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Archive for the ‘lecture’ Category

Dave Mark to Speak at GDC Online (Austin)

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I will be speaking at the 2010 GDC Online conference in Austin again this year. GDC Online is October 5th – 8th at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX.

Here is the tentative description of his session proposal as accepted by the GDC Online Advisory Board:

Session Description
Many areas of game design and programming benefit from very simple premises found in the 50-year old discipline of game theory. When games go awry, it is often due to not applying one or more of these ideas. Online competitive games in particular are prone to tipping precariously out of balance. By comparing staple online games such as World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, and Starcraft to classic game theory examples such as Rock-Paper-Scissors and Prisoner’s Dilemma, this lecture offers practical tips on how game theory methodologies can be used to craft well-balanced games—and potentially avert disaster!

Session Takeaway
The attendee will see some of the classic example problems of game theory in action, how their concepts can be applied to the design of online competitive games, and how those applications can create richer gameplay.

This will be my second appearance at GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) and my 4th overall participation at GDC events. My 2009 GDC Austin lecture, “Cover Me! Promoting MMO Player Interaction through Advanced AI” garnered a attendee rating of 4.9 (out of 5) compared to the conference average of 4.29. This included a 4.9 score on the item, “Would you recommend this session to a colleague?”

My thanks to the GDC Online advisory board and the wonderful conference staff, Jen Steele and Kara Foley, for the opportunity once again. A special nod to board member Raph Koster whose excellent “Games Are Math” session from last year gave me a reminder of  how relevant this topic is.

Hope to see you all there!

(To download lecture slides from any of my past conference lectures, visit our “media” page.)

Dave Mark GDC/GameX Lecture Slides

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Lost in all my annoyance at the old blog issues, I never mentioned that I have created a page to hold the slides from my lectures in the past. These include:

2009 GDC AI Summit
Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters

2009 GDC Austin
Cover Me!: Promoting MMO Player Interaction through Advanced AI

2009 GameX Industry Summit
The Art of Game AI: Sculpting Behavior with Data, Formulas, and Finesse

2010 GDC AI Summit
Improving AI Decision Modeling Through Utility Theory
AI Devs Rant!

Some of these were joint lectures but only contain my content. The exceptions are the GameX one and the Utility Theory lecture. Both of those were joint with Kevin Dill. I have permission to use his content (as he does with mine).

I will continue to update that page as I do other lectures in the future.

Heading to GDC and the AI Summit

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Once again, Dave is heading to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and once again he will be helping run the AI Summit as a presentation of the AI Game Programmers Guild.

In addition to his role as Summit Advisor, he will be delivering a joint lecture with Kevin Dill entitled Improving AI Decision Modeling Through Utility Theory and taking part in a panel, Deciding on an AI Architecture: Which Tool for the Job?

If you are at GDC this week, you should be able to find Dave at the AI Summit or at any of the various AI roundtables or lectures. See you there!

Dave Mark at 2010 GDC AI Summit

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Dave’s sessions for the 2010 GDC AI Summit have been posted. In addition to being one of the two Summit Advisors this year (along with Steve Rabin), Dave will be giving a joint lecture with Kevin Dill, participating in a panel, and giving a 5-minute “rant”. The session details are below.

Improving AI Decision Modeling Through Utility Theory
Speaker: Kevin Dill (Software Engineer, Lockheed Martin), Dave Mark (President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm)
Date/Time: TBD
Experience Level: Intermediate
Summit: AI Summit
Format: 60-minute Lecture

Session Description
The ‘if/then’ statement has been the workhorse of decision modeling longer than digital computing. Unfortunately, the harsh transition from yes to no often expresses itself through behavior in ways that are just as harsh. Utility theory has roots in areas such as psychology, economics, sociology, and classical game theory. By applying the science of utility theory with algorithmic techniques such as response curves, population distributions, and weighted randoms, we can improve the modeling of the underlying brain of our agents, broaden the potential decision space, and even manage edge cases that other decision systems stumble over.

Idea Takeaway
This lecture explains the underpinnings of utility theory, and shows concrete examples of how to leverage it using the power of other algorithmic techniques regardless of the overall structure being used for the agent AI.

