The All-Seeing AI

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"Explosions tear up both your cover and the enemy's and you don't have the super homing x-ray vision bestowed by the NPC gods."

Despite what publishers would like to tell you, there really is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence in video games. Any video game AI is, ultimately, nothing more than a complex flowchart. Because of this, it's very tricky to make computer opponents behave the way a human player would. While it's possible to design an AI that receives data similar to what a player receives, then analyzes it to make a decision, this is immensely difficult. Since the AI is an integral part of the game engine, a far easier (and thus much more common) technique is to simply pluck the information directly from the engine, and base all AI decisions on that.

The consequence is that computer players can get an unfair advantage over humans: It isn't bothered by dark colors or (loss of) environmental lighting. Its performance isn't encumbered by Interface Screw, Damn You, Muscle Memory!, or any amount of nested menu navigation. And since it's part of the same engine that keeps track of where your players and units are on the map, if the AI wants to mount an attack, it knows where to find you better than you do, Fog of War (or even walls) be damned.

The AI is the narrator of the story; if you win, it's only because it told you so.

Of course, this doesn't always make for a fun playing experience. To bring back the fun, programmers must make the AI act like it has the same limitations as a human.

If they don't, you have an The All-Seeing AI: Stealth is useless, no surprises are possible, and it will (almost) never miss a shot. Consequently, single players should not bother with misdirection, flanking, or other forms of deception and psychological warfare that would work wonderfully against actual humans. This is often the reason for Useless Useful Stealth in games that are not specifically stealth-centric.

A semi-subtrope of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, although it is worth noting that this isn't strictly cheating, as the AI doesn't bend the game mechanics as such. Not to be mistaken with Big Brother Is Watching, even if it is analogous (with the AI filling the role of Big Brother).

Examples of The All-Seeing AI include:
  • Advance Wars AI is often unaffected by Fog of War: they still can't target something they "can't see" and don't factor in the health of enemy units out of their supposed vision (making it effectively the same as not knowing it), but still know where every unit is.
    • This was finally fixed in Dual Strike and Days of Ruin.
  • Driver and Grand Theft Auto frequently feature opponents who always know where you are, no matter how fast you run or how many times you change cars.
    • In the President's Run, the cops know your position from the very start.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, no Interface Screw in the world is going to deter the AI.
    • When Togepi appears and performs Night Shade, the screen goes completely black. You can't see what the hell you are doing, but the AI knows exactly where you are in the darkness, making this Pokemon move more of a hindrance.
    • Also, when the Nintendog appears, nothing happens to the AIs.
    • Also in Brawl, the AI have perfect bearings when the controls or the stage in Spear Pillar is reversed, making the fight much harder and cheaper than it needs to be.
    • Also, it's rumored that the AI can tell what buttons you press before the attack is sent out, allowing them to defend themselves easily against players.
    • Plus, AI usually goes for players instead of each other, so if there's 3 CPUs and 1 player, the 3 CPUs will most likely attack the human player.
    • Not to mention generally grabbing a Cloaking Device in any single player mode in Melee. There was an Event match that had both Fox and Falco permanently invisible just to drive the opposing point home. Evil bastards.
    • The AI also notices when items have appeared off screen, resulting in it running off in the middle of a heated duel to grab an item that it shouldn't have even noticed until it came on-screen. On no stage is this act of cheating more obvious than on the Temple stage, where the AI will happily abandon the fight all of a sudden to run all the way to the other side of the stage to grab a powerup that only appeared just a second ago.
    • Actually, many a human player will do this as well- Items make a faint but distinct sound when they appear, and many an item-happy Smash player will find themselves abandoning a losing battle to try and grab the ray gun that just showed up in an attempt to get an edge on their opponent. Unfortunately, this has the unfortunate side-effect of causing the player to think they've heard an item appear, run off to get it... and find nothing. This isn't helped by the fact that many round items (Or even square ones like crates) have a habit of rolling off inclined surfaces before the player reaches them, leaving said player to question their sanity while getting KO'd with a well placed Smash attack.
    • Items such as crates and barrels can randomly explode in your face. Don't expect to ever see a CPU grab an explosive one.
