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Posts Tagged ‘AI Summit’

Thoughts Before the GDC AI Summit

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I have been busily preparing all sorts of stuff at the last minute for the upcoming AI Summit at GDC. Having been involved since the initial discussions started at the last GDC, it has been interesting watching it grow.

The Summit is being put on by the newly formed AI Game Programmers Guild. As such, there are plenty of really sharp people involved. What was very striking, however, was how many times we all made comments expressing how interested we were in going to each others’ sessions! Theoretically, we would put this Summit on for our own benefit even if there were no attendees at all! (Although I believe that the GDC folks would not be terribly pleased by that prospect.) Seriously, we could easily have filled the entire week with the information that we wanted to exchange I, for one, know that I will be at every single AI Summit session with rapt attention. I am even looking forward to hearing what my own co-lecturers, Phil Carlisle and Richard Evans, have to say in our session, “Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters“… and I have already looked at their slides! 

One takeaway from that observation is that we will be talking about a lot of really nifty AI stuff. That much is obvious. Another takeaway, however, is that none of us… even the alleged “experts”… knows everything there is to know about AI. We all want to experience, learn, and expand. That desire comes from the somewhat discomforting awareness that there is a vast expanse of potential laid out before us. As the saying goes, “the more I learn, the more I learn how much I have to learn!” 

I think that will be the underlying theme next week… not just at the AI Summit, but at the entire conference. Sure, there are students and… *ahem*… n00bs at the conference, but there are plenty of seasoned veterans sitting in the audience rather than standing behind the podium or sitting at a panel table. Why? There is plenty more we can do to advance ourselves and, by association, our trade.

This is why we improve AI…

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Happened to see a link to this blog post: That’d be nice; Better A.I.

The author is not alone… many players want what he lists here. And they are getting rather vocal about it. I’m just not so sure that the game companies and the publishers “get it” yet.

I took a moment to assure him that we, as AI programmers, hear his plaintive cry. This, my colleagues, is why we formed the AI Game Programmers Guild and why we are holding the AI Summit at GDC.

More GDC AI Summit Sessions Posted

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

CMP/Think has posted more of the sessions for the GDC AI Summit that I am part of along witht he AI Game Programmers Guild. You can find the current list of sessions here. Both of my primary sessions are up now as well as my bio for what that’s worth.

Characters Welcome: Next Steps Towards Human AI
Date/Time: TBD
Format: 45-minute Panel
Moderator: Robert Zubek (Software Engineer, Three Rings Design)
Richard Evans (Senior AI Engineer, Electronic Arts),
Dave Mark (President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm),
Daniel Kline (Lead Game Engineer, Crystal Dynamics),
Phil Carlisle (Game Programmer and Researcher/Lecturer, University of Bolton),
Borut Pfeifer (Lead AI Programmer, Electronic Arts)

Session Description: AI characters can be beautifully modeled and animated, but their behavior rarely matches their life-like appearance. How can we advance the current state of the art, to make our characters seem more believable? What kinds of human behaviors are still missing in our AI, how can we implement them, and what challenges stand in the way? This session will discuss practical approaches to pushing the boundaries of character AI, past successes and ideas for the future, with an experienced panel representing a wide range of perspectives and games.

Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters

Date/Time: Tuesday (March 24, 2009) 9:00am — 10:00am
Format: 60-minute Lecture
Richard Evans (Senior AI Engineer, Electronic Arts),
Dave Mark (President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm),
Phil Carlisle (Game Programmer and Researcher/Lecturer, University of Bolton)

Session Description: As game characters engage in deeper interactions with the player, subtlety of behavior becomes more important. However, in worlds that feature hundreds of characters, the homogeneous ‘cookie-cutter’ approach of modeling those characters becomes evident, leaving the world feeling repetitive and shallow. Everyone acts the same. Using examples from games such as The Sims 3, we will show how characters can be algorithmically endowed with distinct personality differences so that every one acts as an individual. We will also explore how personality, mood, emotion and other environmental factors enable individual characters to select from a wide array of context-appropriate choices and actions. We conclude with how these behaviors can be expressed through animation selection so as to be more engaging and immersive for the player.

For those of you that are planning on heading to GDC, make sure that you get a pass that allows you to attend the Summits and Tutorials.
This is not an event you will want to miss!

AI Summit at GDC!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Ok… I’ve known about this for about 6 months (since I was in on the original planning phases) but, because things are finally official, I figure it is time to make the announcement here.

The new AI Game Programmers Guild–of which I am a founding member–is putting on a 2-day AI Summit at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. We have a lot of great people putting together 14 hours worth of lectures and panels on the current state of game AI as well as our vision of its future.

Some of the people that are participating include:

Alex J. ChampandardAIGameDev.com
Richard Evans – ex-Lionhead (Black & White), now Maxis (Sims 3)
Soren Johnson – ex-Firaxis (Civ. 3 & 4), now Maxis (Spore)
Borut Pfeifer – EA
Adam Russell – ex-Lionhead (Fable)
John Abercrombie – 2K Boston (Bioshock)
Damian Isla – ex-Bungie (Halo 2 & 3)
Chris Hecker – Maxis
… and a ton more!

The list of sessions is being uploaded over the next week or so. Personally, I am delivering one co-lecture with Richard Evans and Phil Carlisle titled “Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters“. I am also sitting on a panel (description not uploaded yet) regarding what’s missing in human behavior AI.

All in all, the AI Summit is going to be a spectacular event. We are figuring that it will become a yearly fixture at GDC. I am honored to be a part of its inception.

See you there!

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