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I have some character stuff im trying to figure out for an AI antagonist.

In a game development project that I am part of, there is an artificial intelligence that speaks to the player character through messages that sound pre-scripted, despite the A.I being canonically fully aware of the player character and the status of the game world, etc.

for example, when the player character enters an area the AI doesn't want him in, it might say something like "Warning. Unauthorized personnel in area number [area the player character is in]. Rerouting..." and then proceed to close doors and stuff.

The reason I'm trying to write this character to speak like this is that the A.I was built on 1970s computer equipment- think reel-to-reel tape drives and the like. To me, it makes sense that such an A.I would only be able to speak using the limited phrases recorded on the tapes, and it makes for interesting character development- its an AI that was designed to help humanity's technical progress which suffers from its own apparent obsolescence.

the problem comes with making the A.I more relatable. for example, what if the A.I is angry at the player? what if its the final boss fight, and the A.I is trying to insult the player and stuff to get them to stop dismantling it?

I'm trying to find the best way to write dialogue for the A.I antagonist that sounds more relatable and less pre-recorded, but at the same time, I want it to still give players of the game a sense that this AI has limits due to the antiquated equipment it is on; and perhaps the AI's hidden frustration with that fact.

The A.I running on antiquated equipment ties into the character's motivation and backstory in a few different ways that it would be counter-productive to share in the scope of this question. it is important to me that I don't compromise the fact that this AI believes it is still important to the future despite the obvious obsolescence it suffers from.

Ultimately my question is what the best way is to convey the character's obsolescence without sacrificing believability or character depth.

  • Welcome to Writing.SE Fennecai, glad to have you here. To learn more about us, check out our tour and help center. – Cyn says make Monica whole Oct 2 at 22:54
  • Could you have the AI "stitch together" fragments of prerecorded messages? – Llewellyn Oct 3 at 11:44
  • @Llewellyn that could work potentially. the only concern with that is how to make it seem believable still. I guess i could record a ton of generic lines then actually sentance mix them. bit of a technical challenge though, concidering i'd have to make sure one of every word in my main script actually existed in the "pre-recorded" scripts – Fennecai Oct 3 at 18:10
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People won't relate to it until they realise it's a mind, not just a recording. You could have it use only recorded messages at first, but later get frustrated at how limiting that is and start composing sentences out of badly mis-matching fragments of recordings, as Llewellyn suggested. I would have this change happen at a turning point in the plot, when the AI starts to seem more dangerous.

  • I agree that it's important that people realize the AI has a mind, but I don't think it follows that it needs to compose sentences by mismatching the recordings. E.g., one way of hinting at the existence of a mind is for a specific question to repeatedly generate the same pre-recorded response, but to later (after the AI has somehow changed) generate a different recorded response in response to the same query. – Brian Oct 4 at 20:29
  • I like both ideas. since there isnt really anyone to ask the AI any questions; i'd have to make something else happen frequently that the AI would get bored or annoyed at repeating a response to. maybe, since this is a game, when the player finished every puzzle at first the AI repeats the same generic "Area complete, opening exit door..." or something but then it slips up after a dangerous puzzle and says, "Area complete...again." showing it's boredom. this first hint would work well because it contains words already in other messages, but different intonation. makes the player go, wait a sec – Fennecai Oct 7 at 2:54

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