  • The Command & Conquer: Red Alert series feature Gap Generators, structures which create a permanent shroud above itself, effectively hiding anything that is covered by its radius of effect. It is somewhat effective in multiplayer for long games, because it can hide units and structures, forcing your opponents to guess what sort of attack to send your way. However, it's completely useless against AI opponents, which are omniscient and can target any specific unit or structure, even ones that it isn't supposed to see. To be fair, the AI still won't be able to send any standard aircraft to attack units/structures within the Gap Generator's field of effect. Special Weapons utilising aircraft (Paratroopers, Spy Plane, Parabombs), however, can and will be used by the AI when possible.
    • The whole "Stealth is useless in single player" theme is continued in Zero Hour and Tiberium Wars. Nothing, up to and including cloaking your entire base and any units, will stop the enemy from finding them. Sure your army may be stealthed, but without even any stealth detection units (normally required to be able to fire upon stealth), the AI will blow your men to pieces in skirmish mode.
    • Tiberian Sun also cheats in skirmish mode. No matter the difficulty, the AI knows exactly where your Construction Yard is, even if you moved it halfway across the map prior to deploying it, so long as they have seen any of your units. Even a lowly Scout Bike.
      • More annoying than this is the ability for the AI to send subterranian APCs full of engineers or other troops right into the middle of your base, even if the AI has never seen your base . When you have control over the same APCs, you can't send them anywhere that you haven't already been.
    • The final DC mission of Tiberium Wars' Nod campaign is particularly notorious. If you cause a ruckus in the GDI base with Shadows, it doesn't matter in which direction you flee in. The AI will always follow the Shadows even though it clearly can't see them. If the Shadows are on the ground, the following APCs just run them down but if they are in the air, the followers just keep circling below until a Pitbull arrives and the shooting begins (since the units now can clearly see what they've been following blindly).
      • Oddly sometimes units will follow stealth units around..and then stand next to them, not attacking but frustrating your efforts to use those units.
  • Averted in all Cry-Engine games (Far Cry, Crysis, and Crysis 2), where enemies can't see you through foliage. This isn't as prominent in Crysis since you have a cloaking device, but in Far Cry it's your primary means of stealth.
  • Far Cry 2 averts this, if the player quickly runs away from a gunfight and slips off in another direction, the AI will presume he's still in the last known location and maintain suppressing fire.
    • Also played straight in that once one bad guy has spotted the player, every goon in the area instantly knows exactly where he is and can fire with pinpoint accuracy even when the player is crouched in head-high grass he himself is unable to see through. Darkness also seems little hindrance.
      • Played straight in the original as well where enemies would come from miles away and zero in on your position.
  • Notable in Hitman 2, which being a Stealth Based Game is generally pretty good in this respect, is the snow pass level: the developers apparently forgot that a blizzard, at night ought to have some effect on the ninjas' ability to spot you; they're also preset to realize that your papers are fake and open fire after a five-second animation - even if you walk away and are well out of sight by the time they're done reading them. It gets worse with the snipers in watchtowers. Even if you are wearing a ninja uniform that completely covers your face, from hundreds of feet away they will instantly recognize you as an impostor and shoot you on sight.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, the Imperial Guard AIs not only have the uncanny ability to not only know exactly where your stealthed units are, but also the ability to place long range auspex (radar) scans right on top of them. To make matters worse, this ability has an unfairly short cooldown (for its effects, at least), the Imperial Guard can have five HQ buildings (which use the radar), and each HQ building's radar is on a separate cooldown from the others. This can be exploited by having some dummy stealthers around to attract auspex scans whilst the real stealth units do their work, but that's a waste for the most part. (It's a little less wasteful with the Tau or Space Marines, who have access to cheap stealth units.)
    • It's similar in StarCraft, with the Terran AI always placing their Comsat Scans at the exact location of your invisible units. To be fair, though, it doesn't exploit its knowledge until you give it a reason to "notice" the unit, so it's not that unfair. In a subversion, the AI is actually doing less than a human could. Stealthed units are visible to players, they blur the area they move through. Many Observers, Ghosts and Wraiths got revealed by a scan of an observant player. In Starcraft 2 burrowed Roaches and Infestors can also be seen when moving underground. Stationary stealthed units are harder to spot, and burrowed ones are truly invisible unless in the presence of a detector.
  • In Warcraft 3 it is impossible to hide from the AI unless you use the World Editor to make all of your units and buildings invisible. The AI knows where you are at all times, when you're away from your base, when you start making a new base and when you are at your weakest.
