IA on AI

Posts Tagged ‘Peter Molyneux’

Post-GDC Ramblings

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Well, I’m back and somewhat recovered from GDC. (It always helps to have a day of downtime built into the end of the week.)

From the comments that I and the rest of the participants received, the inaugural AI Summit was well received. I know that all of us were very pleased in not only the presentations that we each delivered but in all of the other ones as well. Apart from a false start at the beginning due to my laptop being under the proverbial weather with a virus, the rest of the two days went off smoothly.

I will post more on my reflections on each of the Summit sessions throughout the week. I did want to touch on a couple of high notes, however. We were very proud (as a group) to be able to deliver such a wide variety of topics. From animation to pathfinding to behavior to knowledge representation to layered goals and multi-threaded architecture, we hit a lot of the key topics. I think this was one of the comments that I heard the most… that there was a little bit of everything. Additionally, many people commented on how we mixed some past techniques with cutting edge stuff and then even some blue sky ponderings (“Human AI” and “Photoshop of AI“. Additionally, people liked the sessions that weren’t specifically technical such as the one on how to get along with designers.

For those that want to take a look at one man’s views on it, Dan Kline did another of his “live blogging” exercises over at his pad, Game of Design. (Day 1 | Day 2)

In other GDC news, After the Summit, much of the week was anti-climactic. There were the 3 normal AI roundtables as well as one run by Alexander Nareyek. I will be posting pictures and audio from the roundtables on this page. You can also check out last year’s stuff here. Eventually, I will have the pictures up from the AI Game Programmers Guild dinner (Sunday) and the regular annual AI Programmers Dinner (Friday) up as well. (Once I saw how dedicated to taking photos Petra Champandard of AIGameDev was, I figured I would let her do most of the shooting. I will link to those pictures as they become available.

Other than that, I only went to three sessions – one of which could actually be co-opted into an AI session. It was on balancing multi-player games. I figure this is an important facet of constructing AI as well for obvious reasons. I went to a roundtable hosted by Ben Sawyer about exploring emerging markets in games.

Peter Molyneux’s lecture on how Lionhead explores experimental stuff was surprisingly lame for a Molyneux talk. I was just really hoping to see more of where they were going right now. I thought it was going to be a sneak peak session. (I should have suspected something when his PR handler was nowhere to be seen.) The only amusing moment was when he almost let out the name of the project… although it is likely no one would have gotten much out of simply a name. Oh well.

I did spend a lot of time on the Expo floor. Much of that time was spent nosing around my publisher’s booth. I guess I sold quite a few books. The GDC store sold out of the 12 that they brought. Additionally, my publisher sold quite a few from their booth. Many of those sales happened while I was there. It took me by surprise to have people ask me to sign their copies. To be honest, it was more of an honor for me to be asked than I figure it was for them to receive a little of my ink. All I asked of them was to post a review out on Amazon when they got done. That would mean a lot to me (and the other people who might be interested in buying it).

Anyway, I plan on writing a bit more after I finally get my laptop cleared up. (Not looking good right now.) If you are coming into this post directly, you may want to check the tags below to see if I have written anything further about the Summit or GDC 2009.

Peter Molyneux’s Significant Scientific Acheivement!

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Damn. Listen to Peter go! Peter Molyneux, of Lionhead, was interviewed by Wired. In true Molyneux fashion, it was not only a challenge for him to keep his mouth restrained on the actual subject of the interview, the upcoming Fable 2, but he was already launching into his brand of lofty advance marketing for what he states will be his next title. The nuggets on Fable were interesting, but the headline-grabber of the interview was this:

“I think it’s such a significant scientific achievement that it will be on the cover of Wired,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.

What the heck does that mean? Significant scientific achievement sounds awfully strong. The thing is, with Peter, you don’t know if he’s just puffing up or if there is something behind that. Black & White, for example, did make a few people in the game world, especially the AI programmers, think a little bit. Was that a significant scientific achievement, however? Not really. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of what advances in game AI or simulation could be considered as such. So really, that leaves us with no yardstick with which to compare Peter’s comment to.

