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Feature: 'Anticipatory AI and Compelling Characters'

Today's main Gamasutra feature is from Bruce Blumberg, the leader of developer Blue Fang (Zoo Tycoon)'s Synthetic Animal Team, and former director of the Synthetic...
Today's main Gamasutra feature is from Bruce Blumberg, the leader of developer Blue Fang (Zoo Tycoon)'s Synthetic Animal Team, and former director of the Synthetic Creatures Lab at MIT, and discusses the concept of anticipatory AI in building video game characters that are both "compelling and emotional". In this extract from the introduction, Blumberg explains the thinking behind his thesis: "Much of the work in game AI has focused on the ‘big' problems: path planning, squad planning, goal-directed behavior, etc. The result is characters that are capable of increasingly intelligent behavior. However, acting intelligently and acting aware and sentient is not the same thing. But if we are to create the kind of compelling and emotional characters upon which the next generation of computer games will be based, we must solve the latter problem, namely how to build characters that seem aware and sentient. An important theme of the work of the Synthetic Characters Group at the MIT Media Lab was to understand and build the kind of AI needed to create a sense of an inner life. Our belief, presented most cogently by Damian Isla, was that this sense of an inner life arose not out of the large motion and behavior of the character but out of what Isla termed the low-level motion and behavior." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including plenty more fascinating detail on methods of differentiating AI through smaller details (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature).

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