Off the Beaten Path: Non-Traditional Uses of AI #GDC #AISummit

Last year’s “Off the Beaten Path: Non-Traditional Uses of AI” session was one of our most popular sessions of the 2012 AI Summit. This years should be just as compelling.

GDC Link: Off the Beaten Path: Non-Traditional Uses of AI

Format: 60-minute lecture

Speakers: Stéphane Bura, Ian Horswill, Leif Fogred, Jeff Orkin

In the game industry, AI is typically thought of as a collection of simple tools used to make characters “do things.” This lecture will show three different ways that people have leveraged more esoteric AI techniques in manners not traditionally seen in games. Jeff Orkin (MIT Media Lab) will show how he used data-capture of players from his project, The Restaurant Game, and how data-capture can be used to generate not only actions, but procedural dialog as well. Ian Horswill and Leif Fogred (Northwestern) will show how constraint-based procedural level design for roguelikes can  generate content yet still satisfy designers’ needs and desires. Lastly, Stéphane Bura (Storybricks) will discuss using AI techniques to contextually parse the player’s actions to give him or her more control over NPCs. All three sections promise to give attendees something new and different to ponder about how they approach their own projects.

The session presents three technical applications of AI that aren’t usually thought of. The attendee may also be inspired to do their own creative thinking about uses for AI!


Ian Horswill
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University

Ian is an AI researcher interested in cognitive modeling for virtual characters, particularly modeling of emotion and personality. He has also worked on procedural character animation in the Twig system. Ian received a PhD in Computer Science from the MIT AI Lab in 1993, where he developed the first robot to use embedded real-time vision as its only sense, technologies from which were used in the Sony Aibo. He is past chair of the standing committee of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s (AAAI) Symposium Series, as well as the 2009 International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG), and program chair for the 2013 Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) Conference.

Leif Fogred
Game Researcher, Northwestern University

Leif Foged is presently at Northwestern University where he is completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Previously, he worked as a Software Engineer at Zynga and Amazon Game Studios.

Stéphane Bura
Lead Designer, Storybricks

A role-playing game writer of 25 years, Stéphane Bura has advanced degrees in artificial intelligence specializing in the study of emerging properties in complex worlds. Before joining Storybricks as their Lead Designer, he worked with Kalisto Entertainment, 10tacle Belgium, and as an independent game design consultant. His essays on game design theory can be found at .

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