Deciding on an AI Architecture: Which Tool for the Job?
Speaker: Charles Rich (Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Steve Rabin (Principal Software Engineer, Nintendo of America), Alex Champandard (Writer & Contributing Editor, AiGameDev.com), Michael Dawe(Programmer, Big Huge Games), Dave Mark (President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm)
Date/Time: TBD
Experience Level: Intermediate
Summit: AI Summit
Format: 60-minute Panel

Session Description
Often one of the most important issues an AI programmer needs to address is the decision of which architecture to use. This choice lays the foundation for the rest of the project both enabling and limiting choices down the road. With myriad (and even conflicting) pro and con arguments for all the major AI architectures, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for a given project. This panel approaches this issue from a unique perspective. With one person acting as an advocate for each of the popular AI architectures, the panel will be presented with hypothetical game examples and asked to explain why their method is the right tool for the job and why others are not.

Idea Takeaway
While this session is likely to get playfully adversarial, the attendee will be given not only a better understanding of the pros and cons of each of the types, but witness some of the thought processes that must occur when deciding on an AI architecture.


Microtalks – AI Devs Rant!
Speaker: Borut Pfeifer (Freelance Game Programmer/Designer, Plush Apocalypse Productions), Dave Mark (President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm), Adam Russell(Games Studio Manager and Lecturer, University of Derby), Kevin Dill (Software Engineer, Lockheed Martin), Steve Rabin (Principal Software Engineer, Nintendo of America), John Funge (Head of Game Platforms, Netflix)
Date/Time: TBD
Experience Level: Intermediate
Summit: AI Summit
Format: 60-minute Lecture

Session Description
Sometimes things just need to be said. Saying them out loud in a room filled with (hopefully) like-minded people just makes it all the more interesting and cathartic. Seven AI developers from all corners of the industry will deliver quick, to-the-point rants about what’s on their mind. Topics include AI design and programming, working with other portions of the dev team, working with academia, the perception of game AI by the public, scripting languages, and even those scary floating point numbers! Whoever said AI programmers only sit with their heads down over their keyboards?

Idea Takeaway
Find out what’s on the minds of AI developers in a fast-paced, fun, yet hopefully not controversy-rife session!


Back from AIIDE and ready for GameX

Monday, October 19th, 2009

I returned from AIIDE over the weekend. You can follow the posts of my observations and session notes on IA on AI with the tag AIIDE 2009.

I will be leaving on Thursday for GameX in Philly where I am giving a lecture with Kevin Dill on “The Art of Game AI”. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m covering things like multi-attribute utility theory, response curves, and weighted randoms.

Dave Mark to speak at GameX Industry Summit

Friday, August 7th, 2009

I will be speaking along with Kevin Dill (Rockstar-New England) at the GameX Industry Summit in Philadelphia this October 24-25th. From the GameX site:

GameX Industry Summit is designed by industry professionals for industry professionals. It represents a deep and concerted production between the GameX production team and five IGDA chapters in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia, bringing together the best and the brightest of the video game industry, right in the middle of the rapidly expanding East Coast game industry.

Our lecture will be as follows:

The Art of Game AI: Sculpting Behavior with Data, Formulas, and Finesse

Whether designer, producer, or programmer, the term “game AI” summons visions of cold, sterile code. Programmers that deal in AI may be more specific in their definition by listing technical tools such as state machines, search or pathfinding algorithms, behavior trees, or planning architectures. While there is value in selecting the proverbial “right tool for the job,” in very few cases will simply using a chosen tool yield the behaviors that make our characters come alive. The life-magic that we breathe into our agents must come from the subtlety of the numbers, formulas, and relationships between data that we plug into those tools.

This lecture will explore the challenges that are involved in constructing realistic behaviors, the mindset that one must adopt to accurately model these behaviors, and the techniques that can be used to construct them. We will show that many of the decision techniques can often be applied to a project regardless of the underlying logical infrastructure. The attendee will leave with a broad summary of how to approach the artistry of constructing artificial behaviors – and will likely have adopted the annoying habit of assigning values and formulas to everything they see around them.

I’m very much looking forward to sharing the stage with my friend and colleague – and the tech editor of my book, Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI (God help him!) It should be a fun and informative hour of material.

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