Welcome to our seventh Dev-Log!
Ever since the release of the network, most of us felt like there's something missing in all of our games & mini-games, but today - that changes.
We are glad to introduce new immersive gamplay feature to the entire GamesLabs network - Stellar buddies!
Stellar buddies are AI based in-game entities/players that are capable of playing your favourite games alongside you. The buddies are big complex data driven algorithms that try their best to make the world feel more alive, competitve and fun. Buddies use thousands of calculations every second to analyse various data points in our systems to appear as realistic as possible.
As any other project we take on, it started with an idea/suggestion one of our staff members had: "Why can't we have realistic players walking around minescape or competing with us in mini-games when there are not enough real players available to play with us?". This idea caused us to immediately jump on to voice chat and have an hour long brainstorming session on how we could possibly implement this idea.
Continuing, we started the actual development work for what we called then "companion": we've coded in data recording and processing software, tested it out on some of our network mini-games and had lots of issues to solve. Whilst working to solve those issues - we've created more issues and almost took a break from this project, but curiousity on how it's going end up working did end up winning and we continued to develop their complex systems. But complex - is not something we like in our development process, so about half-way thru the development process we've started re-writting some of the logic and made it a lot easier for us to test and implement companions.
After testing first version on one of staff team's favourite minigames - Bit Trip, we've noticed that the bots can be pretty bland with just AI based code with no user input or data entries, so hopped back to work and started developing a system on top of our existing system called "MapVerse" (MapVerse is the unique system we have in our network that allows players to see eachother whilst being on different instances/servers), a system that did take our (developers, testers) actions and turn them into a big array of possible actions. After successfully testing the bots, we've secretely released the newly called "Stellar buddies" to the GamesLabs network mini-games.
Real-life testing results
Testing took a day: new players that were not interested in minescape, but in other games in our network would join mini-games, play them, interact with stellar buddies. We've kept a very close eye on the gameplays and the results amazed us: Most of the players (including staff members that did not know about the project) were not able to tell that the players playing amongst them were stellar buddies. Players managed to loose against them, reply to their messages and even congratulate them. (we've definatelly had a small laugh when the first player said "good game" to a group of stellar buddies).
After testing was successfull in mini-games, we've once again secretely launched stellar buddies, but this time - in our currently most loved game - Minescape.
Stellar buddies spent good 15 minutes walking around players, banking and doing various other activities. Then suddenly players started noticing, that something's off: they started creating support tickets, questioning some players in chat. We've decided to "confuse" you all by changing their world to bot-1. This has caused a lot of messages from players trying to figure out how these "bots" can be so realistic.
Finally, we've put them in the right place (ms-eu-0 world) and started watching players play alongside our stellar buddies, still not being sure how can they be so realistic.
Stellar buddies require a lot of data to be realistic and to help us with that, we've made the bots closely watch other players and analyse their behaviour: if a player mines ores, banks and repeats that action, stellar buddy is able to understand that it's an activity that players do and consequently repeat that action.
Stellar buddies currently are still paying a lot of attention to all of the players in the world of Minescape, so if you want to help us to make the game feel more alive - be yourself! Train skills as efficiently as you normal do, bankstand and talk to other players, go out and kill those green dragons you were afraid to kill before!
Can Stellar Buddies do this or that?
Stellar Buddies are coded in to work alongside players helping them beat mini-games or compete against them. They do not count towards online player count, their usernames are usually longer and always have a space in them to make it more clear it's a Steller Buddy. They can not interact with grand exchange or other players in the world of Minescape, but are able to attack you during certain mini-games and win/loose. They wear random cosmetics, have pets and even ranks that make them feel more realistic. Finally, they neither add nor remove any items, currency or boosters to or from any of our games.
This is the part we release some of the chats of players interacting with stellar buddies for the first time:
That's all for our seventh development log.
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