Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Update – AI & Animation

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As one of the programmers on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune I’d like to give you some insight into the development process in creating the game’s characters.

We are a very small team creating the enemies here at Naughty Dog. Therefore we needed to be smart about how we approach creating the characters and deciding where to spend our time. We have some very talented animators here and that was something we wanted to leverage when trying to make the characters come to life.

The final AI in Uncharted is simple, yet also very powerful. We are heavily utilizing the Cell architecture to allow the enemies to be more aware of their surroundings. On top of this, the AI is highly configurable to allow the designers to create custom behaviors. Examples of this are combat distance used for close-combat/ranged enemies, likelihood of moving and reaction times, grenade throwing and shooting styles. The goal was to make the AI ‘seem’ smart. If we could do so without making the code complex, that would be great. The approach we took to this was to use animations to add variations to our characters instead of trying to programmatically add complex behaviors.

Halfway through development of Uncharted I sat down with the animator for the enemies (yes, only one animator) and played the game. We wanted to see what the player sees the enemies do the most because those would be the areas in which we wanted to focus our energy. We found that enemies getting hit and dying made up a large portion, and a fun one. Other areas were enemies entering combat, attacking from cover positions and, what we call, open combat – enemies standing in the open shooting at you.

Knowing this, we went to work. We wanted to give the player a rich experience by being selective in which areas to add variety. I’m pleased to say that the main enemies, pirates and mercenaries, have hundreds of animation variations in these areas. All of this makes the game experience richer and avoids repetition.

This, together with endless hours of fine tuning, resulted in the smooth and believable characters in Uncharted.

Right now we are in the process of making the final disc. Pretty much everyone is playing the game – not because we have to, but because we want to. People are trying to find all the treasures in the game or beat it on every difficulty level, which is not an easy task. I find it amazing that after working on the game for this long we all still really enjoy getting immersed in the story of Uncharted.

I hope you all will enjoy Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune as much as we do.

Comments are closed.


9 Author Replies

  • A demo will be available in the Play Station Store sometime mid November. I don’t know the exact date as of now.

  • I have a couple of strange questions for you Christian. The game looks great but I noticed some tearing issues in some of the videos, have these been corrected or possibly just issues with the video.

    Also, how does the camera work? Is it passive alah Ratchet & Clank, locked 3rd person, custom depending on where you’re at?

  • I hope the game recieves the same great scores in the press as with the newly released Ratchet and Clank title.

  • Uncharted: Drake?s Fortune is GOLDEN - StrafeRight Forums

    […] about the games I love or am very much interested in. And after reading the latest article on the playstation blog, I was happy to hear this. […]

  • I hope this comes together to be a great game. Sony and the Playstation Brand need a winner.

  • It’s games like this that Sony really need to just advertise the hell out of. I think as of right now that’s one of the major things that Sony needs to do with amazing first party games such as this. Advertise it! This is definitely a console seller, can’t wait!

  • Ratchet & Clank PS3 got 7.5/10 on GameSpot. another bites the dust.

  • GameSpot can go suck it

  • Can’t wait for Uncharted. The Demo will be great but question. How Big? O.o

  • @nmc75
    Well maybe I did read into that more than what you meant by it but been on too many forums lately (negativitey to the extreme) that like to use this technical jargan as means of ridicule to the PS3 or other consoles…

    In general interest, yes it is very intersting to know those facts and intricacies, but I have seen it used in an unpure manner and I assumed and must apologize for that assumption.

    @Christian many props on anwering and keeping up with the blogs. There are many developers that could learn a lot from the few developers that actually understand this.

  • Wow this game might not get delayed like every other game I’ve been excited for this year. I was fully expecting it to get delayed. Cheers to Naughty Dog. This will be my first ND game. Can’t wait for the demo.

  • This game looks [DELETED] ace!!!

  • @Christian
    Thanks for actually posting comments and answering questions on this blog.
    Nearly all the other blogs don’t even have one red comment.

  • Great Action Man!

    PS3 has so much Potential for it..

    There just cracking the shell of the Cell Power :D

    This Christmas and coming around next years Tax time will be Very Happy Times for me and every PS3 Owner and upcoming owners :P

    The years to come with be very intresting ;)

    Yea a new Jak Game would be awsome!

    Thanks Naughty Dog for so much work on this game..

    If i could id shake and hug everyone there haha :D

    Thanks Ricky,

  • “We are utilizing all SPUs in Uncharted for AI, animation and lots of other systems. We are however just starting to tap into the power of the Cell. In future games I can promise even more utilization of the Cell which will result in more of everything, including game play.”

    On what title might you be applying this improved utilization of said Cell…? :D :P

  • As of today I have this game paid in full at gamestop. Thanks for the info. Uncharted looks great :)

  • @ 62

    Well, I don’t blame them- quite a few turn into flame wars- moderating these a lot more closely might be a good idea. I understand that you really don’t want to censor opposing views, even thought that IS the way blogs usually work, but removing some of the more inflammatory and antagonistic comments would be nice.

  • Hey guys, great work so far! But I have a small question, does the JetSki section video that is on Gametrailers a feed back of the final build? Or is it a older build? I ask because the explosions of the barrels look a bit odd and not as wonderful as most of the game. So I just wanted to know.

