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AI Summit ’11: Slides, Notes, Takeway and Photos

Alex J. Champandard on April 5, 2011

This year, the GDC celebrated its 25th edition and as such, there were many presentations looking back at classic games as well as reflective sessions from familiar faces. Though the AI Summit was only in its third year it also had the same feeling to it. The line-up combined post-mortems, showcases and tutorials of established ideas and technologies, along with rants and dicussion panels from regular speakers. If anything, this gave the impression that the AI community settled into a "groove" — having little or no trouble solving design and engineering problems as they come up. For instance, the session on "Pathfinding is Not Yet a Solved Problem" showed three developers solve all the issues on their games in very convincing and reproducible ways.

It took many discussions to figure out whether this year's AI Summit was a reflection of our sub-industry or whether it was just this particular combination of talks. In the past, I've stimulated discussions on the topic, for example asking if "Game AI Had Been Solved," and all we face are engineering problems on top of the general hassle of AAA game development while respecting deadlines and budgets. Steve Rabin also agreed, reminding me of his CIG 2010 talk where he said we're likely to see incremental improvements for a while now...