“My next game will not be Fable 3. It’s not a game I can talk to you about right now, but: AI, simulation, the way characters interact — we’ve had smart people working on that stuff for over a decade with the Fable games and Black and White.” His next game consolidates all of what they have learned, he says.

I guess at that point his ubiquitous “PR handler” jumped in and muzzled him.

The question, as always, with Peter is… how seriously do you take him? I wrote a brief post about Peter’s new game back in early March. In the interview I referenced there, he said that you would be able to “replay your life.” Of course, I’m not entirely sure what that means. I don’t believe the interviewer was either.

Now I know some of the dudes from Lionhead. And I know a few who used to work at Lionhead. I haven’t talked to them about this specific project… and I won’t push buttons – I’m not a journalist. However, in considering what I have heard from them in the past about how things work over there, this project of Peter’s could either be a very focused, miracle-maker, or it could still be wandering in the conceptual wilderness without a true direction. It sounds like Peter knows where he’s headed however.

On a side note, this reminds me that I never did type up my notes and perceptions of Fable 2 as presented by Peter at GDC 2008. I wonder if that is still relevant? Oh well. Hopefully I will have some time to play catch-up here soon.

Peter Molyneux’s Next Game?

Monday, March 10th, 2008

OK… anyone who has ever followed Peter Molyneux and Lionhead studios knows that he is the master of hype. He can drag a significant portion of the gaming community along behind him on his words alone. This is especially relevant to AI programmers since it always seems like Peter is on some sort of cutting edge. Well, here’s an interview(-let) where Peter talks about some mysterious project (based off of the Dimitri Project) that will apparently blow the doors off of what we have seen from him so far. The only info that he gave on it in a prior interview was that you would be able to “replay your life”.

Considering that he is still incubating the egg that is Fable 2, I’m not entirely sure what to think of this. (To be fair, the previews of Fable 2 that I saw at GDC were kinda cool. More on that when I can get around to typing up my notes.)

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Since Black & White, we’ve been thinking a lot about AI, Lionhead was founded with that thought of AI in mind. In terms of the core or the theory of the AI, we’ve moved from Black&White onto a project called Dimitri, which I’ve been tantalizing you about for a long time. And that team kept on researching. Dimitri was always an experimental thing, which is why I never showed it.

And then it moved from that experiment to a moment in time that happened six months ago when a discovery was made, and this discovery has been so exciting that it has lead to Lionhead focusing on it and sculpting a game around that. I think that discovery is so significant… This discovery has lead us to start a game and that game will be on the front cover of Nature magazines and Science magazines.

What the heck does that mean? The blog author/interviewer pointing out that we are likely talking some sort of artificial life simulation. That makes for interesting conjecture since Spore is (allegedly) right around the corner.

From another interview:

If you think back to the one thing about Black & White that was most fascinating, you’d have to say it was that creature that learned behavior and seemed, for a certain glimpse, to be alive. Imagine if you could take that and multiply it by a billion…

Oh well. I know that I will be following whatever it is that they do there. I’m sure many others will be warily but curiously watching what comes out of the king lion’s mouth (so to speak).

GDC 2008 – AI Stuff

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’m in the process of uploading all my GDC-related things to this page. You can actually listen to my audio of the 3 AI roundtables and read my (barely comprehensible) notes that I furiously took during each. Also, it has links to the pictures that I took during the roundtables and the AI Programmers Dinner on Friday night.

On that page, I will also be posting other AI-related tidbits such as my notes from lectures such as those by Soren Johnson’s (Civ 4), Damian Isla (Halo 3), and Peter Molyneux (Fable 2). Give me a few days to get it all straightened out, though.

Also, I sat down with John Abercrombie of 2k-Boston on Sunday morning and spoke with him about the AI that he did for Bioshock. That should be posted on Wednesday. Look for it over on Post-Play’em.

(Remember to tap the RSS feed to keep up with these additions and all other AI-related things.)

One final note about GDC… it’s always an exhilarating week… but it sure does make my head hurt!