GDC 2011 organizers have revealed an initial set of Artificial Intelligence Summit talks for the February/March 2011 event, including talks from Rockstar, Double Fine, Electronic Arts and Blizzard notables.
The always-popular summit, taking place on February 28th and March 1st during Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will feature 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.”
Advisors for the much-anticipated Summit include Intrinsic Algorithm’s Dave Mark, author of the book “Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI”, and Nintendo of America’s Steve Rabin.
With a final set of lectures to be announced soon, a number of major talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage and the AI Summit section of GDC’s Schedule Builder. Highlights include the following:
– ‘AI Unplugged: How Experienced Devs Think Through AI’ sees sequential microlectures from notables including Blizzard’s Brian Schwab, Double Fine’s Chris Jurney, Rockstar Leeds’ Brett Laming and more, building on the premise that “designing good AI depends upon analyzing the specific behavior or problem that needs to be addressed and decomposing it in such a way that it can be dealt with in the first place.”
In the panel, the Summit presents experienced game AI designers and programmers “with examples of typical (or odd!) game behaviors and watch as they walk through the process of tackling the problem — long before the programming suite is ever opened.”
– In ‘AI Pr0n: Maximum Exposure of Your Debug Info!’, developers, including Big Huge Games’ Michael Dawe and Electronic Arts/The Sims Division’s Rez Graham “will expose the creative and unique approaches they used to visualize the complexity of their AI for debugging and development.”
The speakers will deal with the “very difficult task” of debugging complex AI, with the description noting: “Often the best approach involves visualizing the data and the relationships instead of staring at code. After all, nothing is more revealing than getting a peek at all that private activity going on behind closed doors!”
– The session ‘People in Your Pocket: High-Quality AI on Mobile Devices’ sees discussion on “AI-driven people simulators with low-fi graphical fidelity but hi-fi behavioral fidelity”, featuring Black & White/The Sims 3 AI designer Richard Evans, who is now working on “an unannounced text-based simulation”, as well as Ngmoco’s Andrew Stern (Touch Pets) and noted interactive fiction developer Emily Short.
Other sessions in the full AI Summit schedule announced thus far include ‘Flirting with the Dark Side: Scripting and AI’, featuring Moonshot Games’ Damian Isla (Halo franchise) and Egosoft’s Mike Lewis, as well as a new lecture entitled ‘Lay of the Land: Smarter AI Through Influence Maps’ featuring speakers from Lockheed Martin and elsewhere.