Prepare to Level Up with

Alex J. Champandard on September 16, 2008

Last week, I posted an editorial and poll with the intention of figuring out what’s holding us back the most as an industry. There were loads of very interesting comments and responses, so now we need to make the most of all those constructive ideas flying around…

Contest Guidelines

As I mentioned in the video, you can win a whole year of online training inside the membership site at Here are your contest instructions:

”Based on the issues you brought up in the poll, let us know how you think’s upcoming membership site and its various building blocks can help you build better game AI.”

We already know it’s going to be awesome, but here’s your chance to make it even better suited to you! :-)

The Building Blocks

We’ve done lots of hard work putting the building blocks in place, so you have lots of room to play with:

Online Meetings
We’ll have the facilities to create and record live events with audio and video, with a white board and optional desktop sharing. This can include both organized sessions and informal gatherings…
AI Sandbox
Based on an open-source 3D engine, the sandbox will be a dynamic environment with support for physical objects and static geometry, as well as moving characters with detailed animations.
Expert Reports
We’re talking to some of the best and most experienced programmers and designer in the field to make sure you have the best and most up-to-date information about a variety of topics.

So, how would you make the most of these elements to get the most valuable information and continuous training?

Get Writing and Win!

All you have to do is post a comment below according to the instructions, and you can win the membership. The deadline is Friday 19th September!

Discussion 16 Comments

grave on September 16th, 2008

You're thinking of building a common ground for developing game ai (the sandbox) and that has many advantages. One of them could be providing with an annual contest by competing for the best ai in a set environment or challenges that require wit to overcome (not so much for competition but for personal challenge - could be awesome to put in use knowledge gained from tutorials etc..).

RyanP on September 16th, 2008

Grave has a very good point. Besides the obvious benefits of having a uniformed sandbox in which to play around with that has all of the "industry best" implementations of algorithms, as well as the industry experts on hand to comment as well. The best way to advance AI is to say, hey we have all this already implemented from the best the industry has to offer, take it and do what you will. But in addition we're having a "contest" this month or quarter to improve this area of expertise in the sandbox and thus move AI forward another step in whatever specific area you want or think needs the most improvement. The contest so to speak would not only engage the competitive nature of people but also allow everyone to see and learn from others solve problems. So you may be able to take 2 or 3 peoples code rework it and make something truly revolutionary, which would advance AI as you are intending to do. Best of luck! This is definitely something that should help AI move forward. Ryan P Edited because I was redundant in certain areas.

alexjc on September 16th, 2008

Just to steer this back towards a direction that's more likely to win you a year of membership: But what can it do for [B]you[/B] and how can [B]you[/B] benefit from it? Alex :-)

RyanP on September 17th, 2008

[QUOTE=alexjc;4850]Just to steer this back towards a direction that's more likely to win you a year of membership: But what can it do for [B]you[/B] and how can [B]you[/B] benefit from it? Alex :-)[/QUOTE] Same thing I've been doing buddy, learn and program more AI :)

Tigernado on September 17th, 2008

I'm a student studying game design and simulation. So I haven't been working in the game industry. (In fact I only really started programming about 2 years ago.) With membership I get the opportunity to be exposed to the latest AI ideas and techniques from experts with Expert Reports and Online Meetings. With AI Sandbox I could easily test and implementation of AI without having to buy an engine or build a 3d engine from scratch. So I think learning more about AI through the membership will give me and edge when I look for a career in game development.

caiowulf on September 17th, 2008

I am finishing my studies on Games Creation and I believe I will really have an use of that SandBox. I mean, open source from the best people on the field should be something you can really use. I felt the lack of reusable Code while doing my Master's Project and now that I am learning as much as I can about current Game's AI, I think this SandBox will be more like Pandora's Box to me.

