The Alien Isolation Diaries

As part of the Let’s Play AI series, we look at popular video games and see how AI is injected throughout their design.  These are often a one-off, or at most a couple of videos that don’t really follow the game from start to finish.  Instead they’re simply a collection of interesting gameplay moments.

For Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation, we’re doing something a little different.  This video diary follows me as I play through the entire game from start to finish and discuss some of the more interesting aspects of the games design and how AI is often a crucial component of the gameplay experience.  The complete playlist is shown above, but we provide a quick overview of each part as we play through it.

Part 1: An Introduction

Discussing how the theme of isolation is reinforced early on and the use of NPC AI to educate players of the value of different items that are acquired throughout gameplay.  The sporadic and rare appearances of the xenomorph, as well as hostile NPCs, help craft an environment of fear and mistrust.  In addition, the xenomorph AI does a great job of reinforcing to players that being smart, rather than being strong, is the best way to survive the trials and tribulations of the Sevastapol.

Part 2: Sensory Overload

We enter the Seegson Communications wing of the space station, to find an interesting tutorial on how to adopt the latest item in our inventory: the motion tracker.  This chapter of the game does a great job of introducing this new mechanic – as well as its strengths and limitations – by introducing the `Working Joe’ NPCs, whose rather simple AI systems prove highly effective at preparing you for the next bout with the alien.

Part 3: Stuck Together

Trapped in the San Cristobol medical facility, we face off against the xenomorph for the first time.  Trapped in a corner of the map together, we figure out how to navigate through the environment and observe not only the continued intricacies of the motion tracker, but the subsequent impact this has on level design.

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Tommy Thompson Written by:

Tommy is the writer and producer of AI and Games. He's a senior lecturer in computer science and researcher in artificial intelligence with applications in video games. He's also an indie video game developer with Table Flip Games. Because y'know... fella's gotta keep himself busy.