Why is GTA 6 taking so long? *Seems Rockstar Games wants to raise the bar again for open-world games, with new NPC technology to make the AI ​​drive smarter, rescue workers smarter, and police easier to coordinate roadblocks and helicopter chases with their SWAT teams . With AI power from the cloud. GTA 6 in the technology special*

Hollywood Drive, 10:00 a.m. Michael is pulling his red Ferrari into the driveway of his mansion, clipping Cindy in her Super Diamond. She has to brake sharply, trucker Joe crashes straight into her, his 9.5-ton truck also clears two other vehicles. Great chaos in GTA City, ambulances from the Eclipse Medical Tower speed up, medics jump out, tend to the many wounded.

Oh no, a fire breaks out in one of the vehicles, Rockford Hills Fire Station firefighting squads roll out - firefighters climb onto ladder trucks and extinguish from above, more squads extinguishing from the sides as more ambulances approach and police cordon off the road. Meanwhile, the first TV helicopter from CNT Studios appears in the sky,

Of course, all of this needs to be scripted and initiated via AI routines - such as how the ambulances get to the scene of the accident as quickly as possible, which units are alerted and that the fire brigade AI receives the order: There is a fire, please move out with everything you have. In order to better coordinate this NPC technology, i.e. the AI ​​that is used to better coordinate different NPC units such as firefighters, paramedics, police, SWAT or military.

Take-Two, the parent company of GTA, has millions where the GTA Online dumped by big trucks in New York every morning, patented a new technology entitled "System And Method For Virtual Navigation In A Gaming Environment". Translated into German, this means "Systems and methods for virtual navigation in gaming environments".

Take-Two Interactive is also working on Mafia 4 at the same time, but this is in development at Hangar 13 and is supposed to play in Las Vegas – all about a dirty cop. It is said to be currently in development under the code name Sam Boyd 4 and to go a little further in terms of playful freedom than Mafia 3. According to initial information, we can either compete against the mafia because we are actually police officers or they do their business support and earn money. However, since said patent was developed by AI specialists directly at Rockstar Games, an application in GTA 6 seems much more likely than in Mafia.

We could also rule out Red Dead Redemption 3, since the document speaks of cars, not horses, and there wasn't much traffic in the Wild West. In fact, the patent tells us a lot about the ideas and AI concepts that Rockstar Games is currently working on: specifically, it talks about boats, cars, airplanes and helicopters. The system outlined would lead to a more realistic and immersive, and therefore significantly denser, more realistic traffic simulation.

 Of particular note, the system means that "each NPC can define their own specific traits for traversing the road nodes." In other words, the AI ​​understands how many other drivers are on the road, at what distance, whether there are traffic jams in front of them or pedestrians running onto the road.

GTA 6 Is Said To Offer Significantly More Realistic Traffic With More Cars & Drivers Reacting 'Humanely' 

The patent also describes how this technology gives NPCs a better understanding of acceleration, braking time, top speed and also how to estimate turns. In GTA 5, the residents of Los Santos sometimes drive like in The Fast & Furious - there is jostling, crashing and if a police officer is on the street, he is also happy to be run over because abrupt braking is still possible with the GTA 5 AI is not provided.

 GTA 6 can already do that. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to less abstruse moments, but it seems as if the AI ​​is driving more with foresight overall. Anyone who can estimate braking times, for example, sees a traffic jam 100 meters ahead and simply brakes instead of looking a meter ahead like a llama at the dentist and crashing into the traffic jam with full guns. Which is admittedly fun in GTA 5, but less realistic.

Rockstar's AI specialists Simon Parr and David Hynd describe in detail how the current simulation works and how it should be in the future. They write: "A vehicle that moves based on road junctions cannot take certain factors, such as traffic density, into account when navigating in conventional video games."

They continue: “For example, some systems rely on vehicle avoidance so that NPCs only avoid vehicles and objects in their immediate vicinity. This can not take into account the lane change when parking cars, anticipation of a road exit, weather conditions and the like. Also, traditional systems provide limited resources for automating NPCs. For example, processing power, memory, and efficiency only allow for a certain number of NPC-controlled cars in a single instance of a conventional system.” 

