Open Editorial

Designing Survival Behaviors: Inside the Darwinian’s Brains with Chris Delay

Alex J. Champandard on January 31, 2009

These days, it’s becoming much easier to program logic to animate on screen characters. However, that’s only a small part of the challenge of building a game that involves and immerses the player. Actually bringing NPCs to life is something that all AI developers struggle with — and frankly, few succeed…

Earlier in the week (as part of our newly re-opened membership site) I had the pleasure of interviewing Introversion’s Chris Delay about the design and implementation of the AI in Darwinia and Multiwinia. Introversion is an independent game development company that was also behind Defcon — recently in the news about its API.

Darwinia, released in 2005, is a game that received acclaim for its blend of innovative design, gameplay, and stylized characters & world. Players and reviewers genuinely felt that the Darwinians were a living part of their environment. In the following video, you’ll hear Chris describe how they managed to imbue life into the Darwinians by designing them with a wide range of survival behaviors. (The video is 5:12 minutes long, and is approximately 4Mb if your browser supports a recent version of Flash — smaller otherwise.)

About Chris

The creative force behind Introversion, Chris Delay is the lead designer and developer of all Introversion’s games. He also writes regularly about design and technical issues on the Introversion blog, in particular about upcoming games such as Subversion.

Audio / Video Recording

Like to know how these survival behaviors were implemented in practice? Wondering how the Darwinians know how to prioritize their threats when there are many enemies, lasers and grenades around? Curious how Chris got around the performance problems of having thousands of Darwinians at the same time in Multiwinia? Sign-up now to the premium Members’ Area; the full length high-quality interview will be posted this weekend.


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