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Archive for the ‘lecture’ Category

Speaking Engagement at GDC China Cancelled

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Due to a confluence of unfortunate circumstances — including business, personal, and family, I have had to withdraw from speaking at GDC China this year. I was looking forward to attending and once again presenting a lecture there in Shanghai.

Thankfully, it looks like my slot may be in good hands as one of my AI colleagues is likely taking my place. I won’t name him because his details haven’t been finalized.

Speaking at GDC China Again

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

gdcCN_logoForgot to mention that I will be speaking at GDC China again this year. Because they are a little thin on AI content at GDC China, I proposed that I deliver my “Utility Mega Lecture” — a compilation of a variety of the lectures I’ve given on utility over the past 6 years. Here are the official details:

Creating Dynamic Character Behavior with Utility-Based AI

Traditional AI architectures such as finite state machines and behaviors trees have started to buckle under the weight of this complexity leading to huge workloads for designers and brittle, error-prone behaviors for the characters. The past 5 years has seen the rise of utility-based AI to help address this problem. Once used primarily in titles like The Sims or strategy games, utility methods have worked their way into the AI of other genres such as RPGs and shooters. This lecture explains utility-based AI and shows how to use it to create more expressive, responsive characters.

Included with this lecture is a description of the Infinite Axis Utility System that I debuted at the 2013 GDC AI Summit and have used with 3 different clients. I’m looking forward to presenting in Shanghai again and hope that this material is well-received!

2nd Lecture at East Coast Game Conference

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

ECGCI’ve been asked to do a 2nd lecture at the East Coast Game Conference in Raleigh, NC next week. I have agreed to do a combination of some of my utility-based AI lectures from recent years. It will be a combination of GDC lectures from 2010, 2012, and 2013 — including an overview of the powerful Infinite Axis Utility System (IAUS) which I have been using on my recent AI consulting contracts. This is in addition to my lecture on Thursday (Day 2) at 10AM on psychology and AI that I mentioned previously.

The official information on the lecture is:

Running the Numbers: Improving Character Behavior with Utility-Based AI

AI in modern games can be an enormously complex problem. The sheer number of actions and behaviors that game characters can exhibit has been increasing rapidly. When combined with the number and complexity of possible situations those characters may find themselves in, it makes for a massive number of criteria to consider. Traditional AI architectures have started to buckle under the weight of this complexity leading to huge workloads for designers and brittle, error-prone behaviors for the characters.

The past 5 years has seen the rise of utility-based AI to help address this problem. Once used primarily in titles like The Sims or strategy games, utility methods have worked their way into the AI of other genres such as RPGs and shooters. This lecture will give an overview of utility methods, how they work, and why they are often better for handling character AI. Additionally, attendees will learn about the Infinite Axis Utility System – a stand-alone AI architecture that leverages the power of utility in a way that makes crafting behaviors quick and intuitive for designers.

The session will be on Wednesday (Day 1) at 11:15 (2nd session slot). I hope to see you there!

Speaking at East Coast Game Conference

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

ECGCI have recently accepted an invitation to speak at the East Coast Game Conference in Raleigh, NC. ECGC takes place on the 23rd-24th at the Raleigh Convention Center. I will be speaking on a favorite topic of mine, the psychology of AI. The lecture will be similar to a session I presented at the GDC AI Summit in 2012. The official description is below.

Subconscious Fishhooks: Leveraging the Players’ Own Psychology for Believable Characters

When dealing with game AI characters, psychology can’t help but come into play. Players process what they see and experience through a filter of expectations. We expect human-like game characters to exhibit human-like traits. A by-product of the quest to improve AI decisions, however, is that characters can begin to “feel” robotic and sterile. This session will use examples from film and other media showing how we process information in unexpected ways. The lecture will then show how characters can be imbued with simple “psychological fishhooks” in order to seem more “alive” and believable. Note: This session will be of interest to designers, animators, and writers – not just AI programmers!!

The conference also boasts some very interesting speakers from around the industry, including the legendary Ken Rolston. I’m looking forward to not only being a part of this conference, but attending it as well! Hope to see you there!

Speaking at GDC China

Monday, August 19th, 2013

gdcCN13_logo

A few months ago, I was approached by the organizers of GDC China to speak at their conference in September in Shanghai. They have asked me to re-give my well-received lecture from last October’s GDC Online in Austin, “Psychology vs. Structure, the Power of Numbers in Game Design“. I am honored that they asked me to join them (and that they are paying for a good chunk of the travel).

From the site description of the lecture:

Numbers, visible or not, are often at the core of game design. They are the expression of the designer’s vision of “how the world works.” 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.

I will be bringing my wife/VP/CEO Laurie Reynolds along on the trip — it promises to be a grand adventure! Hope to see you there!

Dave Mark Speaking at GDC Online in Austin

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

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: 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 designer’s vision of “how the world works.” 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!

Dave’s Lectures at GDC AI Summit

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

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.

GDC AI Summit: Less A, More I – Using Psychology in Game AI

GDC AI Summit: Embracing the Dark Art of Mathematical Modeling in AI

(Photo by Neil Kirby)

Dave to Speak at NYC’s New Museum/Rhizome

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

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 a triptych of 2-person panels on games and art.

The event is in conjunction with Rhizome.org as part of their New Silent series presenting “contemporary art engaged with new technology.” Rhizome itself is “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”). 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!

 

2011 GDC AI Summit

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

AI SummitA few months back, I was asked to once again be a co-advisor for the now annual AI Summit at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.

Steve Rabin and I set about putting together this year’s program back in September—a full 6 months before GDC. While we brought some ideas of our own, most of the content suggestions came from the collective thoughts of members of the AI Game Programmers Guild. After hundreds of fast-and-furious posts, we have almost completely crystallized what it is that will be in this year’s Summit.

Of the 12 sessions that we have alloted time for, we have submitted 8… 6 of which are already listed on the site. In this, our 3rd year, we are still coming up with new, relevant, and exciting material to present. We believe that it will once again be a great venue for not only broadly educational, but cutting-edge AI material.

Hope to see you there!

Dave Mark to speak at Lockheed Martin in Boston

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I will be presenting a 1-hour lecture on artificial intelligence in games at the Lockheed Martin facility in Burlington, MA outside of Boston. The presentation, “Beyond State Machines: AI Doesn’t Have to be Robotic”, is based on a combination of lectures that I have presented at GDC and GameX in the past year.

Thanks to long-time game AI developer, colleague, tech editor, and good friend, Kevin Dill, for inviting me to speak. (Actually it was more along the lines of “you’re coming to Boston? You’re speaking at Lockheed.”)

On a related note, I’m looking forward to meeting with a number of companies in the Boston area, and especially being able to spend some time with a portion of the veritable cornucopia of excellent AI devs in the area.

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