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11+ Reasons for Coming to Paris in June: Game AI Conference ’09 Line-Up Announced

Alex J. Champandard on April 10, 2009

Building on the success of last year’s workshop, AiGameDev.com is co-organizing the second annual Game AI Conference in Paris with the CNAM. The event will take place on June 10th and 11th 2009, with a schedule that blends invited sessions from top AI developers from industry as well as tutorials / reviews and R&D oriented sessions. If you’re interested in co-sponsoring the event, don’t hesitate to contact us at <events at AiGameDev.com for more information. The organizing committee includes Stephane Natkin of the CNAM and its CEDRIC lab, also Axel Buendia from the Paris-based middleware company Spir.Ops.

Note: There are frequently asked questions at the bottom of the post.

Update: We have over 125 150 175 200 people registered already, including professionals and independent developers.

Update: The event is almost sold out. We're allocating the last few seats and confirming with registered attendees. Sign-up now!

Date & Location

  • Duration: 2 days.

  • Dates: Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th, June 2009.

  • Time: 9:00 to 17:00, exact schedule to be announced shortly.

  • Location: CNAM, Amphi C “Abbé Grégoire” — Paris 3ème (map)

  • Price: Free by registration, see below for registration.

“Completely free, but ultimately, priceless!”

Confirmed Speakers

Remco Straatman: Killzone 2’s AI Bots

Remco Straatman, Lead AI Programmer at Guerrilla Games, and I (Alex Champandard) contractor on Killzone 2’s bots, will present the AI architecture and how it was applied to creating the bots for the game:

“This talk will discuss the implementation of bots in Killzone 2’s online and offline multi-player component. We will discuss the overall hierarchical AI framework, the way individual bot behaviors such as badge usage are implemented using our HTN planner, how individual behaviors mix with the overall objectives in multiplayer modes and how we use data acquired at run-time to influence the tactical decisions.”

Killzone 2 is not only the first AAA action game to use a hierarchical task network (HTN) planner, but the bots’ strategic AI also extends the boundaries traditional FPS AI to include many elements of RTS games.

Eduardo Jimenez: The Racing AI in Pure

Eduardo Jimenez is a Senior Programmer at Black Rock Studio in Brighton U.K., who wrote the AI for Disney Interactive’s critically acclaimed dirt bike racer Pure. Eduardo will talk about how the AI for the other riders is designed to prevent the feeling of rubber band AI that’s symptomatic of many racing games, and will present the solution to the problem applied in Pure which falls into the increasingly popular category of “experience management” for games.

Mikko Mononen: Voxelization of Polygon Soups

Mikko Mononen is the Lead AI Programmer at Recoil Games in Finland, and formerly Lead AI on Crysis. Mikko will talk about an open source R&D project of his called Recast. The project is based on the idea of converting polygon soups into navigation meshes that can be used for pathfinding in space. He’ll present his approach step by step and discuss the benefits of this approach compared to other techniques.

Ricard Pillosu: Behavior Trees for Agent Coordination

Ricard Pillosu is a Lead Programmer at Crytek GmbH in Frankfurt who recently worked on the Crysis franchise. Ricard’s talk focuses on his experience applying the behavior tree paradigm on top of the CryEngine 2’s existing AI system, and in particular how the behavior trees were applied to the problem of coordinating multiple AI agents simulate group tactics.

Bjoern Knafla: AI Multi-threading & Parallelization

Bjoern Knafla is a Research Associate at the University of Kassel in Germany, and one of the consultants in the world focusing specifically on AI and Parallelism. He’ll provide an overview of the techniques that are the most commonly used in the games industry, and present some of his own results applying multi-threading to a large crowd simulation.

William van der Sterren: Planning Multi-unit Maneuvers

William van der Sterren, consultant and independent developer at CGF-AI and former contractor for Killzone 1, will discuss the application of HTN and A* to help plan and coordinate groups of units. In the context of a turn-based strategy game, he’ll show how a planner can be used offline to create stimulating new scenarios for current games without the need for manual scripting.

Daniel Kudenko: Approaches to Interactive Narrative Generation and Story Telling

Daniel Kudenko is a Computer Science Lecturer at the University of York, and will providing an overview over approaches to Interactive Drama. Games like Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 have been pushing the boundaries of in game narratives, but still suffer from the limitations of pre-authored content. New developments in the automatic and dynamic generation of story content is opening up new opportunities for game developers. Daniel will highlight and summarize the state of academic research on the subject, present an overview of selected systems, and point to potential avenues in industry collaboration to help you figure out where to start looking.

Phil Carlisle: Emotions in Game Characters

Phil Carlisle, games industry veteran, independent developer and researcher will talk about emotions in games. Phil will present an overview of the field and a review of recent research for developers who are curious about emotional reactions for game characters. He’ll also discuss this from a practical perspective, outlining the techniques that are ready to be applied and how.

Agenda for the two Days

The focus for the conference is on design and technology that improve the quality of non-player characters in commercial games, as well as applying AI technology to game development to improve the whole process. The event will bring together developers from industry, middleware vendors and leading academics in the field.