    • The AI in Warcraft and Warcraft 2 both fall into this trope as well. In fact, both games feature Invisibility spells that are 100% useless when playing against a computer opponent.
  • X-COM: Enemy Unknown: As soon as an alien sees one of your soldiers, their Ethereals and/or high-ranking Sectoids can make psionic attacks on any of your soldiers (although they will always target the weakest non-mindcontrolled soldier first). Also, after round 20 the enemy will know your positions automatically.
    • Though the second case is understandable, if the last alien wasn't found after 20 turns it might be very boring to track him down, so if he knows where you are and comes for you it gets much better. The problem comes when you're going at an alien base or very large UFO that'll probably take more than 20 turns to clear...
  • Inverted in Mario Kart Wii, with the view-obscuring Blooper Ink interface screw. For regular players, it makes it hard to see what's up ahead of you, but certainly not hard to see where the track is. For computer-controlled players, however, expect to see extreme amounts of off-course racing when it happens!
    • Likewise in Mario Kart DS.
      • Further inverted in DS once you realize that you could just switch to the bottom screen for the short time that the Ink is effecting you.
    • Also in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing(With Banjo-Kazooie), the Pocket Rainbow, which works like the Banana Peel of Mario Kart, but instead, acts like a Gooper Blooper. This is also inverted by the Shooting Star, which makes the player's screen upside-down.
  • Also averted in Left 4 Dead. When AI-controlled Survivors are vomited on by the Boomer, they will stand in place and flail helplessly at the air with their melee attack for several seconds. Ironically, they are worse than human players in this instance.
    • And many others.
    • Although in both games in Versus Mode an AI controlled player will be able to spot any infected looming in the dark behind trees or crops and pick them off much to the Infected player's frustration.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, it comes from pathing.
    • Goblin invaders automatically know the shortest way into your fortress. Dwarf Fortress players being what they are, of course, they figured out that if you keep two ways into your fortress and alternate opening and shutting the doors to them, it's possible to get the gobbos to march back and forth through your hallways full of giant swinging axe blades and walls of rotating saws until the entire siege is reduced to a fine paste. In fact, you can automate it and they will never catch on.
    • Also, the dwarfs always know the shortest route, even if they've never been where you tell them to go. They can't see an ambushing enemy that hasn't been spotted, but once it's spotted every dwarf will know where it is from then on.
    • Interestingly averted by humans. Goblin soldiers will gladly blunder into your traps time and time again. Piss off the humans, though, and their soldiers will remember and avoid every trap their merchants or diplomats saw.
  • In the Rainbow Six series, once you make a noise with an unsilenced weapon or a stray bullet ricocheting, the tangos in the area will all know your position, although they can't see you yet. And when they do see you, even if you peek around a corner, they will almost always get an instant One-Hit Kill.
  • If you kill a baby or eat an egg in Spore, the entire species will know. Always.
  • An example that can be turned to the player's advantage; if you give any party members a "Foe: <Element>-weak" gambit in Final Fantasy XII, your allies will always know when the enemy is weak to that element, even if the enemy has immunity from the Libra effect (that reveals weaknesses).
    • Inverted in Final Fantasy Tactics A2: the player can see enemies' reaction abilities, but the AI can't. This leads to the AI wasting turns by doing things like using normal attacks on units whose reaction ability makes them always dodge normal attacks.
    • Final Fantasy IV has an enemy called the Li'l Murderer (or Tricker in the SNES version), and it scans itself. Thus you know it's weak against lightning. But if you use lightning on it, it will start casting high-powered lightning spells on all of you, whereas otherwise, it would just scan itself until it died.
  • In Transcendence, if you're being hit by blinder cannon while shields are down, your visual will turn static, signifying that it's being damaged. If the enemy got hit? It does absolutely nothing.
  • City of Villains has two types of enemy ambushes: the first kind that simply run to the spot on the map where you were when you triggered it and will either run into you along the way or be waiting for you if you come back, and then the kind that make Stalkers scream bloody murder because they home in one you no matter where you go and see right through stealth even if they normally cannot.
    • The second type was also a nightmare for Masterminds before the introduction of Bodyguard - the hostile mobs would zero in on the vulnerable player and ignore the expendable pets.
  • Anyone who's played a Sram in Dofus knows that this applies. Enemies can see everything you do, and can even track (and sometimes attack) you when you're invisible.
