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AI bots have been in video games since their debut. Typically the term "bot" refers to a computer-controlled player that takes the role of a human player in their absence. Bots have become most notable in first person shooters such as the Unreal franchise, which is renown for their adaptive and challenging AI. Other games, such as Timesplitters, have used bots on consoles prior to the advent of online console gaming in order to recreate battles of a bigger scale than four local players would allow. Another good example of an AI Bot is Sheva Alomar in Resident Evil 5. Through most of the game, the player is fighting cooperatively alongside Sheva, who, in the absence of a 2nd human player, is controlled by the computer.
Use in Games
Typically, bots are used to help familiarize players into the multiplayer experience without plunging them head on into player vs. player combat. Bots help players learn map layouts, weapon positions, cover points, and the general feel of the game itself. Some games, before online console gaming, used bots to create deeper, and more chaotic multiplayer environments that added an extra element to the simple 4 player splitscreen experience. For example, players could team up cooperatively against computer-controlled enemies, in the same multiplayer setting, as opposed to facing each other.
While first person shooter bots are well known, other games have used bots in many ways. For example the Super Smash Brothers series offers the player the ability to substitute a computer opponent in one of the four slots not filled by a player. This has become common practice in Nintendo games due to their lack of online play prior to the Nintendo Wii.
As online gaming has grown in popularity, the inclusion of AI bots in games has dropped. Developers have found it is not worth the effort when other human players are almost always available online.