ByMarcus O'Shea, writer at
Resident RPG nerd and SoulsBorne fanatic. Can be spotted by their floofy hair.
Marcus O'Shea

While Call of Duty: Ghosts may have made ambitious claims about the advanced AI governing their underwater schools of fish, it seems that they were outclassed a good decade ago by those wizards of coding at Valve. What didn't those geniuses do first?

The Painstakingly Coded Cockroach AI Of Half-Life

Graphically, they amount to little more than a triangle with some textures and legs thrown in, but the tiny cockroaches infesting the Black Mesa facility had some seriously interesting work put into their behavior, as user MarphitimusBlackimus uncovered.

These insects are little more than set dressing, and many assumed that the extent of their programming was to run in straight lines occasionally. It turns out, however, that some bright spark over at Valve put in the work to give these six legged pests realistic behavior.

They may look simple, but their AI is surprisingly complex. [Credit: Valve]
They may look simple, but their AI is surprisingly complex. [Credit: Valve]

The cockroaches of Half-Life can smell out food, and will flock to it en masse if it's dropped. Not only that, but they fear larger creatures, and will flee from their path if approached by say, a scientist.

But the coolest thing about these little guys, which has basically gone unnoticed until just recently, is how they flee for cover when a light illuminates them from darkness. It's such a small touch, but it demonstrates an attention to detail that has made one of the most beloved game developers of all time.


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