I really feel like the bartender is some running joke. It’s come and gone from the roadmaps for years. It seems like it is here to stay this time around. It’s pretty much complete and is in the Evocati test builds and so far it works. But it is so much more than just some NPC that mixes drinks and serves them to players. It actually mixes digital drinks with set ingredients and it does so without relying on a series of canned animations.
From the June 2020 monthly report:
An ammo box is nothing else than an item provider. The item itself could produce magazines or it might have magazines attached, similar to how a beer fridge can contain beer bottles, but a mixing station can create the drinks from specific source items. This allows NPCs to search for places in the world that can provide them with magazines of a specific type, relocate to those objects, and refill their loadout. This gives opportunity for the player and forces NPCs to evaluate the environment to decide if and when it’s appropriate to use those refill spots.Character Combat Team – June 2020 Monthly report
The NPC Bartender represents an AI system which is able to evaluate the requirements to complete a task it is given and then analyze the situation it is an and develop a solution to the task.
This enables an AI feature and capability set like we have not seen before. Take this situation as an example:
This will enable NPC crew members to actually perform ship maintenance tasks. Say you have an O2 leak onboard your ship and you tell your NPC technician to go fix the O2 leak. The NPC technician AI could then go and analyze the leak and determine what it needs to fix the leak – both tools and material. It’ll go see that maybe a pipe section needs to be replaced so it gets replacement pipe segments from the supply bay and determines it needs certain tools – whatever those might be – to remove the broken section of pipe and replace it with the new section of pipe. It may also know that in order to make the fix in the first place, it has to shut off the O2 flow through that segment of piping so it may do that first.
Another tasking example might be to tell your NPC quartermaster/supply technician to “Stock the ship with food and water” after landing in Area 18… The NPC will then go to the food market and buy food and water and then return to the ship and put the food and water items into the ship’s storage.
Now that this AI is in the game (or will be shortly) the game developers only have to add the refill points for the parts and the tools to perform the job. Perhaps the developers only have to add in the places to store those components for the task and it is up to the players – or perhaps another NPC – to fill the containers!