Of particular note is that the system means “each NPC can define its own specific characteristics for traversing the road nodes.” These characteristics include understanding acceleration, breaking time and distances, top speeds, and cornering speeds. NPCs and AI systems would be able to use these characteristics to generate more life-like drivers on the roads of a video game world.
Without jumping to concrete conclusions, it is possible that a system designed by Rockstar programmers for a vehicular traffic system could be for Grand Theft Auto
6. The project is not mentioned by the patent, but IGN understands that GTA 6 is currently in development at Rockstar, and so it’s not unreasonable to assume new technology will be produced for the game.Of particular note is a line of the patent that explains the system is for “virtual navigation and management of objects in a multiplayer network gaming community.” If the system has been designed for a multiplayer game, it raises the question of if Grand Theft Auto 6 will be an online experience. Alternatively, perhaps this system has been built to be implemented into GTA Online; the details refer to Xbox One and PS4 consoles rather than the next-gen machines that GTA 6 would presumably be released on.
Additionally, the system is described to work via a cloud network communicating with player consoles. If the system is for GTA 6, even if the game is not multiplayer-only it may well be that the game demands an always-on internet connection to provide the processing for NPC behaviour.
For context, the patent includes an evaluation of the current deficiencies with NPC navigation systems, noting that limited resources mean that the simulation is reduced in complexity. Current processing power and memory restrictions mean some NPCs “fade out of existence as the player approaches the NPC,” the patent explains. It notes that current NPC systems only allow only for a predetermined number of NPC controlled cars, and that “players of a video game would expect to see more than a predetermined number of NPC controlled cars in a video game for a realistic experience.” Additionally, the patent also describes that current conventional systems rely on behaviour that has “no high level knowledge” of traffic, which can lead to vehicles being unable to plan accordingly for blocked roads. The new system is designed to prevent situations like this.
While Rockstar has been quiet about the development of the next Grand Theft Auto, it recently released The Cayo Perico Heist for GTA Online, which was the result of seven years of game evolution and finally allows a solo-player approach for GTA Online content.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.