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Archive for the ‘AI Consulting’ Category

Now Consulting at ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014


I’m happy to announce that as of April 7th, I am engaged in a contract with ArenaNet for AI consulting on their banner MMO title, Guild Wars 2.

At this time, I can’t divulge the details of what I am working on with them. Suffice to say they have some excellent ideas about how to improve their product in many different areas. I’m pleased that they have brought me in to assist them in this exciting project.

I’m also excited to be working alongside my friend and colleague, Mike Lewis, who has been the AI developer for ArenaNet for a number of years. Mike was instrumental in bringing me in on this project and, as can be seen in his Twitter feed, is just as excited about where we are going as I am!




I look forward to being able to tell you more of what Mike and I are doing — and especially for players of Guild Wars 2 to see these changes in the game! Stay tuned!

Consulting Contract with Storybricks for SOE’s EverQuest Next Ends

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

As of February 19, 2014, Intrinsic Algorithm is no longer under contract with Storybricks to assist them with their work on Sony Online Entertainment’s, EverQuest Next. From the beginning, the EverQuest Next project was Storybricks’ contract with SOE with Intrinsic Algorithm as a sub-contractor. It is that sub-contracting relationship that has terminated.

We are honored that we were asked to participate in the AI architecture design and be able to assist both companies in their ambitious project. We wish the both the Storybricks team and the EverQuest Next team at SOE well with their continued efforts.

(Please understand that Intrinsic Algorithm is still under NDA and, therefore, cannot answer any questions about the project or details of the contract relationship.)

Working with Storybricks on the AI for EverQuest Next!

Monday, August 19th, 2013

eqn-logoA few months ago, I posted an article (AI Consulting Contract with @Storybricks on AAA MMO) that was a little vague. Yes, I had started on a long-term contract working with Storybricks on a contract for a 3rd party, but I couldn’t divulge who at the time. The secrete was not all that well kept over that time, but I couldn’t officially say who I was working for and what I was working on until only a few weeks ago.

So, I can now say that, for the past 4 months — and likely for quite some time into the future, I will be working as part of a Storybricks-staffed team doing the AI for Sony Online Entertainment’s new MMO, EverQuest Next. It is what SOE is calling “the biggest sandbox MMO ever developed.” And if you watch the videos below, you can see why they say that!

Storybricks Logo

This is an enormously exciting project to be working on due largely to the sheer scope of what they want to do… especially with AI.  Some of these ideas were coincidentally things that I spoke about in my 2009 GDC Austin lecture on AI in MMOs. Others are ideas that I have talked about in my other, non-MMO-based lectures at GDC and elsewhere — but are relevant nonetheless from an AI standpoint.

The most exciting thing, however, is some of the new and different features they want to do are things I have wanted to see in games ever since I started in MMOs back in September of 1997 with Ultima Online. In short, this project is largely a dream come true for me as an AI developer and a player!

Over the past few months, I have enjoyed immensely working alongside Stéphane Bura, Brian “Psychochild” Green, Ben Sizer and others from Storybricks as well as the entire EQNext team at SOE. The game industry is a talented, creative one in general… it has to be. But the energy in that room about this project is on a different level. I have found it truly inspiring!

For more information on EverQuest Next, here are some videos of the “reveal” from SOE Live in Las Vegas on August 2nd.


Part 1

Part 2


Anyway, I’ll be talking more about it as I can — somewhat of a staple comment in our industry. And believe me, when you see what we are doing, you will understand why I am brimming with excitement over this game!

AI Consulting Contract with @Storybricks on AAA MMO

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

[This post has been edited due to a request from the client. – Dave]

After many months of waiting to begin, I can officially announce that I am starting on a major consulting contract with Storybricks. Together with some of the staff from the London-based company, I will be working on a long contract developing and integrating Storybricks’ proprietary designs and technology (as well as my own original AI work) into a AAA MMO project.