    • This is subverted now. Instead of knowing where you or your traps are, the A.I. makes an educated guess on where you are when invisible. Turning invisible, and then using 1 movement point, it will know you are on one of the squares right next to your former location, and have to make a guess based on that, just like any human player would. The same applies to Traps, as they too are invisible, only here they generally fail at guessing, and always assume you placed the trap in a perfectly linear path in the direction you are facing (Which you don't nessesarily have to). Oddly enough, even in high-tier PvP, the players are generally less intelligent than the A.I.'s anyway, as most Self-proclaimed "Pros" Generally assume everyone are predictable idiots.
  • Team Fortress 2 developers recently released a beta for bots which attempt to avert this, by having them simulate what a human would realistically see and hear in a match, instead of relying of server side data. And it kinda works. The bots won't open fire until they see you, but they will always hit you, and while they can see through a Spy's disguise they won't attack one until the disguise is dropped.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, subjecting the AI to Fog of War is not yet implemented. This is probably why the single-player campaigns don't use Fog of War most of the time.
  • A lot of the Yu-Gi-Oh! games before the DS's release have done this. While this was perfectly justified for Pegasus, who actually had this ability in the series, it doesn't excuse the other opponents. Of course, the reason for this before the DS could have been programming restraints.
    • Ironically, Pegasus easily has the worst AI in the first GBA game, more than making up for his cheating by wasting cards, replacing his cards in play with inferior cards, and pretty much anything he can possibly do to give himself a disadvantage.
      • Pegasus is always extra blatant about this in any game he's in. This is most obvious in Duelist of the Roses. In this game terrain bonuses and penalties come into effect. Most of the AIs will walk into losing battles if you play your card face down on occasion, and can be bluffed some of the time. Pegasus will accurately calculate the attack of your facedown card after all effects, and make sound decisions based on it.
    • In particular, this made the card Magical Hats, which gives an opponent to 1 in 3 chance of hatting your monster, largely useless [1]; the AI would always attack the monster you were trying to protect!
  • The Supreme Commander AI doesn't need radars or radar-equipped units to spot a cloaked ACU and blow it to hell with two tactical missiles (which aren't even homing, yet the AI always hits dead-on).
  • The Elder Scrolls games are notorious for this. Along with the all-seeing enemies that home in on you as soon as you're within 500 yards of them (Daggerfall even let enemies see you through entire floors and closed doors), there's the all-knowing guards. Any time you kill someone even in the same general area of a guard, regardless of whether or not they see or hear you, you get a bounty on your head. Even if you're completely invisible, they'll still know you did it. Fortunately, their pathfinding in their attempts to arrest you doesn't benefit from this clairvoyance in Oblivion.
    • It's not quite as bad in Oblivion; enemies actually have to see you, and there has to be a witness to the murder for you to get a bounty.
      • ...Except for a special condition for both of those. Enemies know exactly where you are even if you 1-shotted their friend with a Stealth shot from a bow (even if they were looking away from you and their friend AND there's no way they could see your hiding spot), and killing a guard gets you an automatic bounty even without a witness.
    • Skyrim is extremely bad about this. Often, even when the enemy you just killed is a totally blind Falmer, whom you killed with a stealth attack, with a bow, from 500 yards away, instantly, his friends (who are also totally blind) will all begin running STRAIGHT towards you with laser-perfect accuracy. All at once. It can get pretty ridiculous sometimes.
      • Another striking example are the "Hired Thug" groups that are sent after you in retribution for stealing stuff. They slowly and magnetically home in on you, no matter where in the game world you are. Even if you manage to fool them for a moment, they will only roam around disoriented for a couple of seconds - afterwards, all of them will turn your way again. And slowly start creeping towards your new position. Invisibility potions, shadow, heavy fog, perfect stealth, cliffs and 10foot-thick rock cover be damned.
    • Merchants and guards in Morrowind have another kind of clairvoyance: every item has its owner's name baked inside, so when you steal something (and so ownership doesn't change), even if no one sees you and no alarms are raised ALL guards all over the world will know that it's stolen and should you be fined for sleeping in someone's bed without permission they will also confiscate the previously stolen item. Similarly, a merchant will recognize an item if you try to sell them back what you stole from them, even if it is a single arrow in a 300 arrow stock.
      • Source port OpenMW fixes this by making stolen items no longer stack (and merge ownership with) legitimate items.