    BTW awesome work on the water physics, it looks amazing!

  • gaming city blog » Uncharted finds fortune, goes gold

    […] last week," said Naughty Dog’s Christian Gyrling, in the comments of a recent PlayStation blog. "Right now the game is in other words 100% done and is currently going through the approval […]

  • hi!
    i saw the latest video at gametrailers.com, the video with the jetski:

    alllooks great, but the vats explosions are not physical correct! is it possible to fix that please?

  • Spiele - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 Forum - Seite 8 - Sony PS3 Forum

    […] Fortune – vor einer Minute Neuer Naughty Dog Blog vorhanden mit den neuesten Infos PlayStation.Blog Uncharted: Drake?s Fortune Update – AI & Animation Meine Online-ID: nico2409 Meine Games: Resistance, Motorstorm, Heavenly Sword, NGS, RE4, […]

  • Just to add to what djroberts said, in the latest video of Uncharted to appear on the UK PSN Store, there are really bad tearing issues with the graphics during the actual gameplay footage, I even emailed Naughty Dog to see if I could get an answer but no reply, I really hope these issues have been sorted or it will be a case of yet another so called “Next Gen” game for the PS3 falling short of the mark. Other than that the game look good, nice work.

  • Nice!!! But why barells in water when blow don’t create wave??!!

  • Well, #72, this might be the biggest graphic problem in this game, compare with LAIR, and it’s too strange why the Jet-Ski can create waves when it’s stop but no waves created when it’s moving. However, other things are great, so I’m going to get this game.

  • Um some nice news for everyone Ratchet and Clank has an average press score of 9.2. Many websites gave the game great reviews I will playing it all day today.

  • Thanks for the info on the tech behind Drakes.. My only concern is that this game wont be advertised enough or hyped up enough to make the big impact this holiday season..Remember November has alot of games coming out…

    Push this game ND, make sure everyone knows about it!!!

  • A horrible thought crossed my mind suddenly when a person I know got a preview version of the game and told that at least the preview version didnt have a preset for left-handed people so that you would aim with the left analog stick and move with the right analog stick. What horrible thought was it that crossed my mind? It was the fact that easily one of my most anticipated games ever would basically be ruined for me because I wouldnt be able to control it at all. I cant aim with the right stick at all and the game would lose all enjoyment what so ever I could get from it.

    Soo.. I’m asking if the final game will let me switch the analog sticks for my liking? Thanks..

  • You guys asking about processor usage need to consider that its not so much a developer like Naughty Dog purposely not using 100% of a CPU but simply learning more and more about taking advantage of the CPU’s features as time goes on. Look at their Jak games. Jak 2 was incredible for a PS2 game, better than anything I believed the system could do, and Jak 3 was even better.

    Having enjoyed Naughty Dog’s work so far, I’m sure they’re working on optimizing for the system more and more as time goes on and their next games will be even more impressive than this one (which looks really !@# good :-).

    Can’t wait to play this :-)

  • @76 CyrusQ-

    Hopefully the game isn’t so far developed that it’s too late to change the aiming/view toggle..

    I feel your pain, i simply cannot believe that some developers still don’t even include the option to invert the view axis’s- let alone switch left and right analog sticks altogether-

    hopefully it will be included in the final version!

  • Im really exited about this game. Will be getting it from day one.

    Looks great, hope it delivers….

  • You gotta be kidding. Yea I got the PS3 60 gb on release date last year. I love that I can play old games but i rarely if ever really do. I am a hardcore gamer. Have been since I was born. But when new games come out. I’ll spend more time on those than my old ones. So the 40gb PS3 is a great deal for Hardcore/Social Gamers. This is a way to get the system into the hands of those casual gamers who can’t afford it, and hardcore gamers who think now is a good time to buy. Let’s not speak on the backwards stuff. Let’s speak about games. You really think that anything Microsoft throws out can compete with title names like:

    The Agency
    Eight Days
    Final Fantasy
    Metal Gear Solid
    Jak And Daxter
    Ratchet And Clank
    Motor Storm
    Resistance: Fall of Man
    The Getaway
    Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
    Time Crisis
    Hot Shots Golf
    Heavenly Sword
    Grand Turismo
    God Of War
    Formula One

    Ok thats a list of exclusive. Match that with games from Microsoft. Than ranks which game is better and which is worse. (will be also since some havent come out). Be fair. Match them to gameplay, style of the game, graphics, etc.

    Also don’t forget. Assassins Creed and GTA IV should have been SONY PS3 Exclusive. Sony messed up and let those slide along with Resident Evil 5. The way every website makes it seem, is that we lost the titles. We are still getting those games on our system. Also Assassins Creed and GTAIV would have loved to be exclusive to Sony. They love the room and tech PS3 gives.

  • And another thing is that’s why ROCKSTAR is making a PS3 exclusive title.

    So please, love Halo, I do. But there is no way it can compete with Sony.

    Halo can compete lets say with Socom. Me personally along with majority of people i know. Love socom way more than Halo.

    Compare Gears of War with Resistance.