I am excited to be working directly with Storybricks’ designers Stéphane Bura and Brian “Psychochild” Green. When I was approached by Storybricks CEO, Rodolfo Rossini in late 2010, I was intrigued by what he was setting out to do with his new company (then known as Namaste). Neither one of us thought that it would take this long for us to begin working together in a long-term capacity. Over that time, I have seen the direction that Storybricks has taken with their core product — an AI- and personality-driven model for dynamic, modular game characters — and it only served to increase my desire to work with them. The wait was worth it.

The alignment of vision between Intrinsic Algorithm and Storybricks on this project (and potentially more) is fairly obvious. To quote from the Storybricks site (currently somewhat bare due to non-disclosure restrictions):

We believe that while graphics, gameplay and interface have evolved in gaming, Artificial Intelligence has lagged behind. Our goal is to bring changes to Artificial Intelligence in games as significant as 3D graphics were to game aesthetics.

We designed and built an emotional intelligence engine in order to breathe life into virtual characters. They have their own goals, moods, they interact among themselves and take decisions on their own. The story no longer revolves solely around scripted behavior: game worlds can now be rich and complex.

The first paragraph almost mirrors what I have stated as one of the observations and related design goals of Intrinsic Algorithm for many years. The second paragraph parallels what I have been writing and speaking about for 5 years. Suffice to say, we are headed in the same direction and, for the time being, will be sharing the same road.

The new client’s project provides an exciting opportunity to work on a genre and style of game that I have been wanting to work on for over 15 years. It truly is a dream come true for me in many ways. Additionally, while I cannot yet divulge anything about the project, I feel that it has the potential to significantly change the way games are approached from both the development aspect and the end user experience — due in large part to what Storybricks and I will be providing. Thankfully, we have found a company that we did not have to convince to take this direction — they were looking for it from the start and are completely bought in to what we can provide. This opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking is, in and of itself, tremendously exciting.

Right now, I anticipate working on this project for quite some time. While this is likely to be close to full time (and will have me on the road a lot) I will still be available for AI consulting for small projects — providing they don’t violate my non-compete clauses, naturally.

Hopefully, later this year, we will be allowed to divulge more about what our work will entail. At that point, I hope you will be as excited as I am about it!

And yes, for those of you who are curious, there is plenty of utility-based AI in it!

Intrinsic Algorithm Signs New AI Consulting Contract

Monday, December 27th, 2010

As of last week, we have signed a new contract to do behavioral AI and mathematical simulation modeling for an independent game studio in the Los Angeles area. For now, neither the company nor the project is being disclosed. However, it is made up of industry veterans with many years of experience working on numerous impressive AAA projects for major studios. We hope to be able to provide a formal announcement towards spring of this year.

We are very pleased to be associated with them as well as excited to be working on their very novel project!

Back from E3

Monday, June 21st, 2010

E3 ExpoAfter dealing with delays in LA, stand-by flight bookings, and a late-night sprint through concourse B in Denver, I have returned from E3.

People keep asking me what I thought of the show and I realize I have no answer for them. After enough E3’s, they all just blend together. I didn’t see any of the keynotes yet – I’ll see them online or read about them. I didn’t wait in line to do demos of all the hot technologies – my time is too valuable for that. To be honest, I didn’t play a single game.

However, I did lurk and watch a lot. My goal at E3 is to take the temperature of the industry. What’s going on? What are companies doing or not doing? And then, I talk to people. It’s amazing how many studios are showing off smoke and mirrors at E3 and passing it off as gameplay. That’s unfortunate, but it is also what the consumer wants. They want to dream and salivate (mostly salivate). It’s also necessary as part of the business model that thrives on pre-release “buzz”.

“Sometimes, the result is a final product that is still smoke and mirrors.”

Anyway, it is also a good time for me, after observing what they are showing, to quietly and discreetly ask them what they really need going forward. And often, assistance with AI is high on the list. After all, placeholder AI for a demo is more smokey and mirrory than anything else. Unfortunately, unlike gameplay and building more levels, which can be planned out to some extent, most of the companies don’t really seem to know where they are going with AI. Sometimes, the result is a final product that is still smoke and mirrors.

And that’s where we can help.

On that note, it’s time to do all my follow-up communication. Hopefully in the next few weeks we can announce who we are going to be working with. There’s plenty of companies we are talking to. And we’re excited about every single one!

