Open Access
gdc2012_616 Squad Coordinates Tactical Behavior at GDC

Alex J. Champandard on March 6, 2012

This week, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2012 is taking place in San Francisco, and we're proud to announce that the Squad is covering the event live and interactively. Read on for details and highlights from the first few days!

Photo 1: The Squad, from left to right Jose, Alex, Phil and Guilherme.

AI Summit Highlights

Here are some moments from Monday that stand out. (Not all sessions have been included here, more will follow.)

  • Daniel Brewer showed how simple coordination techniques can help provide enemy barks and responses that are unique and diverse during combat. He also showed how The Darkness 2 uses reciprocal velocity obstacles to resolve low-level collision issues, among many other interesting combat technique implementations.
  • Michael Dawe showed some entertaining examples of how the work of AI programmers can often be abused by designers, in particular boss-specific Lua script hacks that are then later expected to work generally for all characters. Or taking 22ms to spawn and unspawn chicken on a regular basis.
  • Kevin Dill showed how you can build modular decisions for your AI by creating considerations that you can plug together easily, each based on a combination of rank and weight. Both these floating point numbers are used in a utility-based fashion to pick the most sensible behavior applicable at any time.
  • Guild Wars 2 faced some very interesting challenges to provide AI on such a large scale, but they were mostly system and architectural rather than AI-related. Mike Lewis described a pragmatic solution based on assigning specific cores to simulate games/worlds as a single thread of game logic, with underlying infrastructure helping make everything simple and thread safe.
  • In his rant, Brian Schwab lamented the situation why designers seemed to fear and mis-understand AI programmers and that we should all work together — especially with the coming invasion of the cyborg robots.
  • Neil Kirby explained stories from the testing department trenches, and how developers can make the most of them to produce robust and high-quality AI code.

This page will be updated as more details are compiled from the second day of the AI Summit, currently underway.

Live Coverage

  1. Forum Coverage — Visit this thread for detailed reports from interesting presentations.
  2. Twitter Stream — If you're on social media, follow the new company account at @AiGameDev, and consider becoming a fan on Facebook too!
  3. Meetup Opportunity — If you are attending GDC and would like to meet up contact us on twitter or by email via <team at> if you'd like to share ideas!

In related news, Monday morning was the big day of our "Believable Tactics for Squad AI" presentation at the AI Summit. Thanks to everyone who attended and it's been a pleasure to hear such great feedback. We'll be making the an extended edition / directors cut available at some stage, so stay tuned for details.

Photo 2: Post-presentation question mob keen to pick the brain of Alex, Matthew and Phil.

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