Infinite Axis Utility System

What it is...

Dave Mark is well known in AI circles, particularly at the GDC AI Summit, as being a proponent of utility-based AI. While utility can be (and has been) applied to many different types of architectures for decades, he has developed a stand-alone architecture based entirely on utility mechanisms. Since it's inception in 2012, he has continued to improve this method and deployed it to great success in his contract work with a variety of companies.

The Infinite Access Utility System was spoken about briefly at the GDC AI Summit in 2013 as his part of a multi-person talk entitled, Architecture Tricks: Managing Behaviors in Time, Space, and Depth. (You can skip to 33:35 for the beginning of his segment.)

Additionally, he spoke about it at length with Mike Lewis of ArenaNet in the 2015 GDC AI Summit specifically in regard to how it was deployed at ArenaNet for use in the GuildWars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion. (See Building a Better Centaur: AI at Massive Scale) This 1 hour lecture also shows how the entire architecture works (at the time) as well as tidbits of some of the other technologies that were included in that game. Importantly, he demonstrates via a time-lapse video how the modular data-driven design of the IAUS enables designers to construct unique AI packages for their NPCs in as little as 7 minutes. Additionally, as a result of this modular data-driven system, core behaviors authored by any designer can be added to any character with ease. Because all the behaviors are allowed to "play together" as they are scored, it is simply a matter of the designer selecting which ones the NPC should have at it's disposal.

What it provides...

The Infinite Axis Utility System (IAUS) provides the "brains" for game agents from NPCs, to squads, to armies, and even to otherwise inanimate objects. It is entirely data-driven through a database oriented design tool (included) that allows designers to create, manipulate, and tune the behaviors in subtle, yet very understandable ways.

Because of the nature of utliity AI, much of the variation spills out of the nuanced nature of the behavior scoring and selection system. Additionally, because of this difference from the standard if/then approach to behavior selection, the behavior systems are less rigid and, therefore, less brittle. The AI rarely—if ever—get's "stuck" in a behavior that it shouldn't because it can't get out of what it is doing. Put another way, the AI is analyzing the complex situations in ways that make sense to us but are enormously difficult to script out. (For those familiar with computational complexity theory, the IAUS is helping you do the NP-Hard problems by making sure you don't have to think of everything!)

The IAUS exists as a stand-alone black box that can be installed into a project codebase with minimal work. We have both C++ and C# versions based on the needs to the client. In theory, minus any specific custom language or library issues, this means that this core AI system can be installed on day 1 and work can begin on hooking it up to world information, existing behavior and animation code, and behavior logic can be authored in the tool we have developed for that purpose.

IA's Techs

Bringing life to games... easier

Our technologies can be used completely independant of each other.

However, they are designed to be used together.


Utility AI

Our IAUS utility AI system gives designers the power they need to create robust, dynamic behaviors!



Our Imap system provides agents with knowledge of the spatial information in the world - both fixed and dynamic!



Our procedural dialog system allows designers to create filtered, contextual text communications.



Our name generation system saves designers the effort of coming up with 100s or 1000s of new names.