Spaces in the Sandbox: Tactical Awareness in Open World Games #GDC #AISummit

Spaces in the Sandbox: Tactical Awareness in Open World Games

Format: 60-minute Lecture

Speakers: Mika Vehkala, Matthew Jack

The intelligent use of terrain by game agents was a turning point in modern shooters and action games. Gone were the days where the enemies simply ran straight towards the player. However, the need for spatial awareness quickly went beyond static cover points — designers wanted to incorporate more complex spatial behaviors such as searching, running away, maneuvering for better line of sight, or even group tactics. Environments also became richer and more dynamic, making manual markup and scripting labor-intensive and brittle, and requiring more sophisticated techniques for world analysis. Using examples from IO Interactive’s, Hitman: Absolution, work developed at Crytek, and Xaviant’s upcoming RPG, Lichdom, the lecture will present two different approaches to dynamically processing spatial information to allow game agents to process their environment in believable, tactically advantageous ways.

The session gives attendees both concrete examples and theoretical suggestions as to how to improve the tactics of their own AI agents.


Mika Vehkala
Founder and AI Programmer, Gametec Consulting
Senior AI Programmer: IO Interactive 

Mika is the founder of Gametec Consulting, a private contracting company in the Netherlands that provides services in game AI, game mechanics, and tool development for games. He has worked in the industry since late 1999 including the past 4 years for IO Interactive as Senior AI Programmer on the recent Hitman: Absolution. Prior to entering game development, he was involved in the Finnish demo-scene and shareware community.

Matthew Jack
AI Consultant at Moon Collider, Co-founder at Intelligent Artefacts

Matthew is the founder of Moon Collider ( where he provides AI consulting services for companies in the US and Europe, specializing in CryEngine 3 and Recast/Detour. Additionally, he formed Intelligent Artefacts ( with Mike Bell in January to build powerful new AI tools for multiple engines and platforms. Prior to that, Matthew developed AI at Crytek for many years in a senior R&D role, including work on Crysis and Crysis 2. He has since worked for Microsoft and, and consulted for games and serious games companies. Clients include Xaviant LLC and Enodo SAS, with products delivered to companies such as BMW. He has written for Games Programming Gems and Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals

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