I have a top down 2d game where the AI spawn at the edges of the map and run towards the center.
I'm using A* and a node mesh to do the pathfinding.
Right now, the AI spawn at a point on the edge of the map and all take the same path which is the shortest route to the center.
Now I want them to be more surprising and interesting and take different paths to each other.
I can immediately think of two ideas for doing this but wanted to know if there are other ways or better ways that people often use?
When one enemy spawns and generates a path to the center, temporarily increase the cost of all the nodes on that path, then slowly decrease them back down over time. Then the enemy AI that spawn later will be forced to take a wider path.
The above approach will lead to AI just taking a wider and wider path though and still be very predictable. So I thought I'd also introduce a number of intermediate goal nodes around the map. When the AI spawn they randomly pick one of the intermediate goals and head there first before heading to the center of the map. Combining this with the above approach of increasing the costs might look pretty good?
What approaches have people found work best to getting the AI to vary the paths they take, look convincing and surprising?