[This post has been edited due to a request from the client. - Dave]
After many months of waiting to begin, I can officially announce that I am starting on a major consulting contract with Storybricks. Together with some of the staff from the London-based company, I will be working on a long contract developing and integrating Storybricks’ proprietary designs and technology (as well as my own original AI work) into a AAA MMO project.
The alignment of vision between Intrinsic Algorithm and Storybricks on this project (and potentially more) is fairly obvious.Â To quote from the Storybricks site (currently somewhat bare due to non-disclosure restrictions):
We believe that while graphics, gameplay and interface have evolved in gaming, Artificial Intelligence has lagged behind. Our goal is to bring changes to Artificial Intelligence in games as significant as 3D graphics were to game aesthetics.
We designed and built an emotional intelligence engine in order to breathe life into virtual characters. They have their own goals, moods, they interact among themselves and take decisions on their own. The story no longer revolves solely around scripted behavior: game worlds can now be rich and complex.
The first paragraph almost mirrors what I have stated as one of the observations and related design goals of Intrinsic Algorithm for many years. The second paragraph parallels what I have been writing and speaking about for 5 years. Suffice to say, we are headed in the same direction and, for the time being, will be sharing the same road.
The new client’s project provides an excitingÂ opportunityÂ to work on a genre and style of game that I have been wanting to work on for over 15 years. It truly is a dream come true for me in many ways. Additionally, while I cannot yet divulge anything about the project, I feel that it has the potential to significantly change the way games are approached from both the development aspect and the end user experience â€” due in large part to what Storybricks and I will be providing. Thankfully, we have found a company that we did not have toÂ convinceÂ to take this direction â€”Â they wereÂ lookingÂ for it from the start and are completely bought in to what we can provide. This opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking is, in and of itself, tremendously exciting.
Right now, I anticipate working on this project for quite some time. While this is likely to be close to full time (and will have me on the road a lot) I will still be available for AI consulting for small projects â€”Â providing they don’t violate my non-compete clauses, naturally.
Hopefully, later this year, we will be allowed to divulge more about what our work will entail. At that point, I hope you will be as excited as I am about it!
And yes, for those of you who are curious, there isÂ plenty of utility-based AI in it!
I will be attending Boston Gameloop on August 18th. As is the case with “unconferences”, I don’t know whether I will be speaking — or about what, if I do. I certainly am looking forward to theÂ camaraderieÂ and inspiration from everyone there, though!
After taking a year off from the annual Game Developers Conference Online in Austin, Dave is once again speaking this October. This year’s lecture is, as with his 2010 lecture, a game design lecture rather than one on artificial intelligence. Here is the title and description as submitted to GDC…
Psychology vs. Structure:Â The Power of Numbers in Game Design
Numbers, visible or not, are often at the core of game design. They are the expression of the designerâ€™s vision of â€śhow the world works.â€ť There are considerations that go beyond simply balancing an equation, however. Through the selection of numbers such as scores, abilities, damage ranges, and even prices, we are often crafting what a player perceives, believes, and even feels. Through extensive use of (often amusing) examples, this lecture will demonstrate what our numbers may be conveying and explore ways that we can leverage the psychology of numbers to build more engaging games.
Attendees will see concrete examples of how perception, belief, and emotion can be swayed or even manipulated by numbers selection as well as given ideas about how to apply these techniques in their own game designs.
While the lecture is intended primarily for game designers of all experience levels, it will be informative and beneficial to all disciplines including programming, production, art, and executive (e.g. setting prices!).
GDC Online is October 9-11 in Austin, TX. Hope to see you there!
One again, Dave is an advisor for the GDC AI Summit in March. He is also speaking, this time on using psychology in AI and on how we can improve AI through mathematical modeling of behavior. See more about the two lectures at the AI Game Programmers Guild site.
On Friday, December 16th, 2011, I will be participating in an event, The Kill Screen Dialogs at the New Museum in New York City. I will be part of aÂ triptychÂ of 2-person panels on games and art.
The event is in conjunction withÂ Rhizome.org as part of their New Silent series presenting “contemporary art engaged with new technology.“Â Rhizome itself isÂ ”dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.”
Specifically, the Kill Screen Dialogs event is organized with the help of Jamin Warren, co-founder and president of Kill Screen Media (who wrote an interview/article on me in their pilot “Issue 0″).Â I want to thank Jamin for inviting me to be part of this event. I am truly honored.
From the event page:
When are games more than games? When they are communicating with others?
Although videogames are bigger than ever, they are often perceived as cultural silos and not in conversation with other art forms or cultures. In conjunction with videogame arts and culture company Kill Screen, Rhizome invites you to an evening of conversations between game designers and new media artists. Divided into three mini-conversations, the talks will explore three areas: artificial intelligence, with Dave Mark and Mary Flanagan; the feeling of digital objects, with Tabor Robak and Katherine Isbister; and games as space, with Casey Reas and Andy Nealen.
I am excited to be paired up with Mary Flanagan for this as we discuss the role of AI in art and games (and “art games”, I suppose). Mary has done some interesting, thought-provoking work as an artist and game developer, and as a writer.
I urge those of you in the New York area to join us. Tickets are only $8 ($6 for New Museum members). I am sure it will be interesting, educational, and inspiring!
Intrinsic Algorithm will once again be prowling the expansive halls of the LA Convention Center for E3. (Has someone made an RPG level out of that place?) For a wonder this year, we still have openings for meetings about game AI consulting. If you are looking to get a little help on your game and will be at the show, please contact us so we can chat! If not, no worries… it will actually be nice to see the expo floor for a change!
As of last week, we have signed a new contract to do behavioral AI and mathematical simulation modeling for an independent game studio in the Los Angeles area. For now, neither the company nor the project is being disclosed. However, it is made up of industry veterans with many years of experience working on numerous impressive AAA projects for major studios. We hope to be able to provide a formal announcement towards spring of this year.
We are very pleased to be associated with them as well as excited to be working on their very novel project!
And now I’m in Los Angeles visiting what is likely to be my next consulting client. I’m looking forward to being able to announce it here soon! It’s an exciting, novel idea from a new company staffed by some very talented, experienced people. More soon!
I’m on a new client visit in San Francisco (no, I can’t say who yet). I’m enjoying visiting with other friends and colleagues out here though. Even just walking through my GDC stompin’ grounds is inspiring.
Back on Monday. (And the LA for a different client on Wednesday!)