Game AI Roundup Week #49 2007

Alex J. Champandard on December 8, 2007

This Saturday, there are ten interesting Smart Links for you about game development and artificial intelligence! Feel free to contact me if you have any news or tips for next week.

Remember there’s a mini-blog (RSS) which gets updated with game AI news from the web as it happens!

Quake 2 Bots Lined-Up

Spore’s Hecker On AI

Gamasutra has coverage of the Montreal Independent Games Summit, where Chris Hecker from EA/Maxis talked about the potential of AI in games:

“I think AI is the key to making games the pre-eminent artform of the 21st century,” asserted Hecker. He clarified he’s not referring to quick and accurate-shooting NPCs — pathfinding or auto-aim bots — but elements like drama management and player modeling, areas of the AI arena that are still unsolved.

Cover Behaviors in Warhound

Cover Animation

Screenshot 1: Cover animations in Warhound.

Team XBox has a developer diary about Warhound’s Integrated Combat Behavior System as they call it. The system is responsible for managing all the basic movement types each depending on the current weapon — walking, turning, crouching, crawling, running, passing obstacles, etc.

They also discuss the challenge of AI cover behaviors:

“Realism also implies a wide range of behaviors depicting the combat itself. Current technology allows every single AI to scan the visible area and decide on the usefulness of nearby objects basing on their size, shape, and even material they’re made of. The analysis of this data lets AI find the nearest safe cover, and react appropriately to current situation on the battlefield. Distance to the enemy, weapon held, sight and hearing range or enemy visibility are only a few factors for the system that chooses the optimal action for the moment.”

Lessons from Crysis’ Development

The GDC Lyon keynote was given by Cevat Yerli, and Gamasutra has some details about the AI and animation:

“Great AI is about looking great and behaving great,” Yerli continued. “But a lot of it’s in the mind of the player; a lot of that is the animation data.” And he stressed the importance of prototyping animation “Animation is more critical now more than ever in game development, since at the end of the day, what’s important is what the enemy does.” he pointed out.

Call for Papers

I just noticed over at InderScience that there’s a CFP for Advances in Computer Aided Design and Digital Entertainment — which covers a rather wide range of topics around AI.

“With the rapid development of computer and network technologies in recent years, research and applications in computer-aided design (CAD), computer animation, digital entertainment and digital art has been receiving increasing attention from researchers across the world. Continual, pioneered research is essential to further promote the development of those areas to benefit their applications in various fields.”

Spellborn’s Mob Behavior

I noticed via Dave Mark’s IAonAI that the Spellborn developers have been writing about the process of developing the mob behaviors in their MMORPG.

Artificial Intelligence and Games Research Network

Mikkel Birkegaard Andersen sent in news about this now research network for game AI, which is funded for 3 years starting from November this year. It’s goal is to bring together games industry professionals and AI researchers to plan projects which would both increase the technology available to the UK games industry and advance the state of the art in Artificial Intelligence research.

Postdoc at Teamcore

There’s a research position available at TeamCore. This research group focuses on multiagent systems, with technology including Belief-Desire-Intentions (BDI) systems, in Distributed Constraint Reasoning (DCR), and in Decision Theoretic distributed MDPs) and Game Theoretic approaches for multiagent systems. In addition to fundamental research, the group is also focused on practical implementations of their research.

Kynapse Goes for Wii

Kynogon was busy over the last few weeks. Not only was Pierre Pontevia at the next-gen AI panel at GDC Lyon, but his team was at the Games Connection too. They just announced support for Nintendo’s platform:

“Wii is a remarkable success and we are proud to offer Kynapse to Wii game developers. The unique capabilities of Wii allow developers to produce creative forms of gameplay that require innovative AI. Kynapse has been selected by a very significant number of industry leaders for the development of AAA titles. With Kynapse, we feel Wii developers have another critical tool in their hands that helps them unleash the real magic of the Wii system.”

When is AI Really AI?

Mauricio Peccorini ponders about the nature of the AI in his mobile game, trying to put his finger on what differentiates game AI from real intelligence:

“My first Artificial Intelligence ever is ready, I don’t think it qualifies as an AI since it doesn’t learn, it’s just a very basic move evaluation and selection algorithm, but aren’t chess engines the same thing?”

New Release of PathEngine

Thomas Young announced a new version of the PathEngine SDK, bringing it to version 5.13. This version features a whole bunch of performance and memory optimizations, including loading and automatic generation of meshes, faster dynamic obstacle avoidance, etc. The company also announced a four more licensees recently too, including games companies and military simulations.

Stay tuned next Saturday for more Smart Links from around the web.

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