GDC AI Summit: Beyond Eliza: Constructing Socially Engaging AI

Another session that has been announced for this year’s GDC AI Summit is Beyond Eliza: Constructing Socially Engaging AI.

From the GDC session description:

One of the frontiers of game AI is building agents that socially engage the player and each other in deep and dynamic ways. Traditional behavior-selection rules do not apply, while hand-scripted solutions do not scale and are often prohibitively brittle. Social and conversational beings require a deeper modeling of interests, drives, emotions, and an awareness of social norms. This lecture will show you architectures from three production games, Storybricks, Prom Week, and an unannounced title, that introduce new ways of constructing characters to allow deeper, flexible, and more meaningful social engagement with the player.

The session will feature descriptions of socially based architectures for Storybricks (Stéphane Bura), Prom Week (Mike Treanor and Josh McCoy), and an unannounced title by Little Text People co-founders Richard Evans and Emily Short.

Stéphane Bura — Lead Designer at Namaste

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 Namaste 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

Mike Treanor — Game designer and PhD Student, Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz

Mike Treanor is a game designer and theorist pursuing his PhD at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz. His work focuses on understanding how to create videogames that represent ideas. He has made several short form expressive games, and has written papers that have been presented at academic conferences. Recently, he was lead gameplay designer for Prom Week, a social strategy/puzzle game, with very rich social simulation, about the lives of a group of high school students.

Josh McCoy — Ph.D. student in Computer Science, Expressive Intelligence Studio at U.C. Santa Cruz

Josh is pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at U.C. Santa Cruz. He researches new ways to create and improve the state of the art of video games, interactive experiences and their design through the application of existing and the creation of novel artificial intelligence (AI) systems. As the latest product of this research, Josh initiated and developed Prom Week, a game featuring an AI system that enables playable social interactions.

Emily Short — Freelance Writer, Game Designer, Consultant

Emily Short is the co-founder of Little Text People, with Richard Evans. She specializes in interactive narrative, especially dialogue models. She is the author of over a dozen works of interactive fiction, including Galatea and Alabaster, which focus on conversation as the main form of interaction, and Mystery House Possessed, a commissioned project with dynamically-managed narrative. She is also part of the team behind Inform 7, a natural-language programming language for creating interactive fiction. She has spoken at the AI Summit at GDC and presented on interactive storytelling at PAX East, MIT, UCSC, and the University of Passo Fundo, Brazil.

Richard Evans — Founder and CTO, Little Text People

Richard is an AI specialist with a particular focus on the modeling of social practices and individual personality. Richard is the co-founder, along with Emily Short, of Little Text People. Previously he worked at Maxis as the AI lead on The Sims 3 and, before that, as the Head of AI at Lionhead responsible for the AI in Black & White. He is an exotic mixture of English and Welsh.



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2 Responses to GDC AI Summit: Beyond Eliza: Constructing Socially Engaging AI

  1. Pingback: Linden Lab Acquires LittleTextPeople | The Metaverse Tribune

  2. Pingback: Holy cow! I was busy at GDC! « Mike Treanor

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