One of the hottest topics of 2008 in the games industry was procedural world generation, which got a lot of attention due to the release of Spore primarily. The technology hasn’t swept across the industry yet; procedural techniques are still confined to a few games in practice, but with the growing costs of generating next-gen content this trend is likely to grow. There’s little doubt that we’ll have to deal with this problem as game AI developers very soon, so here’s how you can stay ahead of the curve!
This week for the developer discussion, AiGameDev.com has teamed up with Procedural Inc. — the team behind CityEngine. The topic for the discussion:
“How does procedural technology
and the generation of detailed 3D cities
affect our AI code, and what can we do
to prepare for this paradigm shift?”
Procedural Inc. is providing detailed 3D city models as a bonus to all new members of AiGameDev.com’s new continuous training program this week (just recently relaunched). However, you can also win a copy of these cities by entering this week’s discussion, and posting a comment on the blog or in the forums. The author of the most interesting and insightful comment will receive the 3D files of high detail cities generated by CityEngine.
Screenshot 1: Procedurally generated version of Manhattan using CityEngine.
To give you a quick idea of the kind of topics you can tackle, here are a few more questions:
Do we need improvements to our tools & data pipelines to deal with procedurally generated worlds during development?
How can we build AI behaviors to cope with the wide variety of cities that procedural algorithms may generate?
What’s a good way to make incremental improvements to our AI technology to support procedural generation of worlds?
Screenshot 2: Venice as an automatically generated peninsula using CityEngine.
The cities you’ll receive for posting the most insightful comment in this discussion are detailed 3D models that contain details to challenge AI. These models are being created by Procedural Inc., generated automatically based on user design using CityEngine.
You can use these 3D models whether you’d like to:
Test your AI algorithms against procedurally generated worlds to see how well they cope, or
Try building NPCs for large worlds too see what kinds of challenges Rockstar’s AI has to deal with!
Don’t forget you can download the trial version of CityEngine if you’d like to experiment with the software, but you won’t be able to export cities without a license. If you contact Procedural Inc. for further details, be sure to mention you heard about them through AiGameDev.com!
Note: The screenshots in this post are taken from the Procedural.com website, and are not indicative of the 3D cities for this contest or the ones you’ll receive when joining as a member to our continuous training program this week. The models are still being custom generated by the CityEngine team, specifically to maximize the challenges for AI (e.g. navigation).