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Game AI Roundup Week #12-15 2009: 9 Stories, 1 Job, 1 Cartoon

Andrew Armstrong on April 13, 2009

An Easter weekend update to catch up this week, containing coverage posts of GDC’s AI Summit and roundtables, middleware news, stories, and yes, one April Fool article I’m afraid. Also be sure to swing by The Game AI Forums for some stimulating discussion, and also don’t forget Alex’s Twitter account for his random thoughts on Game AI…

This roundup was written by Andrew Armstrong (site). If you have any news or tips for next week, be sure to email them in to <editors at AiGameDev.com>. Remember there’s a mini-blog over at news.AiGameDev.com (RSS) with game AI news from the web as it happens.

Mick West on Intelligent Mistakes

Poker Mistakes

The most interesting article this week which fanned some flames of discussion was Mick West’s article on believability of AI opponents, which looks to do intelligent mistakes - ones which are done with full knowledge they are not the best choice.

“Neversoft co-founder Mick West presents a thought-provoking look at improving the believability of AI opponents in games by upping their use of “intelligent mistakes”, in a piece originally written for Game Developer magazine.”

Slashdot had a comment thread on the article is illuminating what some players think of cheating AI/easy AI/hard AI with a more technical slant than usual. Reddit also has some comments on the article.

Looking at Darkfall PvE AI

Darkfall image

An interesting gamers post on an unfortunately named blog called “Loobin’ the Tubes” about his fights with enemies in Darkfall, which seems to have surprisingly complex AI for an MMO.

“How can I put this? Lets try: The PvE mob AI in Darkfall is the best I’ve ever seen in any MMO. It’s on a par with relatively good FPS bots, and is the most fun I’ve ever had fighting a computer-controlled enemy.”

Middleware News

Apart from AiGameDev’s own exclusive article about Havok releasing their own AI middleware, there is other middleware news from Emergent, xaitment, Autodesk and NaturalMotion. What a lot of partnerships going on!

Emergent Game Technologies and and xaitment have entered into a partnership that will see the Gamebryo LightSpeed engine integrated with the xaitEngine AI solution.

Autodesk and NaturalMotion are integrating their respective game development platforms. Recognising the increasing crossover between animation and AI, the two studios are building advanced integration between the Autodesk Kynapse artificial intelligence middleware and morpheme animation middleware engine.

Autodesk has used GDC 09 to announce new versions of two of its primary middleware technologies. HumanIK 4 updates the company’s animation middleware, while Kynapse 6 offers an improved edition of the Autodesk artificial intelligence solution.

AI Programming Job

Xbox 360 AI Programming Job at Kaos Studios:

AI Programmer

**We are considering both Senior and Mid-level talent for this role**

Responsibilities:

Design and Develop AI and Game Play systems for the game engine within schedule
Participates in Design and Code reviews
Create systems that achieve the game design goals
Create technology that can be re-used and extended in the future
Work with other team members to identify, define and solve problems
Work with external technology as needed
Other duties as assigned

Conferences

CIG ‘08 Proceedings Now Available

CIG Logo Small

Daniel Harabor has brought to our attention the recently released 2008 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games proceedings, and highlights some interesting ones.

GDC 2009 - AI Summit and AI Roundtables

AI summit

In addition to AiGameDev.com’s coverage of the AI Summit and the video report, we have other people covering the event, including myself. If we are missing your pages of notes or analysis here, please email us at <editors at AiGameDev.com>!

Here we have Dan Kline’s notes from Monday and Tuesday, AI Roundtable audio recordings, and my own site’s notes collection including coverage of almost every AI session. (Editor’s Note: Dave Mark’s site still apparently brings up a malware warnings, proceed with caution!)

AI Life in Touch Pet Dogs

On the topic of AI Life, Dogz and Catz were early ways to interact with virtual pets — another one comes along which has a reasonably good writeup on the AI front.

Touch Pet Dogs, created by Andrew Stern, the man behind Virtual Babyz, Dogz and Catz, is a virtual pet simulation that delivers perhaps the most “realistic” and involving experiences of any such title we’ve seen to date.

…What impressed us most about Touch Pets Dogs is the artificial intelligence driving the virtual pets. The learning process is convincing and the dogs really do seem to have their own personality. Anyone relating to the genre will have little trouble forming an emotional bond with the onscreen canine.

Interview with Operation Flashpoint 2 Lead AI Designer

OFDR Screenshot

The Guardian has an interview with Clive Lindop, who covers the role of AI in Operation Flashpoint 2 - with comparisons to other contemporary modern warfare games (hoho!), citing the more open world nature of Operation Flashpoint.

But now that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has changed the landscape of simulated war, what can Codemasters’ sequel do to complete? And how close can a game ever really get to replicating battle? I put these and many other questions to lead AI designer, Clive Lindop…

Darwinia+ AI Information

Darwinia+

Introvision has information up on how the AI for Darwinia works (along with lots of development information on the process of getting Darwinia+ on Xbox Live), with some sample code to boot.

Despite the fact that, in the storyline, Darwinians are all independant free thinking individuals, behind the scenes CPU teams are driven by a single AI entity. As well as allowing for easier coordination between the vast armies of Darwinians, it also saves on processing time; one entity doing all the work is much better than a thousand Darwinians each trying to do the same calculations on their own.

The AI entity decides where to send it’s Darwinians based on a priority system generated by buildings called AITargets placed strategically around the map. Below, you can see the code that determines the priority for each of these targets in King of the Hill and Domination, as well as the single-player Darwinia Campaign.

Penny Arcade on AI Again

Penny Arcade. Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Wanted: Weapons of Fate, not the greatest stellar barrel-cover-finding AI it seems…until they stop making comics, I don’t think our work is done :)

CADIE: Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity

Finally, we have Google’s AI April Fools, the only AI one I could find. Well, the first AI certainly has it’s priorities straight - Pandas!

Unbalancing Scrabble

Dave Mark has now got a Gamasutra blog; there are a few new posts he’s put up, which are also on his normal blog. We’ll keep an eye on both. The most interesting one looks into AI lessons learnt from the un-balancing of scrabble.

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