Final Fantasy XII Gambits (Semi-Autonomous Processes)
17 Nov 2006 - 4:26pm
7 years ago
My second foray into creating a thread. This time, about video games.
Video game developer Square Enix recently released Final Fantasy XII for the
PlayStation 2. It, compared to similar games in its RPG genre, sports a new
battle system called Gambits. Essentially, these Gambits are like
programmers' if-statements that help the video game player automate certain
aspects of their play.
Games traditionally of this genre have two parties, the enemies and you. The
enemies, controlled by the game, attack you. You, as the player party,
control each party member by manually inputting different commands (set
enemies on fire, cast magical shields, drink a special potion, etc.) in the
hopes of defeating the enemy party. This interaction model essentially
defines lots and lots of video games, specifically RPGs (role playing
Final Fantasy XII plays like a massively multi-player online RPG (a la World
of Warcraft), but off-line. This interaction model is different from the one
I just described in that a singular character is already complicated enough
to control, while also having minimized the social element that makes games
like Warcraft massively multi-player.
Which brings us all the way back to Gambits (this is long, I know). Since
you as the player in Final Fantasy XII are in charge of not one but three
characters, this Gambit system helps you control them without manually
inputting in commands. You're giving each of the characters a predetermined
(or changeable mid-battle) plan of action. If I'm hurt, heal me. If an enemy
is there, attack. If the enemy does not like fire, set him on fire. Stuff
like that. In some ways, the characters play themselves, but to a limited
Player behavior with regards to Gambits can range from completely rejecting
them (turning them off, playing the "old way"), automating mundane tasks
(just take care of me after battle, I will handle how battles run), to fully
automating (I can make the game play itself!). My question is. What are the
future prospects for interaction models such as this?
Gambits essentially represent portions of autonomous or semi-intelligent
behavior. Players can use them in conjunction with one another to create
more complex, emergent behaviors. I personally believe this represents a
newer interaction model, one I'm very much a fan of, but haven't heard in
many other contexts (besides video games and cartoons).
What place do human-assisted semi-autonomous processes have in technology?
Should we expect more gambit-type interaction systems? Will rise of gambits
necessitate pseudo-programmer literacy/fluency? Are gambits already too
difficult to grasp?