You may know Kythera as the AI behind Star Citizen – although, as you’ll see in our Case Studies, that’s just one of the titles where you’ll find our advanced middleware at work. The breathtaking scope of this record-breaking space sim reveals a variety of applications for our next-generation AI. On this page, we highlight just three of those use cases – each an example of how you could use Kythera in your own upcoming game.
Thanks to our link with Star Citizen – one of the decade’s most talked-about games – flight through space is a natural strength for Kythera. Since mid-2014, hundreds of thousands of players have tested their skills against Kythera-powered opponents, learning to fly their spacecraft and confront their enemies in a universe governed by realistic physical laws. The challenges of dogfighting exercise a broad section of Kythera’s toolset – including behaviours, avoidance, and an innovative use of splines to thread complex paths through obstacles.
Away from the excitement of combat, Kythera’s advanced avoidance tools also help guide craft through crowded interplanetary space. Maneuvering through an asteroid field is as simple as setting the start and endpoints; even if new obstacles drift into range, Kythera automatically responds. Closer to home, Kythera’s sophisticated approach to spline following enables believable, cinematic approaches to busy spaceports.
Though spacecraft are the focus for Star Citizen, the same techniques are applicable to more down-to-earth scenarios. Floating and hovering characters can gain freedom of movement and systemic behaviour; helicopters in a war zone can move off their animation splines into dynamic combat; and submarines can plot their own course through the depths.
Our flexible behaviour system empowers designers to build believable adversaries – each fulfilling different roles and displaying different capabilities, while varying their orders as demanded by the ebb and flow of battle. As you’d expect, Kythera also offers powerful perception and target-selection systems, alongside intelligent use of cover and a full range of movement and fire control.
Building on these base features, Kythera’s advanced architecture delivers new potential for the FPS genre. Its groundbreaking dynamic navigation toolset delivers heightened realism for players, while reducing the workload for designers at the same time. Blow open a blast door? Your enemies walk right through it. Drop a girder across a gap? They’ll use it as a bridge. By enabling AIs to respond to changes in the physical environment, Kythera unlocks creative, open-world gameplay – all with a minimum of designer input, and absolutely zero scripting.
Many games promise to surround their players with living, evolving worlds, but few AI systems can truly deliver a believable human environment. Kythera’s behaviour trees enable a creative and effective approach: joining together a series of simple actions to build complex and impressively realistic characters. Bar staff, for example, can greet customers and respond to orders, but return to clearing tables or polishing the bar when there’s no immediate work at hand.
Kythera’s approach to useable objects adds extra richness and variety to character interactions. By responding to the presence of specific items – if there’s a glass on the table, pick it up – designers can add further interest to familiar scenes. And when the environment is filled with continual, credible activity, the world of the game truly comes alive.
Next up: Find out more about Kythera's key features.