Gloomwood developers exploring new advances in rat behavioral AI

 Rats circling a stack of cheese in a grey videogame test environment for the game Gloomwood.
Rats circling a stack of cheese in a grey videogame test environment for the game Gloomwood.

Stealth-horror immersive sim Gloomwood has development continuing apace, with the latest development preview bringing attention to extremely important—nay, vital—advances in rat-based gaming technology. A couple videos posted by developer Dillon Rogers over the past few weeks shows off some cheese-seeking AI behavior for Gloomwood's rat NPCs, behavior that made its way into the January 30th update.

The critters will now sniff things out, eat them, and attack them. Also, rats can now navigate around through rat-only wall holes. You can also pick up dead rats if you are some kind of monster that has allowed a rat to die. What these changes herald, we do not know, but tinkering with little game systems for useful and unexpected outcomes is the heart of the immersive sim genre.

The advances in rat behavior are part of making the systems of animal behavior in Gloomwood more predictable and consistent, in line with how NPCs behave. In a stealth-based, sight-based, and behavior-based immersive sim like Gloomwood that's a pretty good place to lavish some attention to detail.

"The rat (and fishdogs) have had their lure systems expanded, so they will now track down food and other desirables in more a consistent manner. Fishdogs will become much more focused on treats, allowing the player to more easily sneak past them. Rats can now also use rat holes to cross through areas, too," said developer Dillon Rogers.

You can find Gloomwood on Steam. It's developed by Dillon Rogers and David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive.

Recent game generations have been a banner time for the development of rat-based artificial intelligence and graphics in videogames. From those first tentative steps into rat-driven simulations in Dishonored and Metro, where the creatures were mere weapons and environmental warnings, we've seen such developments as basic rat simulation in A Plague Tale: Innocence developing into full-on rat flood physics in sequel A plague Tale: Requiem. Truly I say to you: Rats.