However, modern video game players would expect to see more than a certain number of NPC-controlled vehicles in one order to have a realistic experience. “In conventional systems, NPCs are often grouped according to specific traits and perform the same movements. In fact, some NPCs from conventional systems disappear as soon as the player moves further away from them. 

"That's correct: If a car drives past us and leaves our visual radius, it is usually gone in GTA 5 - it is hidden to save computing power. At least that's true for civilian vehicles, ambulances actually go to the hospital.

"Another disadvantage is that traditional systems rely almost exclusively on local traffic avoidance for NPCs to avoid collisions. This involves checking the local environment for potential obstacles (vehicles, pedestrians, objects) in each frame, creating a view of that obstacle from the local vehicle (creating a "frontal" polygon containing a list of points/lines, which the vehicle must avoid in order not to crash into the obstacle, information about the road the vehicle is on is generated so that it does not go off the road and into buildings, and finally the best steering angle to avoid all obstacles is generated and determined. 

This is done in each frame for each unit, and no knowledge of the previous frame is used. 

This can result in potential problems being identified very late and the system not knowing 'this road is blocked' but only indicating that something is in the way that needs to be avoided. The vehicles cannot plan accordingly if, for example, there is some kind of roadblock.”

The patent is quite technical , basic knowledge of programming environments is an advantage.

Rockstar's patent hints at self-driving cars

NPCs and AI systems could use these properties to teleport more lifelike drivers in GTA 6. Rockstar Games are already the kings of the open world, they are incredibly good at simulating NPCs. We all surely remember situations where we wanted to try to snitch a car and the driver just accelerated and sped away. Or we don't drive straight away, they pull us out of the vehicle, knock us out and run away. If you want to read the patent, you should have technical expertise, but we were able to read a few special subtleties.

For example, Simon Parr, Lead AI Programer at Rockstar Games, and David Hynd, Associate Director of Technology, speak of "NPCs that travel a longer distance (e.g. an autonomous vehicle,Apple were taken for a ride. Elon Musk is known for having a good sense of humor, when he tweets about GTA 6, not only the sales of the game shoot up, but also Take-Two's share price.

It is also described that the system works via a cloud network, which communicates with our systems, i.e. PC or consoles. Because the calculation of AI drivers in the open world is very resource-hungry, there are either not that many of them or they are made to appear as ghosts and disappear again, so they are not permanently on the road. For this purpose, Rockstar Games wants to use the cloud to outsource AI calculations. The patent also deals specifically with police units that could make a quick U-turn in a pursuit instead of turning around awkwardly. There is talk of “high-speed chases”, i.e. high-speed chases. 

More precisely: "In a further embodiment, the NPCs can also take special circumstances into account, such as e.g. B. a high-speed chase. Vehicles in the virtual world that obey traffic rules are used to generate routes through/around them.” The police in GTA 5 aren't very good at smashing through traffic, they actually crash all the time .

The patent also describes how this is solved technically: “A list of the surrounding traffic in the area can be created and for each vehicle information related to the relevant NPC is recorded.

For example, the distance between two vehicles, the relative direction of travel, speed differences, etc. Based on this information, a route to the final destination can be created uses resources tactically more efficiently. For example, if a police helicopter sees that we are aiming for a junkyard or another special location, the AI ​​can send patrol cars there before we arrive. For example, to draw roadblocks, Position SWAT units and block the road with armored vehicles. Civilian vehicles would react authentically, for example by forming a rescue lane or even tending to avoid the chase area or be diverted by the police, Just like in the real world. 

In any case, we're super excited, because Rockstar Games has to find the perfect line between fun and realism. The chases in GTA 5 are so much fun precisely because the cops are complete chaotic people. Just like in the real world.

If you have any queries or concern regarding this article please mail me at - ask@thedroidverse.com / amru.meajy@thedroidverse.com

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