Now this is something new. While GTA V has collided with the world of educational wildlife commentary before, it hasn’t ever quite done something like this. The two wildlife documentaries which have been made for GTA V by 8-Bit Bastard are extremely well made and entertaining, however both of them are scripted and heavily edited. Neither of these things are bad, mind you, but what Deer Cam is doing is something else entirely.
GTA V has seen some experimentation before, such as the social experiment using the players of Online as subject, or the video observing the game when the player character is inactive. This one involves a lot more outside influence than those and rather focused on the fundamentals of AI coding.
Deer Cam is a Twitch stream which is following the adventures and misadventures of a deer in GTA V. This particular deer is a very special, modded deer. One of the player characters of the game has been replaced with the model of a deer, which is also autonomous. The deer moves on its own, picks its own directions, reacts dynamically to the world around it – in one word, it’s smart. There is no-one controlling it, no one sitting in front of the PC.
The deer has been programmed to control itself and make its own decisions, with no one actually playing the video game. The deer is ‘playing itself’, with all activity unscripted… and unexpected.
This highly independent deer seeks thrills in and around Los Santos. In order to keep things interesting, if nothing particularly entertaining happens for a few minutes, the deer will teleport itself to a random spot on the map, hoping to encounter new adventures and excitement.
In the past 48 hours, the deer has wandered along a moonlit beach, caused a traffic jam on a major freeway, been caught in a gangland gun battle, and been chased by the police.
The deer’s creator, Brent Wantanabe, is showcasing the deer cam on its own website, as well as the capabilities of the mod on his own page. The mod hasn’t been made publicly available, as it comprises part of his portfolio based on the description, so we’re stuck with watching the Twitch stream of this brave little deer.
This project once again stands testament to the wonders of modding. This little AI deer could never have experienced walking on the seabed or being chased by police if GTA V would have remained locked off from custom content.
Would you be interested in seeing similar experiments performed with other GTA V animals?