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An Introduction to the Whiteboard Video Tutorials — Episode 01

Alex J. Champandard on January 2, 2008

What do you want to know about game AI? In particular, which topics or examples would you like me to explain with a whiteboard? Here’s your chance to influence the future direction of this new… erm, “show” I guess!

Last year, I hinted at my debut into the world of video blogging, and now I’ve finally managed to get everything together. Camera, check! Whiteboard, check! Color coordinated pens, check! Shamelessness, hmmm… Anyway, this introductory video weighs in at 5.4 Mb and lasts exactly 1:19 minutes.

Once you’ve got over your initial reaction “Oh my god! I can’t believe XYZ,” I’d appreciate suggestions and recommendations on the following:

  • Topics or examples to discuss during the show.
  • Feedback whether this is something you’d find useful!
  • A name for the show; any smart ideas? :-)
  • Technical & video production tips… Does it work O.K.?

Anyway, this was fun to make, so I’m looking forward to read your suggestions. Until the next episode!

Music from longueur d’onde by SOULDAYS, under Creative Commons license.

Discussion 11 Comments

alexjc on January 3rd, 2008

Yeah, that helps a lot Andrew. Many thanks. I'll probably pick your brain by email! For the topics, I think design is definitely the way to go. In-depth technical articles are better as HTML tutorials with code and figures I think... As for names, I'm toying with a play on words of "Smoke and Mirrors." Any ideas? (Maybe something a little more intelligent and less fake though :-) Alex

sphereinabox on January 3rd, 2008

Have you tried screen capture when using a drawing tablet? Then we shouldn't have as much trouble discerning things with the low [and uneven] contrast of the whiteboard... I'd suggest adobe illustrator or inkscape or something so you don't have to worry about the drawing size.... Unfortunately, panning could be horrible to compress, then you'd essentially be annotating photos, screenshots, diagrams or slides... something like: [16 meg, 10 minutes, on the set of pixel perfect] http://media.libsyn.com/media/gearmediatech/gmt_018.mov I mean the "annotation" going on there, not the technical things described... I think seeing you at a $2500 tablet in front of a green screen shot by a $25000 camera is a bit much... a wacom "bamboo fun" tablet [4" by 6"] runs about $100

3emeType on January 3rd, 2008

Hi, I would be great to see more examples of behavior trees in action, particularly with planning...

petah on January 3rd, 2008

I like your idea in doing videos to explain concepts and techniques. I do however agree with the others about not being able to see the white board in all shots though. I would like to see videos about navigation or even AI team work and communication.

alexjc on January 3rd, 2008

Ok, thanks all for your feedback! I will probably do a few things to fix this: [LIST] [*]More light if it doesn't reflect too much... [*]Better manual white balance of the video. [*]Taking still shots of the board with a normal camera. [*]Put a high-resolution version in the forums for download. [/LIST] Alex

bronxbomber92 on January 4th, 2008

Awesome Alex! I would love to see something about implementation in code, and the advantages of using certain design patterns and languages (especially how Lisp or something similar is advantageous over C like language - C++, C#, ect..) over others for implementing AI.

qwerty01 on January 4th, 2008

Coordinate squad tactics

blog on January 7th, 2008

[quote] What do you want to know about game AI? In particular, which topics or examples would you like me to explain with a whiteboard? Here's your chance to influence the future direction of this new... erm, "show" I guess! Last year, I hinted at m[/quote] Read the [url=http://aigamedev.com/videos/whiteboard-intro-01]full article[/url] on the blog.

gware on January 8th, 2008

Hi, IMO, a very good way to integrate video as a media for tutorials and presentations is to integrate 2 canevas on a page one with the video of the speaker, the other with a live presentation (the numerical of your blackboard:) . To get an idea of what I'm trying to picture here, take a look at the presentations on www.infoq.com . The major issue with the whiteboard is that you cannot face while drawing (or at least , it's a bit difficult). The problem if you don't speak while drawing is that your audience might get bored of watching you draw circles and square everywhere ;) Also, as Andrew said, if you try to speak while drawing the audience might not hear you very well (this will distract them from the speech). Last, it may be a bit tricky to zoom and show everything using a good "old" whiteboard :) We had a very good user feedback at my school when we introduced the video & slide duo on our intranet. You can use a different variety of tools to create animated slides (we used a tool to record drawing on paint & powerpoint slides) and still give the presentation a bit of "humanity" with your video ;) You will also be able to run various demos & show the results. I believe it's a common format for lots of presentations nowadays. HTH.

Dom on January 9th, 2008

At our company we use an electronical whiteboard. That's basically a projector and a pen-tracking board - You can run applications and draw at the same time on-top of them. Or just draw on white backgrounds and save it later to PDFs. You can also drag-in from a library photos, drawings etc. Writing on it in a read-able way takes some training though ;) Of course it does cost a bit more. If you want more details, let me know.

kierand on January 9th, 2008

You can do it for a lot less money using a wii-mote. Take a look at this site (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/) and check out the second project 'Low-Cost Multi-point Interactive Whiteboards Using the Wiimote'. Also while you are at that site, check out the third project 'Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the Wii Remote'. It is seriously impressive, and would be incredibly simple to implement into a game.

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