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Migration from Blogger to WordPress

May 1st, 2010

Well, after the migration to the “New Blogger”, I discovered that they won’t support my php includes so that the blog can fit into the rest of my site. Therefore, I am going to ditch Blogger entirely.

After having worked as an author for a couple of other blogs that used WordPress, I figure that it was a decent solution. Therefore, I am going to begin installing WordPress and see if I can get all my existing content over to it. Things may look ugly for a bit but hopefully I can get it taken care of.

Oh… and a big thank you to Google/Blogger for screwing up dozens (if not scores) of hours of my work. Good work, folks.

Blog Migration

April 30th, 2010

Because Blogger is doing away with their FTP publishing as of May 1st, I have to convert this blog over to a new type of system with them. Unfortunately, because I have their custom code embedded in my Intrinsic Algorithm pages, this is likely not going to go smoothly. Hopefully, there will be very little down-time. Please accept our apologies if something goes amiss.

Heading to GDC and the AI Summit

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 in new Kill Screen Magazine

February 12th, 2010

Last summer, Dave was interviewed by Matt Shaer for the debut issue of a new game magazine, Kill Screen. The magazine bills itself as a “game magazine for grown ups” rather than the more juvenile fare that one finds in other game industry mags.

Issue #0 is going to be shipping in the next few weeks complete with a major feature story about the state of game AI and how it leads to deeper games. The primary focus of the conversation (and what brought Matt to Dave in the first place), is extensive discussion of the ongoing development work on Airline Traffic Manager as an example of an AI-based game.
It’s unfortunate that the story took so long to run (the interview was conducted in Father’s Day, 2009). Some of the information is a little out of date. For example, Matt talks about the lecture Dave did at “this year’s AI Summit” with Richard Evans and Phil Carlisle. That lecture, of course, was from last year’s 2009 AI Summit. By the time many people read this article, we will already be rolling out the 2010 AI Summit at GDC.
Regardless, some things are accurate… such as the fact that development work on Airline Traffic Manager is still stalled. We are now grumbling about this internally and are looking at restarting things – even if only on a part-time basis. More on that later.
Anyway, Dave was honored that Matt wanted to include him in the interview. We have see the full text of the article and it is well-written. Now we are just looking forward to seeing it in print for the first time!

Dave Mark at 2010 GDC AI Summit

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!

Consulting for Project Aurora Games

December 5th, 2009

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.

Returned from GameX Industry Summit

October 28th, 2009

I have returned from the GameX Industry Summit in Philadelphia. It was a small, but interesting event with a number of good speakers. I am looking forward to working with them again in the future.

2010 GDC AI Summit Announced

October 21st, 2009

The GDC folks have put up the main page for the AI Summit at the 2010 GDC. This year, I am listed as a Summit Advisor alongside Steve Rabin. While I helped out a lot last year, I wasn’t listed as an official advisor. That makes for a wonderful honor. I’m so pleased to be working with all the great people in the AI Game Programmers Guild to put this event on.

Back from AIIDE and ready for GameX

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.

On the Level 3 Red Couch

September 28th, 2009

As a speaker at GDC Austin, I was invited by Level 3 to sit on their “Red Couch” for a video interview. Because they are an internet backbone provider, their whole take is how connectivity over the net enables “stuff”. I tweaked my spiel accordingly. It’s only about 5 minutes long.

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