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Working with Storybricks on the AI for EverQuest Next!

eqn-logoA few months ago, I posted an article (AI Consulting Contract with @Storybricks on AAA MMO) that was a little vague. Yes, I had started on a long-term contract working with Storybricks on a contract for a 3rd party, but I couldn’t divulge who at the time. The secrete was not all that well kept over that time, but I couldn’t officially say who I was working for and what I was working on until only a few weeks ago.

So, I can now say that, for the past 4 months — and likely for quite some time into the future, I will be working as part of a Storybricks-staffed team doing the AI for Sony Online Entertainment’s new MMO, EverQuest Next. It is what SOE is calling “the biggest sandbox MMO ever developed.” And if you watch the videos below, you can see why they say that!

Storybricks Logo

This is an enormously exciting project to be working on due largely to the sheer scope of what they want to do… especially with AI.  Some of these ideas were coincidentally things that I spoke about in my 2009 GDC Austin lecture on AI in MMOs. Others are ideas that I have talked about in my other, non-MMO-based lectures at GDC and elsewhere — but are relevant nonetheless from an AI standpoint.

The most exciting thing, however, is some of the new and different features they want to do are things I have wanted to see in games ever since I started in MMOs back in September of 1997 with Ultima Online. In short, this project is largely a dream come true for me as an AI developer and a player!

Over the past few months, I have enjoyed immensely working alongside Stéphane Bura, Brian “Psychochild” Green, Ben Sizer and others from Storybricks as well as the entire EQNext team at SOE. The game industry is a talented, creative one in general… it has to be. But the energy in that room about this project is on a different level. I have found it truly inspiring!

For more information on EverQuest Next, here are some videos of the “reveal” from SOE Live in Las Vegas on August 2nd.

 

Part 1

Part 2

 

Anyway, I’ll be talking more about it as I can — somewhat of a staple comment in our industry. And believe me, when you see what we are doing, you will understand why I am brimming with excitement over this game!

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