Neon Arena: Drone AI

This post is mostly about the design of the Drone AI, but there’s a fairly big contextual section first: that ends at the horizontal line break.

Neon Arena isn’t just a parkour game: I also wanted the player to be attacked, or have some light combat element. My thoughts on this went as such:

  • Mirror’s Edge just locks you in a room with it’s enemies until you’ve beaten all of them. This sucks.
  • Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst has enemies constantly jumping out just in front of you, and if you run away it spawns a helicopter to chase you. This doesn’t suck, but the helicopter chases always felt a bit abstract, just asking you to run out of an area on the┬áminimap.
  • What would be best would be AI enemies that could chase you. However, programming AI to use all the clever walljumps etc that the players can do sounds hard (Even Mirror’s Edge’s jumpy-chasey enemies do only minimal actions).
  • So, the solution: flying drones.

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Mirrors Edge, Half-Life, and Neon Arena

Mirrors Edge, and it’s sequel, are some of the most natural successors to the Half-Life series. Given that Half-Life is held up as perfection in shooter design, and Mirrors Edge is a) often not considered very good and b) not even a shooter, this is perhaps a contentious statement, but it’s one that makes more sense to me as I think about it.

I’ve been replaying the Mirror’s Edge series, you see: for my next coursework project i’m building a similar free-running game, and there’s a lot to understand in how and why Mirror’s Edge does what it does. As such, apologies if this post is a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to talk about the design and level design of Mirror’s Edge, if only for the purposes of marshalling my own thoughts. Continue reading