There are a few more interactive sessions also planned, to be announced shortly with the full schedule:

  • Animation: Believable AI Feedback on a Budget (Panel)

  • Game AI Industry: Post Next-Gen Observations (Panel)

  • Opening Q&A with all Speakers (Roundtable)

Of course, there’ll be a networking lunch and enough coffee breaks to make sure you get the chance to talk to everyone!

Photo 1: Lunch at the Paris Game AI Workshop ‘08 — Sponsored by Spir.Ops.

Attendee Registration

If you already have a (free) account on the site, you can put your name down as an attendee by clicking the following link:

SIGN-UP FOR THE PARIS GAME AI CONFERENCE ‘09 HERE

If you’re not already registered, you can sign-up here first at no cost. Other things to note:

  1. Book your hotel as soon as possible. Paris is very busy with both tourism and conferences at this time of year, so things are filling up fast.

  2. If you’re an AiGameDev.com Premium member, plan to be around on the evening of the first night for a VIP-only event.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below or email <events at AiGameDev.com>.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I speak English only, will I understand anything?

A: Oui, of course! The whole conference will be held in English, and almost all the invited speakers are not from France. Many attendees are coming from throughout Europe (Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, U.K. and even Israel) so English is the only common language. We also have people coming from the U.S., Australia and Canada. It’s an International Game AI Conference!

Q: Is the venue easy to find?

A: The CNAM is at the center of Paris, so is easily accessible by public transport (map). It’s also well signpost and there will be banners for the event itself. We’ll also email you with detailed instructions to find the exact building; once you’ve signed up you’ll be on the mailing list, as long as you didn’t request to unsubscribe.

Q: How does this compare to other game AI conferences?

A: It’ll be a completely different atmosphere than traditional academic conferences. This event focuses on industry techniques and technology that’s applicable to commercial games. Attendees will include professional developers, middleware builders, and academic researchers — but all keen on blending different techniques and approaches together to solve a problem rather than focusing on the solution itself. Like last year’s event we organized, or the recent AI Summit we participated in, it will be a friendly and informal gathering of people interested about game AI in practice.

Q: Will this be useful to me as a researcher / academic / student?

A: Absolutely! We’ve realized over the last few years of running AiGameDev.com, since there are so many theoretical outlets for academia, what can benefit research the most is an understanding of what professional developers are already doing in industry. It’s happened recently on multiple occasions that cutting-edge white papers are independently reinventing techniques that were used by developers a few years ago. Practical conferences like this are our solution.

Q: Why is it free? What’s the catch?

A: There are a limited number of places (requiring registration) and you might well have to get your own lunch! That aside, there’s no catch. We’re partnering with the CNAM and they are kindly providing the amphitheatre, and rest of the event is organized by people & speakers who are genuinely passionate about their topic. We “sold-out” last year and found that this model works very well — even better than the most expensive conferences — to the benefit of everyone!

Q: Where to Sign-Up?

A: REGISTER FOR THE PARIS GAME AI CONFERENCE ‘09 HERE

Photo 2: The CNAM Amphitheatre, venue for the 2009 Paris Game AI Conference.

Discussion 9 Comments

aldershoff on May 18th, 2009

Hi, I was wondering if there are any sessions/workshops focusing on education and academic research? This seems like a great opportunity to build some bridges between industry and academia. Frank

zoombapup on May 18th, 2009

We have the AI games research network in the UK and AIIDE in the US. No idea about in europe in general. But the aiGameDev workshop is pretty much that too.

aldershoff on May 19th, 2009

Replying to my own message: Anyone interested in a meeting between (university) educators and game companies? I will of course also participate in the other sessions and workshops, but who is interested in this particular aspect? Frank

alexjc on May 19th, 2009

Frank, I went to a few meetings recently which intended to bridge the gap (in the U.K.). But unfortunately, those events tend to be academic specific. Instead I realized that what's most useful for academics is to have a program where people from industry actually explain what they do, and are there to discuss things. For Paris, it's mission accomplished. There'll be mostly developers there, and quite a few industry talks. But we do have 2 academic sessions and 3 R&D sessions. In the end, I believe it'll be a better blend of the two than other sessions that set out explicitly to bridge the gap. Just from looking at the attendees list, I can't say how many educators will be there... But in general, I'd recommend having a 30 second "pitch" that sounds interesting and useful to game development companies, and take it from there... Alex

aldershoff on May 19th, 2009

Good to hear. Can I also see that program listing the sessions? Frank

alexjc on May 19th, 2009

Frank, It's on the page corresponding to this thread, just click through the link at the top. Alex

aldershoff on May 21st, 2009

Hi Alex, I'm no longer able to follow that link. It's now premium only, but it wasn't when I registered. Now I don't know where to go...

alexjc on May 22nd, 2009

The link is on the front page of the site, you can't miss it. (The link at the top of the thread seems to be a bug, will fix it shortly.) Alex

dolker on May 23rd, 2009

ALEX, HI, I WILL BE TRAVELLING FROM INDIA SO I WANTED A PRIOR INVITATION FOR THE CONFERENCE, WOULD BE KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE ME A OFFICIAL INVITATION, I M A INSIDER TOO, E-MAIL [email]pdas_pooh@yahoo.co.in[/email] Regards, Dolker yangzom

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