GDC AI Summit: Managing the Masses – Crafting AI for Online Games


This year’s AI Summit takes a look at online games and some of the special challenges that crafting AI for them entails. Two developers — one from the realm of social games and the other from the world of traditional MMOs — share their experiences and solutions.

From the GDC description:

Recently, MMOs and social games have begun pushing the envelope by adding rich AI agents to fill out their human-driven worlds. This movement exposed a new set of challenges. How do you create and manage thousands of simultaneous MMO agents that may interact with tens of thousands of users? And how do you do it in a manner that allows the fast-paced and often iterative release schedule of today‚Äôs online games? This lecture will outline the challenges unique to architecting AI for online games, and explain some of the solutions used by Zynga’s CityVille and ArenaNet’s upcoming Guild Wars 2.

Mike Lewis – Senior Server Programmer, ArenaNet Inc.

Mike has spent over a decade in the game development industry as a programmer, working on a diverse range of technical challenges, most often with an AI theme. He has shipped AI in three successful titles for Egosoft GmbH, and is currently a server architecture engineer working on ArenaNet’s upcoming MMORPG, Guild Wars 2. Mike has previously lectured at the GDC AI Summit, and volunteers as a forum moderator for one of the web’s largest game development communities.

Rob Zubek – Principal Software Engineer, Zynga

Dr. Robert Zubek is a principal software engineer at Zynga in San Francisco, developing games for social networks, where he forged new games such as CityVille and Roller Coaster Kingdom. Prior to Zynga, he was at Three Rings Design, and Electronic Arts / Maxis; even earlier, he did research in artificial intelligence and robotics. He holds a PhD in computer science from Northwestern University, where he also earned his other CS degrees.


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