Video: Ellie's buddy AI in The Last Of Us

Naughty Dog's Max Dyckhoff runs down the systems that make Ellie act the way she does and explained why the team chose them -- as well as when they chose to break them to make the game more enjoyable.
"If the buddy could jump out of cover and give you away, you could see the YouTubers saying 'fuck you, Ellie.' At that point, we'd broken the relationship between Ellie and the player, and that's something we never wanted to do."
- Naughty Dog engineer Max Dyckhoff explains the design decisions that made Ellie invisible during GDC 2014. Max Dyckhoff is part of the Naughty Dog engineering team that brought Ellie to life in The Last Of Us, and as part of the GDC 2014 Programming track he took the stage to explain how his team pulled it off. During his talk, Dyckhoff ran down the systems that make Ellie act the way she does and explained why the team chose them -- as well as when they chose to break them to make the game more fun to play. Dyckhoff also took time to highlight some of Ellie’s AI shortcomings in very plain, non-specialized language in an effort to ensure that developers all disciplines could walk away with a better understanding of how buddy AI in The Last Of Us ticks. We've gone ahead and taken the liberty of embedding the free video of "Ellie: Buddy AI in The Last Of Us" above, but you can also watch it here on the GDC Vault.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support. Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

Latest Jobs


Hybrid, Cambridge, MA or Chicago, IL
Quality Assurance Lead

Bladework games

Remote (United States)
Senior Gameplay Engineer

High Fidelity, Inc.

Game Interaction Designer

Fred Rogers Productions

Hybrid (424 South 27th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Producer - Games & Websites
More Jobs   


Explore the
Advertise with
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Advertise with

Game Developer

Engage game professionals and drive sales using an array of Game Developer media solutions to meet your objectives.

Learn More
Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more