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High-Performance and Memory-Efficient Pathfinding in DRAGON AGE

Nathan Sturtevant on May 6, 2010

Role-playing games often exhibit challenging worlds for the AI to deal with, and BioWare's recently released DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS is no exception. It features large worlds with multiple co-operative NPCs, player avatars that can be automatically controlled at the click of a mouse, plus dynamic area effects and unpredictable dynamic obstacles. How are pathfinding and navigation systems built to deal with all these requirements?

In this interview with Nathan Sturtevant, contractor at BioWare and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, you'll learn about the pathfinding of DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS in all its details. In particular Nathan will explain the process of rewriting the existing system, the functioning of the navigation system as well as the low-level details about optimization and implementation. You'll also see how a mere three bits in the low-level representation enabled entire game features!