Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This

Games Computers Win

As well as faster reactions, computer players have the advantage that they can easily split their attention. An average human can concentrate on between three and seven things at once, and the amount of attention paid to each drops dramatically as more are added. A computer, in contrast, can split its attention equally between any number of things.

Games in which a small amount of attention is paid to a large number of different things are ideal for computers. The real-time strategy game Total Annihilation is an example. In this game, buildings are built by construction vehicles or infantrymen, and mobile units are built by buildings. Players can simultaneously be building as many things as there are construction-capable units.

In scenarios in which resources are plentiful, a computer player quickly builds a huge, well-defended base spanning most of the level. Meanwhile, the human is focusing on a small set of construction units and not noticing when they complete the tasks.

The speed of reaction and ability to concentrate on large and disparate groups of objects are the two major advantages computer players have. They also have the capability to see the world schematically.

This capability is a little more subtle than the others because it’s not really an intrinsic advantage of computers, but instead derives from how they are connected to the game world. When a human plays a game, the game world is rendered into sounds and images, which are then fed into their brain, which then tries to reconstruct an accurate model of the original. The human player exists within this copy of the game world. In contrast, an AI player experiences the game world directly, which can be an advantage in a number of situations. When an object is in the distance, for example, the AI player can access full details about it, whereas the human player is stuck trying to determine what the little dot on the screen is. This advantage is possibly the easiest to nullify when designing a game.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Related Resources

There are currently no related titles. Please check back later.