  • Halo 2 has unlockable skulls that make the game harder. One of them allows enemies to see you through walls, making them impossible to catch off guard.
    • The Whuppapotamus skull allows enemies to see you when you have the Invisibility Cloak on, among other AI upgrades.
    • On Legendary difficulty in any game, once alerted to your presence, the AI will be able to send pinpoint fire to your location every time you poke your nose out. They can actually be facing away from the player, but the second the Chief/The Rookie/Noble Six exposes themselves, they are instantly alerted.
  • In just about every shooter, there will often be a lot of dust and smoke and explosions and whatnot cluttering up your vision, but the enemy AI will almost always be able to clearly see and shoot you through it unless it's specifically caused by a smoke grenade or a flashbang.
    • And in Soldier of Fortune II and the later Call of Duty games, they can see you through smokescreens too!
    • In most shooters, darkness doesn't inhibit the AI's vision either.
  • In the Call of Duty series, stealth missions suffer from this. In Modern Warfare, the enemies will instantly where you are if you are revealed, even by guy you killed immediately after while he was alone. For a particuarly egregious example of this trope, see Roach's first mission in Modern Warfare 2.
  • Go ahead and use Reptile's invisibility on any difficulty setting for Mortal Kombat II, and see if the AI is at all inhibited by it.
  • In StarCraft, the same is true. The AI is aware of everything on the map, even if it can't actually target it (cloaked units, units or buildings out of sight, etc). Even then though, they can still sometimes target them. In Brood War, for example, if you're up against a Protoss AI and they have Dark Archons or High Templar, don't be surprised if one of them suddenly wanders out of their base... they have a specific target in mind and they're going for it, or die trying.
    • Also, playing against a human in StarCraft, you can hide tech buildings in a random corner of the map where no sane player would look until he/she noticed the buildings not in your base (Which in of itself, is easily preventable); on the other hand, there's no point in hiding tech buildings from the computer. You're better off putting your entire tech tree in the back of your main base, behind your army and possible stationary defenses; ironically enough, a tactic that doesn't work against humans. (Humans just simply fly over your army and defenses and go straight for important buildings, the computer attacks the first thing it comes across.)
      • Like the Warcraft example above, the computer will always go for your least defended base without seeming to even know where it is before the attack.
  • Blizzard really made an effort to prevent this in StarCraft II. On difficulties other than Insane, the AI does not see the entire map. But it does like to send scouts to every nook and cranny, and adapts to the units and buildings it sees.
  • Bots in Counter-Strike are schizophrenic in this. If you throw a smoke grenade they run right past you if you stand in the smoke, other times on a labyrinth-like map with 3-4 paths leading to where the bot is standing, he will place himself to exactly the path the next enemy will come from and then to the next, the next...
    • And other times when he is all alone and you come from behind a corner he waits long enough with firing so you could introduce yourself.
  • Guards in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops are practically psychic. Even if you're playing as one of them, wearing the same face-obscuring uniform, with the same equipment, if anything suspicious happens, such as an explosion, they will instantly know you were behind it, even if it would be completely impossible for any of them to have seen you plant the bomb.
  • In Mount & Blade AI does not have it's vision hurt by foggy/night battlefield. As the player is the only one that can use archers properly without Warband's AI upgrades (that is, put them on top of a hill and wait for the enemy), this tends to be in your favor.
  • Oddly inverted in the obscure real-time strategy game Metal Marines, at least in the PC version. A side loses when all three of its "bases" are destroyed. Normally, the AI will ruthlessly attack any assets of yours it "discovers", but it will completely ignore any base hidden under a camouflage unit until one of its missiles, which it fires at random locations on your map, happens to hit its location. A human player, on the other hand, will recognize the distinctive camouflage unit icon and immediately target it with a missile. This particular bit of Artificial Stupidity turns the camouflage unit into a complete Game Breaker; you can just build a single missile launcher, fire it, let it get destroyed, and repeat this process until the AI no army left, because it never quite gets around to actually killing you.
  • In Soldier of Fortune: Payback's final stage, "Club Evolution", the dancefloor's disco lights are blindingly bright to you, but they don't faze the Mooks one iota.
  • Averted in Perfect Dark with the tranquilizer. When human players are hit, the screen goes blurry and it becomes hard to see. When the AI is hit, they essentially lose their ability to see entirely, resulting in them firing their guns at everything except you.
