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Building a Better Centaur: AI at Massive Scale (GDC AI Summit Lecture)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

arenanet-logoAt the 2015 GDC AI Summit, Mike Lewis and I did a lecture on some of the work that we did while I was on a consulting contract at ArenaNet to redo their AI architecture for games such as their MMO franchise, Guild Wars 2. The lecture features my Infinite Axis Utility System architecture as well as some work that I have done with tactical influence maps.

Guild_wars_Heart_of_thorns-720x720Building a Better Centaur: AI at Massive Scale
Dave Mark, Intrinsic Algorithm
Mike Lewis, ArenaNet

Today’s MMOs often have hundreds of types of agents in their game world – each with potentially dozens of actions they can take. Hand crafting the AI for every agent can be a time-consuming process fraught with brittle, unpredictable results. Often, the only way to achieve the breadth of characters is to sacrifice the depth of behaviors that they can take. This session will show a new architecture that combines a modular, utility-based AI system and a powerful influence map engine. With it, agents are not only far more intelligent than prior iterations, but use significantly less processing time. This allows us to put not only smarter creatures in the world, but more of them as well. We will also show the tools that allow designers to create unique, expressive behaviors for hundreds of character types in a fraction of the time that it previously took – often creating new, unique character behavior packages in minutes rather than hours!