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13.2 Flocking and Herding Games > 13.2.3 Steering Behavior Stability - Pg. 838

838 Chapter 13 AI-Based Game Genres when they are directly being chased. Moving in spurts also gives a creature the air of being furtive and nervous, which may be beneficial. In terms of both speed and cohesion, it is important to reduce the inertia of moving characters. While birds in flocking simulations typically have a lot of inertia (it takes a lot of effort for them to change speed or direction), creatures that are being manipulated by the player need to be allowed to stop suddenly and move off in a new direction. With high inertia, a decision that leads creatures to change direction will have consequences for many frames and may affect the whole group's motion. With low inertia, the same decision is easily reversed, and the consequences are smaller. This may give less believable behavior, but it is easier (and therefore less frustrating) for the player to control. It is interesting to note that there are real-world international herding competitions that require years of training. It is difficult to herd a handful of real sheep. A game probably shouldn't require the same level of skill for it to be playable. 13.2.3 Steering Behavior Stability As the decision making and steering behaviors of a group of creatures is made more sophisticated, a point often arises when the group doesn't seem to be able to act sensibly on its own. This is often characterized by sudden changes in behavior and the appearance of an unstable crowd. These