grave on September 17th, 2008

After having the concept of my AI tough up I would most likely put to good use knowledge from the Expert Reports section. The sandbox would provide me with a common tool that even if it isn't to be used in the final stage it could come in use to build prototypes to test different interactions/set-ups or run those made by others (the first thing I would do would be running all the demos available to get a grip on the tool and concept behind it ^^). I don't see the Online Meetings part as a learning tool but rather something to answer a particular topic (a real-time scheduled forum topic). For instance a trend has begun to build up, what are its strong points, its week points, advantages etc. or the people that are new to the community feel a bit lost so what are we going to do and stuff like that. For me all information is welcomed, if I don't have use for something today I might have use for it tomorrow.

petah on September 17th, 2008

I think class diagrams/UML/pseudo code would be of great benefit to new comers and experts alike. Just basic generic stuff to start with, like path finding, obstacle avoidance, priority target detection. I mean concepts and AI design is not much with out a means for implementation. I think this would add great value to a membership.

theraot on September 17th, 2008

Check out the blog for errors, I don't know what you did to my post... I don't wanna write again, so... I'll say that I'll really like to sandbox to test some cool stuff of mine, and that you lost some I ideas I've post there!!! ok, I'll add that I'll really luv to catch an Online Meeting, there are things that I've never got the answer in time.

fzambetta on September 19th, 2008

From a personal perspective I'd love to see the online meetings to become workshops (or maybe even an online conference one day, and I'd be happy to help organizing that too) the fact notwithstanding that specific ad-hoc informal sessions (more tutorial-style) could be organized as well. I guess that could make the academic readers of AIGamedev (probably the academics that “get it”?) to be more willing to participate in the community. Also, the sandbox would be fantastic especially if it exposed clean and simple interfaces I may get my students to use! As it stands I have been forced into using Unreal Tournament (in its various incarnations) and Neverwinter Nights (1 & 2) for more introductory subjects, but a cleaner/leaner API would be really beneficial in my classes. I have done a fair bit of research on the subject Alex that I'd be happy to share but I'm absolutely sure you have, as well! Finally, even research students (Honours, Masters, PhD) would greatly benefit as they could just get the tools right away and concentrate on implementing and testing their algorithms without re-inventing the wheel or having to learn extremely big APIs (which is not really the point). For instance, my Masters student this semester has been working on a testbed for a follow-up work to my article in AI Game Programming Wisdom 4. We started believing we could use some modding tools but gave up on that because of the extremely large APIs that would shift the balance between programming work & actual research in the wrong direction. Oh well…that’s all I guess for now!

David Aiken on September 19th, 2008

I found the papers you posted recently quite interesting - this is the type of content that makes the site worthwhile. Reviews of recent game AI papers/articles in an Amazon-style Wiki format would be good (so that even if you don't have the time to cover them, your readers can chime in). The AI behind the large sandbox games like GTA are particularly interesting, as are efficient parallel algorithms. hope it helps.. David

Kevin on September 20th, 2008

AI game dev has been very useful to me until now. coz im a university student doing my final year project on GameAI. basically what i need to do is to develop a strategy based game and fill each unit with as much AI as i can. im new to this field but this site helps me a lot in my research work. im sure many other students also make aigamedev their point of reference:)

DDd on September 20th, 2008

Ill tell you what i hope to get from a membership site: Improve my AI skillset so that i can land a job doing AI game programming. (I am a general programmer that does AI, not a AI programmer) i need to recycle, learn new techniques, learn cool new tricks that will put me above the rest of people that are not members of AiGameDev.

stevan_radanovic on September 21st, 2008

It would be great to have something meaningful to listen to while walking to gym in 6am. :)

aideveloper on September 21st, 2008

For me it will mean exposition to a lot of ideas, filtered and condensed before taking one path or another, freeing me from the burden of testing each idea for myself.

alexjc on September 29th, 2008

And the winner is... [B]Grave[/B]! For his [URL=""]second post[/URL] here... His first post also helped spark a second "community-oriented" contest too. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated. Alex

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