[MUD-Dev] [DGN] The psychology of random numbers

Mike Shaver shaver at off.net
Thu Jan 29 09:41:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Jan 28, Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com wrote:
> From: Brian Hook [mailto:brianhook at pyrogon.com]

>> So to fix that, you have to do a biased PRNG that takes into
>> account the last success, assigns a sliding bias as that time
>> grows.

>> Which most definitely isn't random, but it FEELS more random.

> That harks back to the thread on here a while back concerning
> fudging the random numbers. Interesting to hear field experience
> that suggest players actually like it.

AI Game Programming Wisdom II has a pair of articles that might be
relevant here (I haven't got my copy yet).  The abstracts:

  The Statistics of Random Numbers, James Freeman-Hargis

    Abstract: Random numbers are used most heavily by Artificial
    Intelligence and games in general. To ignore their potential is
    to make the game predictable and boring. Using them incorrectly
    can be just as bad as ignoring them outright. Understanding how
    random numbers are generated, their limitations and their
    capabilities, can remove many difficulties of using them in your
    game. This article offers insight into random numbers, their
    generation, and methods to separate good ones from bad.

  Filtered Randomness for AI Decisions and Game Logic, Steve Rabin

    Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that the better the
    random number generator, the more unpredictable your game will
    be. However, according to psychology studies, true randomness
    over the short term often looks decidedly unrandom to
    humans. This article shows how to make random AI decisions and
    game logic look more random to players, while still maintaining
    strong statistical randomness.

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