    • Also in Perfect Dark, if you enter a lit area with your night vision goggles, it becomes blurry and impossible to see. In one stage, if the lights go out in a place where the female guards are wearing night vision goggles and you turn the lights back on, they are also blinded and are unable to shoot you.
  • Oftentimes in Civilization, the computer will send out settlers to claim every strategic resource they can find before you can. This includes resources that only become visible later in the Tech Tree.
    • It kind of does this for you as well. In Civ 4, at least, the game will suggest where to settle your city, and sometimes it is suggesting a place where you will find iron/uranium/gold/etc later on.
  • Inverted in Guitar Hero III, which has a battle mode famous for its Interface Screws. In this game, the attacks actually cause the AI to screw up far more than a human player would. Go ahead: try the "raise difficulty" attack on an easy portion of a song. The AI will still miss half the notes, even if they all happen to be green.
  • In the original Descent, the AI most prominently exhibits this asshole behavior on Insane difficulty. They can even track you if you have an Invisibility Cloak.
  • In Company of Heroes the Computer AI can see through the fog, this means that AT Guns and Mortars are able to attack your units as long as you are in range.
    • It's not as bad as it used to be though, the AI used to fire mortars at cloaked units.
  • Operation Flashpoint has enemies that will shoot you. Without any chance to see even one pixel of them even if you look exactly in the direction you see the bullet coming from. This starts going downhill but continues anyway in the later games - it isn't until Arm A II: Operation Arrowhead that the AI finally plays fair (which is rather ironic, given that the expansion's Takistan doesn't have as much foliage for the AI to magically see you through anyway).
    • In Operation Flashpoint, this trope is inverted for the effect "the AI sees perfectly through the night". Any AI soldier (except those wearing Night Vision Goggles) has his aiming and vision capacity very handicaped in night time... even when standing in a well-lit town or under a clear and starry sky (where a human player will see a lot better without Night Vision Goggles).
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has this as a moderate problem in the campaign. Any time there is something obstructing your view, it is basically non-existent to the AI. Dust? They see right through it. Snow? Fat chance that'll slow their snipers down. A SOLID CONCRETE WALL!? Haha, they know exactly where you are at ALL times, and if you try to hide there and regenerate your health they'll immediately pull out an RPG and break the wall down. This makes certain sections FAR more difficult than they should be.
  • A video-yet-not-video game example comes from Re Boot. Whenever put into a game, Bob is able to use Glitch to scan the game and tell him every facet of the game he otherwise should not know. In short short, Bob (the computer) is a cheating bastard.
    • Perhaps as a nod to this, one of the most frequently used Glitch powers is a scanner pinpointing the exact location of the user (i.e: the human player) and his progress.
  • In Fire Emblem games, (6 to 10), on fog of war maps the enemies will know where you are. Always. What makes this even more frustrating is the fact that if the player runs into an enemy (in a space they cannot see) the character that was moving cannot perform any other actions for that turn. Enemies can charge right into your characters and attack anyway, crossing this into My Rules Are Not Your Rules.
  • In STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, once you blow your stealth, all nearby enemies will know where you are. Fortunately, this is fixed in just about every mod out there, except for Oblivion Lost, when the AI get incredible aim, and can see you from a hundred meters away in pitch darkness.
    • Though it is somewhat averted, seeing how if you open fire on a group of enemies, but flank around, for example, the building that the they are in and enter through the back, they'll still be scrambling around near the front, trying to find you. In fact, when facing multiple enemies in close quarters, using this tactic is practically a requirement.
  • In Unreal Tournament, AIs know when and where double damage and other valuable powerups spawn and will go for them immediately. In certain matches, this effectively means that you're forced into a metagame that revolves around continually monitoring those spots unless you enjoy facing enemies with a constant advantage on you. Good players often behave this way, too, which the AI is presumably designed to mimic.
  • If you blow your cover in Splinter Cell, the enemies in the level will all know your position.
    • Conviction refined this; enemies now fire and search Sam's last known position, allowing him to sneak around and flank them. Sam himself gains "Sonic Goggles" that let him see enemies through walls. In the very level he gets them, he faces foes armed with similar devices. Uh-oh.
  • In World of Warcraft, Keristrasza, the last boss of a dungeon called The Nexus, inflicts a damaging debuff that can only be removed by jumping... and not by killing her, which triggers the distractions of achievement, loot-roll and "Dungeon Complete!" pop-ups.
