lost in that section. I’ll possibly have to revise that. Thank you for your feedback!

I could share my thesis after filing it in next month. It’s written in German, but since you’re from Germany I guess that won’t be a problem :slight_smile: I’ll have to write an abstract for it in English, but that’s all I could share with you english-speaking fellow gamedevs out there. But you’ll find that the basic principles are far away from being anything overly complex, most of it - as Luke Dicken (google him!) described it in Infinite’s case is smoke and mirrors. You’ll find yourself often optimizing the behaviour for certain special situations to make it behave in a way you want it to. There are also a lot of design-choices that greatly affect the way the player perceives the companion. One example being Elizabeth tries to stay in your view, which I tried to recreate by having Malvin find navigation points in front of the player to which he can walk to. But generally it was more of a game design effort than a technical one, with this approach.

(: Looking forward for you thesis then.

Updated the project with a few bugfixes and changes (see the link in the initial post) :slight_smile:

For those who are interested: I’ve finished up a short abstract on the thesis itself in english. There is some basic information regarding the fundamental compounds of the AI-companion in it, which could help someone interested to get in the right direction. Feel free to read it over here.