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GDC 2014's AI Summit adds  Bioshock Infinite ,  Sims 4 ,  Hearthstone
GDC 2014's AI Summit adds Bioshock Infinite, Sims 4, Hearthstone
January 31, 2014 | By GDC Staff




Game Developers Conference 2014 organizers are highlighting a few new AI Summit talks for the March conference, including sessions explaining how to program a companion character like Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth to act believably, a deeper look at the AI design of The Sims 4 and Hearthstone, plus much more.

Quick reminder: just a scant few hours remain before you can no longer qualify for the Game Developers Conference early registration discount.

These talks are part of the AI Summit, one of eight that will take place Monday, March 17 and Tuesday, March 18 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA during the first two days of GDC 2014.

As part of the Summit, Irrational Games’ John Abercrombie is giving a talk about how the AI technology that breathes life into Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite works. The session, titled simply Bringing Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth to Life: An AI Development Postmortem, should help explain how the folks at Irrational programmed Elizabeth’s behavior as both a companion and, occasionally, a leader. Abercrombie plans to showcase a series of before-and-after video clips that should help elucidate Irrational’s AI programming techniques, as well as how they succeeded and failed. It should be an especially useful session for anyone curious about the best way to design a companion character.

The perennially popular AI postmortem session returns to GDC 2014, and this time it’s being led by engineers from Maxis and Blizzard Entertainment. Rez Graham of EA Maxis will explain some of the major changes that were implemented in The Sims 4 to add in new behaviors and allow Sims to multi-task between them. Also, Blizzard Entertainment’s Brian Schwab intends to talk about how the AI in Hearthstone was designed to offers players a consistently challenging, competitive card game while masquerading as a human player on the other side of a fierce card battle. Together, the two engineers lead an info-packed session titled AI Postmortems: The Sims 4 and Hearthstone.

Finally, a trio of AI engineers come to GDC 2014 to lead a session about best practices for visually tracking what the AI knows in a session titled Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Improving Visualization of AI Info. Each of the three speakers will highlight a different way to track the data that informs AI behavior -- Bill Merrill of Turtle Rock Studios will showcase the simple timeline-esque AI view he uses to debug Evolve, Mika Vehkala of Gametec Consulting will explain how the ReView tool helps programmers track the behavior of multiplayer bots in Killzone: Shadow Fall, and EA’s Charles Gast will reveal how he uses the HTPP-based Game State Inspector to track AI in The Sims 4 via information widgets.

For more information on these or others in the show's growing lineup, check out GDC 2014's official Schedule Builder, which continues to add new talks every week. The deadline for discounted Early Bird passes, including a lower-priced Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps Pass, is January 31. GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.


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