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Monday, March 17 & Tuesday, March 18

The AI Summit at GDC features panels and lectures from more than two dozen of the top game AI programmers in the industry. Organized as a collective effort by the AI Game Programmers Guild, this event promises to give you an inside look at key architectures and issues within successful commercial games, as well as let you eavesdrop on conversations, debates, and rants on how game AI can move forward. This summit is targeted toward the intermediate to advanced programmer who wants deeper insight into the world of game AI, however anyone who is interested in what AI can offer next generation games will find invaluable insights and lessons from the speakers.

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Bringing BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth to Life: An AI Development Postmortem
John Abercrombie(Irrational Games)
One of the greatest challenges of video game AI is that of creating believable companions that inhabit the world. Rather than being "alive" for merely seconds, they are engaged with the player for hours - and are often meant to be the focus. Complicating things further is when the companion is expected to be both leader and the follower, both dynamic and scripted, both the entertainer and the entertained. Architecting a system that handles all of these divergent needs can be daunting. This talk explains how these seemingly contradictory design goals of BioShock Infinite's companion character, Elizabeth, were solved by leveraging philosophies from other entertainment mediums, as well as one of Irrational's core design pillars. Using a detailed series of before-and-after videos, the talk will examine failures and successes in both design and implementation. It will also explain some of the techniques that can be used by other developers to improve their own companion AI characters.
Free-Range AI: Creating Compelling Characters for Open World Games
Aaron Canary (Volition)
Jeet Shroff (Avalanche Studios)
When game worlds were simply linear presentations of rooms and corridors, it was acceptable to create AI that existed solely in those confined spaces, with controlled gameplay and defined player experiences. As the industry moved to more open world games, static set-piece characters quickly broke the intended immersion of a "living, breathing world." Developers wanted to give the impression that the AI was living in the huge, dynamic world that they inhabited, as well as to allow for non-linear play choices and emergent end-user experiences. The quandary was developing a system that allowed ambient AI and undirected systemic gameplay, but still supporting structured narrative. This two-part session features developers who have worked on games such as Far Cry 3, Saints Row 4, and upcoming titles from Avalanche Studios, and will show concrete examples of how notable open world games provided characters that offered dynamic gameplay opportunities while still preserving scalability of design and fidelity.


Dave Mark
Intrinsic Algorithm
Dave is the president and lead designer of Intrinsic Algorithm, an independent game development studio in Omaha, Nebraska. He does consulting on AI, game design, and mathematical modeling for clients ranging from small indie game studios to AAA companies including such as EA and Sony Online Entertainment. Dave is the author of the book "Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI" and is a contributor to the "AI Game Programming Wisdom" and "Game Programming Gems" book series from Charles River Media. He has also spoken at numerous game conferences and universities around the world on the subjects of AI, game theory, and psychology. He is a founding member of the AI Game Programmers Guild and has been a co-advisor for the previous AI Summits at GDC. Dave continues to further his education by attending the University of Life. He has no plans to graduate any time soon.
Steve Rabin
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Steve has been a principal figure in the game AI community for over a decade. After working as an AI engineer at several Seattle startups, he managed and edited five game AI books including the recent "Game AI Pro" and the "AI Game Programming Wisdom" series of books. He also edited the book "Introduction to Game Development" and has over two dozen articles published in the Game Programming Gems series. He's been an invited keynote speaker at several AI conferences and founded the AI Game Programmers Guild in 2008. Steve has taught game AI since 2006 at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. He earned a B.S. in computer engineering and an M.S. in computer science, both from the University of Washington.
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