Heading to E3 2010

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Dave Mark will be heading out to SoCal once again for E3.

E3 ExpoMuch like last year, actually attending the conference (as in seeing the show floor) is a bit of a misrepresentation. In fact, there were rumors going around that there was some sort of show where you could play all sorts of new games. There was no time to see if any of that was true, however. Too many meetings!

So, like last year, Intrinsic Algorithm is actively meeting with studios, outsourcing companies, and recruiters regarding their need for AI consulting. If you would like to set up and appointment, feel free to contact us.

Otherwise, if you are one of our many colleagues and will be trolling around the Staples Center, make sure you say “hi”… if you manage to pick Dave out of a crowd of 50,000. (Giving me a call might be easier.)

Consulting for Project Aurora Games

Saturday, 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.

Announcing Borut Pfeifer!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

A little over a month ago, we announced that Intrinsic Algorithm was expanding its consulting to include other industry veterans. At the time, we also had to play it a little close to the proverbial vest in that the people we were bringing on were still attached to their respective studios. One of those people has now left his full-time job, however, so we are able to make the formal announcement! Borut Pfeifer has gone out on his own – in part, to do his “own thing” and, in part, to work as an AI consultant under the Intrinsic Algorithm banner.

Borut (LinkedIn) has worked in the game industry since 2000, first on online casino games and then at his own startup White Knuckle Games. Eventually he went on to work as an AI and gameplay programmer at Radical Entertainment (Scarface: The World Is Yours), and then as lead gameplay programmer on a PS3 launch title at Sony Online (Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom). He’s published articles in the Game Programming Gems series, the AI Game Programming Wisdom series, on Gamasutra, and has taught technical game design at the Vancouver Film School. Most recently he was the lead AI programmer on a game collboration between Steven Spielberg and Doug Church at EALA.
Games he has worked on include:
  • Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, Sony Online Entertainment (developer and publisher), Nov 2006, Platform: PS3. Credited as Lead Gameplay Programmer.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours, Radical Entertainment (developer), Viviendi Universal Games (publisher), Oct 2006, Platforms: PS2, XBox, PC. Responsible for collision, AI, and gameplay programming.
Technical Articles:
  • “Creating Designer Tunable AI”, AI Game Programming Wisdom 4, editor Steve Rabin, Charles River Media, February 2008.
  • “Peer-to-Peer Distributed Agent Processing”, AI Game Programming Wisdom 4, editor Steve Rabin, Charles River Media, February 2008.
  • “Automatic Cover Finding Using Navigation Meshes”, Game Programming Gems 5, editor Kim Pallister, Charles River Media, March 2005.
  • “Narrative Combat: Using AI to enhance tension in an Action Game”, Game Programming Gems 4, editor Andrew Kirmse, Charles River Media, March 2004.
  • “Creating an Audio Scripting System”, Game Programming Gems 4, editor Andrew Kirmse, Charles River Media, March 2004.
Game Business/Industry Articles:


On behalf of Laurie, the rest of the (yet undiscolosed) consultants at Intrinsic Algorithm, and myself, I would like to express how pleased we are that Borut will be working with us to provide top-quality game AI for our clients.

IA Consulting is Expanding!

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

This has been in the works for some time, but we are finally announcing a major change in the consulting wing of Intrinsic Algorithm. Until recently, IA consulting consisted only of Dave Mark. About the time of GDC and the AI Summit, however, a number of AI programmers got together and decided that there was serious merit in joining forces to provide a combined service.

At this time, IA Consulting includes three very experienced, full-time individuals and two “advisory” consultants. More detail on what those roles entail can be found on the IA Consulting page.

Because we are in a transition period, some of these individuals are still with their companies. That is why we aren’t naming names just yet. As these people transition out of their jobs to work full time for IA consulting, we will announce who they are. Here is a summary of what the IA consultants bring to the table, however.

3 x Full Time Consultants

2 x Advisory Consultants

For more information on who we are, what we believe in, and how we work, please check out the consulting page. After all, doesn’t everyone need help with the intrinsic algorithms in their game?