    • Mobs can actually see you from behind. While yes, you could say they simply heard you walking, but they'll do it from about twenty feet away. But even worse than this? Mobs can see you through walls. As long as you step into their aggro range, a mob will come screaming at you, whether it makes any sense or not.
  • In Eternal Champions, Xavier's Interface Screw spell is absolutely useless against AI opponents.
  • Some old Battleship games fit this trope - you didn't know where the AI's ships were placed, yet for some reason, they knew where you placed yours. So imagine, to many players horror, that the AI absolutely never missed because it knew exactly where you placed your ships while you were left guessing as it hit every single one of your ships.
  • Mostly averted in the Thief series, where stealth is the entire object of the game. However, one notable exception occurs in games 1 and 2 of the series, where if you alert an NPC and then hide in a dark area, the NPC will always end up walking directly towards your precise location while "searching".
    • However, this can work out well. If you make some noise, you can move enemies out of areas that are dangerously lit up into the dark, where you're waiting with your trusty blackjack.
  • Medal of Honor. This rears its ugly head in the Command Post, where the guards will clairvoyantly detect you sneaking in and sound the alarm (especially on Hard difficulty), and in Sniper Town, where the snipers have greater visual range than you and will instantly hit you the moment you step into their line of sight, and enemies in general will accurately chuck grenades from places where they shouldn't be able to see you. And once you tip off a guard in a Stealth-Based Mission, all the enemies in the level know it.
  • Sometimes happens in poorly written computer poker games. If the computer makes large bets and multiple reraises while holding cards that are complete rubbish, and then proceeds to pull an improbable victory out of the draw - like if it bets huge on a 2-7 off-suit in Texas Hold 'Em and ends up with a full house, or replaces four cards in five-card draw and hits a straight flush - the odds are good that you're dealing with this trope, especially if you notice it happening multiple times per game. Another clue is if you notice the computer frequently drops whenever you get a strong hand, even if you bet minimally or not at all...as if it somehow knows it can't beat you.
  • In Seven Kingdoms, the AI ignores Fog of War and unexplored areas, and always knows where everything is. This becomes especially noticeable when playing as Japan, as their Seat of Power lets them see when other players target their buildings—from the other end of the map, without ever having seen that civilization before.
  • Played straight in the first two Splinter Cell games due to the limitations of the creators/software; due to said problems, every time the enemy is alerted, they all instantly know where you are and don't go away unless dealt with, either resulting in sheer frustration or persistence to win when combined with the extreme difficulty.
  • The hostiles in Minecraft are like this, but only after they've already spotted you the normal way. Then they can track your movement through any kind of wall and even explode from behind a thin wall. Results in Artificial Stupidity in that transparent blocks like glass count as walls, so mobs cannot see you through glass unless you've already been spotted through just air.
    • Played straight with Spiders and their poisonous relatives Cave Spiders. They can sense you through walls.
  • As soon as you reveal that there's an intruder in Deus Ex, even if you don't telegraph your position (say, by shooting somone in the heard with a silenced pistol from behind cover), everyone comes running straight for you.
    • In the sequel, since the Omar are a Hive Mind, if you kill one, the entire race turns against you.
  • A particularly egregious example involves information only the player is supposed to have. It's bad enough the cops in Grand Theft Auto IV already manage to appear within their own line-of-sight of you just as you're getting out of their "arrest zone", but it becomes even more blatant when they appear specifically on a GPS route you've laid out for yourself.
  • In Medal of Honor: Airborne, enemies know when you are scoped in while using a sniper rifle and move just out of the way. Paranoid Nazis.
  • In Pocket Tanks, there are a number of weapons that will randomize a tank's gun angle and power. These are of course completely useless against AI tanks, which always know the angle and power for a perfect trajectory even in gale-force winds that switch direction every turn.
  • Globulation 2 gives every newly-hatched worker on the map instinctive knowledge of where exactly to find every resource, whether your scouts have seen it or not. Request to build a wall section, and one will immediately beeline to the only accessible pile of rocks half of the map away. It's something you must curb: you have to set up Forbidden zones preventing the workers from throwing themselves in harm's way - if the path is closer, they'll try to walk right by the enemy turrets in droves, no matter how many already got splattered there.
  1. It can still thin decks and use the, then few, effects that take spells/traps from the graveyard, but its main use is gone