GDC08 – Thursday

Thursday was a bit more hectic then I had planned – I also started late from a late Wednesday night.


So it started with Soren Johnson with Playing to Lose: AI and “Civilization” at 9AM. An interesting discussion of the techniques used in the AI to both simplify it and to make it more fun for players, and the reasons for making it not just unbeatable. I will put up the notes I made (along with other ones for other sessions) when I get back to England, but his slides minus some additions are on his site at the moment.


Deciding to get there early, the keynote was at 10:30 – by futurist/inventor Ray Kurzweil entitled The Next 20 Years of Gaming. This was, for me, a rather exciting look at how processing and technological advance is logarithmic and so, in the near future even, we’ll end up with more and more processing power, in a smaller space – which can only be a good thing for us greedy AI programmers 🙂


After meeting up for lunch with David Hayward, I went to Streaming Open World Pathfinding by the entertaining Quinn Dunki. A great look at an entirely nonstandard pathfinding system for a huge open world, using a mixture of bounding “fences” and raytracing, and navigational elipses for local avoidance. Interesting to note no NPC collision detection apart from with the player since it works so well (and again, notes from this I’ll get online next week).


At 2:30, I made it finally to Preserving Games: Saving the Past and Present Now hosted of course by Henry Lowood, who I finally met in person (I also got to meet the great Benj Edwards from Vintage Computing!). A great roundtable with all manner of interested people and some historical figures too 🙂 – great topics brought up and I made a large collection of notes which I will likely formalise for the Preservation SIG. I should have took more pictures however, curse me!

I actually got a break at 4PM, since I was discussing things with Henry for a while by the time I got to the Chills and Thrills: Undefined Behavior in C++ lecture, it was full, with a long queue, and hadn’t even started (it was in a small theatre, gah). I decided to get some writing done (and did Wednesday’s post among other things) with my laptop.


Finally, at 4:30 was Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 2), where it was much better with two rooms. I decided to notetake in the “First person, sports and action games”, and the other room was “Real time strategy, roleplaying and similar games”. This was not just because Dave Mark went to the other and recorded it 😉 but because I was interested to hear of the agent problems rather then perhaps the strategic AI, since I possibly know more about the strategic side. A lot of great problems raised, questioned and in some cases answered, and I’ll get the notes to Neil when I get back.


In the evening, got some food and had discussions with some of the GDC scholars at the Metreon (I know some were designing a cool sounding game 🙂 ), then later went to the Suite night and mingled a tiny bit (not enough, but oh well), then failed to get into the CCP party with a fellow scholar Ryan (full at 9:15, when it opened at 9!) so had what was a more early night then Wednesday – I fell asleep with some of my clothes still on to be honest, I was that exhausted!

Some other random pictures: