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Posts Tagged ‘GDC’

Soren Johnson – “A Farewell to Civ”

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Soren Johnson, AI guru behind Civ 3 and Civ 4, posted an interesting tidbit on his “Designer Notes” blog entitled “A Farewell to Civ“. He mentioned that since he is no longer with Firaxis (having moved over to the Spore team), his GDC lecture next week will really be his last hurrah in speaking about his work with the Civ series.

One thing’s for sure, I will be avoiding writing about Civ 4 in Post-Play’em until after I attend this lecture. One quote caught my eye:

Essentially, I will be talking about the difference between thinking of the AI as the player’s opponent and thinking of it as simply an extension of the core game design (what one might call the difference between “good” AI and “fun” AI). There will also be a long section on AI cheating – the bane of my existence for many years – concerning which type of cheats are acceptable to players and which type are not, using Civ as an extensive case study. Further, I hope to prove that, for Civ at least, there is no such thing as – and never could be – a “fair” difficulty level where the AI is playing the same game as the human. Your mileage , of course, might vary.

I don’t want to make the mistake of assuming something he did was cheating, or something I thought was cheating was actually brilliant AI work on his part!

Cheating or not, he has done some exceptional work in making Civ 3 and Civ 4 an absolute delight to play… even as an AI guy. I’m looking forward to meeting him.

Look for updates from GDC both here and in the IA News blog.

Kynogon to release Kynapse 5 at GDC

Saturday, February 9th, 2008


Wow I love the GDC.

According to this press release, Kynogon claims they are going to have “Kynapse 5” ready to roll to show at GDC next week.

I’ve been skeptical of AI middleware for a while, but I believe that the industry has matured somewhat to be able to pull off a lot of things in a standardized fashion. I’m definately going to have to stop by and see what they have going on.

My GDC Schedule

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

This is my tentative schedule for GDC. I’m kind of annoyed that many of my sessions overlap. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons why I bring Laurie so she can go to the business and legal ones. However, I hate having to choose between the ones on AI and agile development, for example. Heck… I haven’t even checked on the keynotes like the one from Ray Kurzweil. Usually those don’t conflict with other things too much, though.

Obviously, you can click on the links to learn more about the sessions and/or the people.

My week will also include:

Tuesday night: IGDA party
Wednesday night: Booth crawl & Game Developers Choice Awards
Thursday night: Author’s party for my publisher (see sidebar for link to AI Wisdom 4)
Friday night: AI Programmers Dinner and possibly Video Games Live

Session Speaker(s) Day Start
(305) Serious Games Summit

Eric Zimmerman, Ian Bogost, Tracy Fullerton, Ben Sawyer, Frank Lantz, Donna Djordjevich, Katie Salen, Dante Anderson, Nora Paul, Swen Vincke, Chris Swain, Stephane de Buttet, Robert J. Stone, Jim Parker, Peter Smith, Randy Brown, David T. Schaller, Don Daglow, Greg Trefry, Shawn Firminger, Roger Smith, Tim Holt, Li-Te Cheng, Perry McDowell, Ross Smith, Robert Musson, Bob Hone, Wolf Schuster, Steven Rohall, Amulya K. Garga, John Nordlinger and Richard Wainess

Mon 10:00 AM
New AI Techniques for THE SIMS Richard Evans Wed ?????
Storytelling in BIOSHOCK: Empowering Players to Care about Your Stupid Story Kenneth Levine Wed 9:00 AM
Early Stage Funding for Gaming Start Ups Matthew Le Merle Wed 9:00 AM
Small Studio Survival Stories (Day 1) Jesse Schell Wed 12:00 PM
Outsourcing Group Gathering Munir Haddad Wed 12:00 PM
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 1) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Wed 2:30 PM

Agile Development – Is it the Silver Bullet? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Day 1)

Rich Vogel Wed 2:30 PM
Playing to Lose: AI and “CIVILIZATION” Soren Johnson Thu 9:00 AM
Small Studio Survival Stories (Day 2) Jesse Schell Thu 9:00 AM
Drawing the Line in the Sand – Which Contract Issues to Fight For? Jim Charne and Alex Chapman Thu 2:30 PM
My First MMO Dave Jones Thu 5:30 PM
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 2) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Thu 5:30 PM

Agile Development – Is it the Silver Bullet? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Day 2)

Rich Vogel Thu 5:30 PM
An Agile Retrospective Clinton Keith Fri 9:00 AM
Creating a Character in DRAKE’S FORTUNE Christian Gyrling Fri 9:00 AM
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 3) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Fri 9:00 AM
What’s Next for God Games? Ernest Adams Fri 10:30 AM
Writing Great Design Documents Damion Schubert Fri 12:00 PM
Transition to Scrum Midway through a AAA Development Cycle: Lessons Learned Asbjoern Soendergaard Fri 12:00 PM
FABLE 2 –The Big Three Features Revealed Peter Molyneux Fri 2:30 PM
Building a Better Battle: HALO 3 AI Objectives Damian Isla Fri 4:00 PM

Sid Meier to receive Lifetime Acheivment Award

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Sid Meier, strategy game designer and gaming icon, will be receiving a Lifetime Acheivement Award at this years Game Developers Choice Awards at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this February.

According to this announcement at Gamastura.com:

CMP’s 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards, the highest honors in game development acknowledging excellence in game creation, will honor computer strategy game luminary Sid Meier with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s ceremony taking place at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of developers such as Meier who have made an indelible impact on the craft of game development, as he has with the creation of a number of genre-defining titles including Civilization and Pirates!

I am currently beating my head against the wall that is Civ 4 at the moment, and got many years of pleasure out of the original Civilization and especially Civ 2. I also remember vividly playing F-15 Strike Eagle in the mid-80s and later F-19 Stealth Fighter. Because of what he has meant in my gaming history, I will be honored to be able to be present for this ceremony. Sid Meier truly is one of the great game designers in the industry and I personally salute him and thank him for his contributions.

Congratulations, Sid! Keep it coming!

Ray Kurzweil to speak at GDC!

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Wow… and I was complaining about the lack of AI sessions at the upcoming Game Developers Conference. It was just announced that Ray Kurzweil, inventor and AI luminary, will be presenting a keynote speech at the GDC in February. I plan on catching that session!

Among other things, he runs the website KurzweilAI.net which just has a rediculous amount of news about all facets of AI, technology, and even some psychology. I would very much recommend people check out the site.

Going to GDC?

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Hey all… if you are going to be at GDC, make sure to let me know! Of course, if you are an AI person, we are likely to see each other at the roundtables or other sessions, but I would hate to be standing next to you and not know who you are!

You can also give me a shout on my myGDC page.

The AI of Halo

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

I was browsing around on various AI sites, and I came upon a link to a presentation titled “The Illusion of Intelligence: The Integration of AI and Level Design in Halo” that was given at the Game Developer’s Conference in 2002 by Chris Butcher and Jaime Griesemer of Bungie. That was the year of my first GDC, but I can’t remember if I made it to this session or not. I tried to hit every AI session there was, but sometimes there were conflicts. I actually probably have my 2002 GDC stuff around here with the session list and map – I bet I checked it off. Enough musing about my conference history, however.

The presentation is an interesting in that it provides a peek into some of the design mindsets of the developers. They fully admit that AI cheating and “faking it” is a viable methodology – and that the player will usually buy it because they want to.

Like it or hate it, Halo was and is a prominent fixture in the game world – and this presentation gives a great peek inside for AI developers and players alike. Since it was a GDC lecture, there isn’t any serious code to wade through. Because of that, it’s something that can be digested by a wide audience with only the occasional stumble over esoteric industry terminology. It’s a good read.

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