    Than start adding all the other AAA titles, AA titles, and A titles we have. Let’s be real. Sony should have got SOCOM out for this holiday but it’s ok. All Sony needs to do is give out release dates. Because than I can put money aside to buy all those games.

  • If anyone thinks they agree with my 2 comment Rant. Please mass mail the editors at IGN, GAMESPY, and GAMESPOT. Just copy and paste. Or just tell them we want to know about the games, like old time gamers, not how its made. Most of us aren’t in the field to make them, thats why we buy them


    All they live on at MS is 3rd party minus HALO and GEARS (2 games in the past how many years???). Sony lives on exclusive than 3rd party. Thats why we got a 1st time 1st party EXCLUSIVE right out the gate with RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN. But people dont point that out.

  • Also,I will be getting this game. When i was a teenager and I played Crash Bandicot I fell in love. I know ND is known for making fun games. I have faith in this game. Thats why i didn’t wait for reviews and pre-ordered it yesterday.

  • I played this game a month ago at the Holiday Kickoff for Best Buy Media Sups and I must say Sony has a killer app on its hands. At first I thought it was going to be a clone of Tomb Raider in terms of the game play and plot. But once you get your hands on Drake all pre conceived thoughts of the such are out the window. The game play is the tightest thing since Super Mario World. It is that intuitive. It feels like second nature the way the controls are laid out. I would talk about the graphics but words cannot do it justice.
    This is a must have for PS3 owners.

  • In regards to tearing in the videos… I believe that what you are seeing is compression artifacts of the video. We have not seen any tearing of the videos in the game when played of the Blu-Ray.

  • The_Jump_Off: You know — it’s always funny to me when people talk about ps3 losing gta4 too — it’s like.. really.. the 4th one of the series (actually not the fourth even since there were ones between 3 and 4 and even a psp version)… Really? gta4 will be cool, sure — but do I care at this point .. it’s like if I were to get mad cuz UT is finally making the jump from PC exclusive to being on consoles.. gta4 will still be on the ps3 too. who cares that it’s also on other consoles – especially now..
    like if Naughty Dog does well with Uncharted and there are sequels.. by the time the 4th one comes around and it’s no longer exclusive to the playstation 4 or even if the swankybox1080 has it.. who cares. good for them — they made a good series and now they’re going to other places to pawn their wares. /rant

  • I’m really impressed with this game, the ai, the graphics, the gameplay, the story, the sounds, the ainmations, everything looks perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t know if this was already answered, but there is a chance of the demo being launched this month?
    I can’t wait for that game, it’s wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And there is a PORTUGUESE spoken languege option? I would love to play this game on my native languege, it would be so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It will look great on 480i?

  • Yes, the game ships with Portuguese as a spoken language.

  • Uncharted Gold, Demo Soon : DigitalBattle

    […] and will hit stores for the PS3 on November 20. “We went “gold” last week,” wrote Naughty Dog AI and animation programmer Christian Gyrling on the official PlayStation blog. […]

  • @christian

    what does it take to be an animation programmer?
    what obstacles do you have pass to be at your standard in the gaming industry?

    please answer
    thank you.

  • A good education is a great foundation but you also need a big desire to learn new things related to making games. No matter where you are in your career, what will make you advance is the desire to know more and to always improve. Personal projects are a great way to learn. Internet is full of information about any topic you might choose.

    That I am working on animation right now in my career is because I am very passionate about character animation. In my opinion a programmer is performing at his/her peak when they work on things they are passionate about.

    If you ever feel like you know enough about something you are not looking close enough. There is always more to learn.

    Good luck!

  • Uncharted demo coming mid-November | GAMINGtruth

    […] Christian Gyrling, AI and Animation Programmer for Naughty Dog said in the comments section on the Playstation Blog: […]


    you must not have got my point. My point is who gives a you know what.

    It’s still on PS3. And games like UNCHARTED and others are coming out. I’m mad that people are buggin out about this BS. All i want to hear about is FACTS about how good or bad a game is and why. I dont want to hear about SPU’s, CPU’s, BLUES CLUES. It doesn’t mean anything to me. Anyways, i really was looking into getting HAZE but MODERN WARFARE is starting to look sick. I’m not a big fan of FPS, but SOCOM isn’t out yet. So it looks like i will be getting CALL OF DUTY 4, and UNCHARTED this november. Maybe assassins creed. But my money goes to rumble controller and Uncharted first.

  • best game ever made!! Uncharted>everything on other consoles and ps3.

  • I’m getting pretty excited for this game.
    One thing though….. what happened to the red and white baseball T…?
    That thing was rockin’ – would be cool to be able to play wearing it – besides me wearing it while sitting on my couch playing the game wishing that i could see it in game.
    Right on-

  • @christian

    a cant thank you enough for answering back, the information you give me was a real help.

    can’t wait to play uncharted! :)

    good luck with future games.

  • Uncharted ya está terminado y su demo se acerca

    […] que ha trabajado en el desarrollo del esperado Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, ha revelado en el blog oficial de PlayStation que el juego ya está completado al 100%. Además, Gyrling ha confirmado que a mediados del mes que […]

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