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AI Consulting Contract with @Storybricks on AAA MMO

[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.

I am excited to be working directly with Storybricks’ designers StĂ©phane Bura and Brian “Psychochild” Green. When I was approached by Storybricks CEO, Rodolfo Rossini in late 2010, I was intrigued by what he was setting out to do with his new company (then known as Namaste). Neither one of us thought that it would take this long for us to begin working together in a long-term capacity. Over that time, I have seen the direction that Storybricks has taken with their core product — an AI- and personality-driven model for dynamic, modular game characters — and it only served to increase my desire to work with them. The wait was worth it.

The alignment of vision between Intrinsic Algorithm and Storybricks on this project (and potentially more) is fairly obvious. 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 exciting opportunity 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 — due in large part to what Storybricks and I will be providing. Thankfully, we have found a company that we did not have to convince to take this direction — they were looking 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 — 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 is plenty of utility-based AI in it!

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