GDC AI Summit: AI Post-Mortems

The first session announced for the 2012 GDC AI Summit is our yearly post-mortem session. Every year, our theme for the post-mortems is “challenges faced (and overcome)”. This year’s installment is no exception showing some of the challenges and solutions from Kingdoms of Amulur: Reckoning, Darkness II, and Skulls of the Shogun.

From the GDC session description:

This session provides a high-density look into some of the unique challenges that were faced (and conquered!) in three upcoming or recently released games. We will show how massive open-world RPG, Reckoning, dealt with the scheduling of hundreds of NPCs and how they dealt with designer/programmer interaction for authoring behaviors. The Darkness II shows how agent co-ordination, collision avoidance, and the perception-reaction system all contribute to the believable enemies in this story-driven, supernatural action-shooter. Additionally, we will show the solutions that were used to address challenges unique to a fast-action, turn-based strategy game, Skulls of the Shogun.

The presenters for this session are:

Michael Dawe — Senior AI and Gameplay Programmer, 38 Studios

Michael is an AI and Gameplay programmer at 38 Studios, where he helped to develop NPC scheduling and behaviors for the recently released role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. He has been a perennial speaker at GDC’s AI Summit since its inception and strives to further what players can expect from our games. He holds a Master’s degree in computer science from DigiPen Institute of Technology.

Daniel Brewer — Lead AI Programmer, Digital Extremes

Daniel graduated from University of Natal Durban, South Africa in 2000 with a BScEng in Electronic Engineering focusing on artificial intelligence, control systems and data communications. He worked at Cathexis Technologies in Durban for 6 years as a software engineer writing software for digital surveillance systems. In 2007, he moved to Digital Extremes in Canada as a game-play programmer where he worked on Dark Sector and BioShock 2 multi-player, and two unshipped games. Most recently, he is the Lead AI Programmer on The Darkness II.

Borut Pfeifer — Plush Apocalypse/Haunted Temple Studios

Borut Pfeifer is an independent game designer and programmer. With over 11 years of experience making games, he’s worked at companies like Radical Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, and Electronic Arts. At EA he was lead AI programmer on a game in development with Steven Spielberg. His published credits include Scarface: The World Is Yours (on Playstation 2, Xbox, and PC) and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (a launch title for the Playstation 3).

He has written a wide variety of game development articles on programming, design, and business, in books like the Game Programming Gems series, Secrets of the Game Business, and industry websites like Gamasutra. He has also taught technical game design at the Vancouver Film School.

He is currently working on two games. The first to release is in co-development with Haunted Temple Studios, called Skulls of the Shogun, a strategy game in a set in an eerie, animated world of dead samurai. The second is The Unconcerned, a strategy roleplaying game set in Iran during the 2009 post-election riots, which attempts to combine engaging gameplay with deeper social themes.


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