[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!
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!
After dealing with delays in LA, stand-by flight bookings, and a late-night sprint through concourse B in Denver, I have returned from E3.
People keep asking me what I thought of the show and I realize I have no answer for them. After enough E3′s, they all just blend together. I didn’t see any of the keynotes yet – I’ll see them online or read about them. I didn’t wait in line to do demos of all the hot technologies – my time is too valuable for that. To be honest, I didn’t play a single game.
However, I did lurk and watch a lot. My goal at E3 is to take the temperature of the industry. What’s going on? What are companies doing or not doing? And then, I talk to people. It’s amazing how many studios are showing off smoke and mirrors at E3 and passing it off as gameplay. That’s unfortunate, but it is also what the consumer wants. They want to dream and salivate (mostly salivate). It’s also necessary as part of the business model that thrives on pre-release “buzz”.
“Sometimes, the result is a final product that is still smoke and mirrors.”
Anyway, it is also a good time for me, after observing what they are showing, to quietly and discreetly ask them what they really need going forward. And often, assistance with AI is high on the list. After all, placeholder AI for a demo is more smokey and mirrory than anything else. Unfortunately, unlike gameplay and building more levels, which can be planned out to some extent, most of the companies don’t really seem to know where they are going with AI. Sometimes, the result is a final product that is still smoke and mirrors.
On that note, it’s time to do all my follow-up communication. Hopefully in the next few weeks we can announce who we are going to be working with. There’s plenty of companies we are talking to. And we’re excited about every single one!
Dave Mark will be heading out to SoCal once again for E3.
Much like last year, actually attending the conference (as in seeing the show floor) is a bit of a misrepresentation. In fact, there were rumors going around that there was some sort of show where you could play all sorts of new games. There was no time to see if any of that was true, however. Too many meetings!
So, like last year, Intrinsic Algorithm is actively meeting with studios, outsourcing companies, and recruiters regarding their need for AI consulting. If you would like to set up and appointment, feel free to contact us.
Otherwise, if you are one of our many colleagues and will be trolling around the Staples Center, make sure you say “hi”… if you manage to pick Dave out of a crowd of 50,000. (Giving me a call might be easier.)
Intrinsic Algorithm has entered into a consulting contract with Project Aurora Games to provide AI design and programming services for their debut space-based title.
Project Aurora entered into discussions with Intrinsic Algorithm in October of 2009 after their Founder and Creative Director, Mbambu Miller, met Dave Mark at the 2009 GameX Industry Summit in Philadelphia.
Intrinsic Algorithm is excited about assisting in the creation of Project Aurora’s unique gameplay vision.
A little over a month ago, we announced that Intrinsic Algorithm was expanding its consulting to include other industry veterans. At the time, we also had to play it a little close to the proverbial vest in that the people we were bringing on were still attached to their respective studios. One of those people has now left his full-time job, however, so we are able to make the formal announcement! Borut Pfeifer has gone out on his own – in part, to do his “own thing” and, in part, to work as an AI consultant under the Intrinsic Algorithm banner.
Borut (LinkedIn) has worked in the game industry since 2000, first on online casino games and then at his own startup White Knuckle Games. Eventually he went on to work as an AI and gameplay programmer at Radical Entertainment (Scarface: The World Is Yours), and then as lead gameplay programmer on a PS3 launch title at Sony Online (Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom). He’s published articles in the Game Programming Gems series, the AI Game Programming Wisdom series, on Gamasutra, and has taught technical game design at the Vancouver Film School. Most recently he was the lead AI programmer on a game collboration between Steven Spielberg and Doug Church at EALA.
Games he has worked on include:
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, Sony Online Entertainment (developer and publisher), Nov 2006, Platform: PS3. Credited as Lead Gameplay Programmer.
Scarface: The World Is Yours, Radical Entertainment (developer), Viviendi Universal Games (publisher), Oct 2006, Platforms: PS2, XBox, PC. Responsible for collision, AI, and gameplay programming.
“Creating Designer Tunable AI”, AI Game Programming Wisdom 4, editor Steve Rabin, Charles River Media, February 2008.
“Peer-to-Peer Distributed Agent Processing”, AI Game Programming Wisdom 4, editor Steve Rabin, Charles River Media, February 2008.
“Automatic Cover Finding Using Navigation Meshes”, Game Programming Gems 5, editor Kim Pallister, Charles River Media, March 2005.
“Narrative Combat: Using AI to enhance tension in an Action Game”, Game Programming Gems 4, editor Andrew Kirmse, Charles River Media, March 2004.
“Creating an Audio Scripting System”, Game Programming Gems 4, editor Andrew Kirmse, Charles River Media, March 2004.
On behalf of Laurie, the rest of the (yet undiscolosed) consultants at Intrinsic Algorithm, and myself, I would like to express how pleased we are that Borut will be working with us to provide top-quality game AI for our clients.
This has been in the works for some time, but we are finally announcing a major change in the consulting wing of Intrinsic Algorithm. Until recently, IA consulting consisted only of Dave Mark. About the time of GDC and the AI Summit, however, a number of AI programmers got together and decided that there was serious merit in joining forces to provide a combined service.
At this time, IA Consulting includes three very experienced, full-time individuals and two “advisory” consultants. More detail on what those roles entail can be found on the IA Consulting page.
Because we are in a transition period, some of these individuals are still with their companies. That is why we aren’t naming names just yet. As these people transition out of their jobs to work full time for IA consulting, we will announce who they are. Here is a summary of what the IA consultants bring to the table, however.
3 x Full Time Consultants
8 shipped titles – including numerous AAA titles – 5 of which were in the position of only or lead AI programmer