GDC AI Summit: Less A, More I – Using Psychology in Game AI

The 2011 AI Summit had Dave Mark and Brian Schwab teaming up for the highest rated lecture of year, “Using Randomness in AI: Both Sides of the Coin”. This year, Dave and Brian return with another joint lecture — this time on the application of human psychology to the craft of creating AI for game characters.

From the GDC description:

When dealing with game AI characters, psychology can’t help but come into play. Players process what they see and experience through a filter of expectations. We expect human-like game characters to exhibit human-like traits. A by-product of the quest to improve AI decisions, however, is that characters can begin to “feel” robotic and sterile. This session will begin by showing various psychological biases that we as game players bring to the experience. We will then show how characters can be imbued with simple affects to exploit these expectations in order to seem more “alive” and believable.

Brian Schwab – Senior AI/Gameplay Engineer II, Blizzard Entertainment

Brian, during his 18 years of industry captivity, has made AI systems for many disparate products including educational titles, war simulations, sports games, and everything in between. At last count, he has fixed just over 14,600 bugs so far. He has led teams of 2-15 people, done a ton of design work in addition to his coding, and also wrote the book AI Game Engine Programming, now in its second edition. He was also AI section editor for Game Programming Gems 6 & 7, and has served on the planning council for the AIIDE conference for a while now. He’s currently working at Blizzard Entertainment on an unannounced title.

Dave Mark – President & Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm

Dave is the President and Lead Designer of Intrinsic Algorithm, an independent game development studio and AI consulting company in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the author of the book “Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI” and is a contributor to the “AI Game Programming Wisdom” and “Game Programming Gems” book series from Charles River Media. Dave is also a founding member of the AI Game Programmers Guild and has spoken at numerous conferences including being a co-advisor for the previous AI Summits at GDC. He continues to further his education by attending the University of Life. He has no plans to graduate any time soon.


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