Friday – finally perhaps? The last day had a lot going on, and was really interesting.
First was the final AI roundtable, taking on more questions from non-AI programmers, although there was some more complex discussions. Not as packed as the first day thankfully, and some good answers for explaining AI concepts and why things are done in certain ways currently. I’ll get notes done next week.
Secondly, I went to What’s next for God games? with Ernest Adams, which delved into the cancelled Genesis game he designed, and what sort of mechanics and design the game had comparable to existing religions and faith/gods. Sadly, he didn’t have his trademark hat, although it was pretty good stuff to listen to.
Next was the annual Pouring Gas on the Flames: Game Designers Rant, which had a whole load of interesting speakers – Eric Zimmerman and Jason Della Rocca who hosted, with Clint Hocking who ranted on not being able to be honourable in games (among other things), Daniel James ranting on loving the industry and thinking it is awesome in lots of ways, Jenova Chen not really ranting but instead doing an interesting swap and balloon party, with someone else coming up briefly to rant, Jonathan Mak ranting about games not being intelligent enough (for older players)!, and Jane McGonigal ranting about not having any meaningful games to play in real life, since she’d like to level up her running skill and enjoy her plane flights.
All absolutely great (I recorded it all, hush hush, and should have it uploaded at some point 🙂 ).
The IGDA roundtable was next – interestingly rather empty (I couldn’t make the first one, or the IGDA general meeting) and I didn’t bring up any point except why the IGDA didn’t do press statements/defences outside the USA/Canada (it’s jurisdiction is the USA/Canada – a huge shame, it should be international since there isn’t large parties put on in other countries 🙂 ). A good point I remember from this apart from the press issues and rapid response protocol that will come from it is a point brought up about the IGDA party having too many academics – students and the like – which while it was a good party, many people went early to the W or other places. I agree – a party involving the academics either starting later, or separately might be better (the starting later is good – staggered entry for one thing).
Something I intended to ask about but really didn’t think was pressing was asking if the IGDA wanted to help record their own history, since it really needs doing sooner rather then later, and what the IGDA is doing about feedback on what it’s activities are to it’s members. I’ll check these sometime later.
Finally, I got to the actually really good Halo 3 talk: Building a Better Battle: HALO 3 AI Objectives by Damian Isla. It was about the designer tools (heirarchies of actions) used to simplify the battle situations in Halo 3 – a huge improvement on simply scripting everything in HaloScript, although with a few drawbacks. It gave me some good ideas, and some words of warning about developer/programmer needs and that the tool really did work well for what it was needed for.
After the end of the conference was the Game AI Dinner which was amazing. The dinner discussions were on topics of good/easy/hard things in the games, and I had a good discussion with a Big Huge Game’s AI programmer on RPG AI since he’s working on the unannounced title (I do wonder what it’ll be, but a larger open world is obvious. More RPG’s the better I say!).
I also talked to a few others some more, with fascinating discussions on future thoughts (expansive worlds, simulations, non-violent games, area space slicing for processor core usage, and other things), one being a developer from the recently closed Perpetual Entertainment, another doing AI facial motions development, and an indie game maker.
I’ll do a final report after Sunday since I’ve got tomorrow in San Francisco to report on stuff I do then 🙂