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Frontier inadvertently drives Elite: Dangerous AI to create superweapons

Frontier's recently-released Elite: Dangerous expansion had the unexpected consequence of empowering the AI to merge weapons and abilities, creating ad hoc superweapons that now threaten players.

Alex Wawro

June 3, 2016

1 Min Read

"We don’t think the AI became sentient in a Skynet-style uprising!"

- Frontier Developments' Zac Antonaci.

A recent upgrade of the artificial intelligences in Frontier Developments' multiplayer space sim Elite: Dangerous went a little too well, driving players to complain that the games' NPCs have become too powerful.

While it's not uncommon for players to complain about game updates, this particular bit of ouctry is notable because (as Eurogamer points out) Frontier's efforts had the unforeseen effect of causing the game's AI to develop superweapons.

"It appears that the unusual weapons attacks were caused by some form of networking issue which allowed the NPC AI to merge weapon stats and abilities," wrote Frontier Developments' Zac Antonaci in a post on the company's forums this week. "Meaning that all new and never before seen (sometimes devastating) weapons were created, such as a rail gun with the fire rate of a pulse laser."

Antonaci quickly goes on to claim that Frontier has found a solution to the problem, noting that "Mark Allen from the development team has managed to terminate these NPCs in their tracks" and that a fix which removes the super-powered weapons will be rolled out in the near future. 

For more background on where this update came from and what circumstances led to the inadvertent creation of these super-powered AI space lords, check out this Eurogamer article.

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