User-generated content is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs, art, music, and every other type of digital media on the Social Web. Games are no exception. From strategy games to immersive virtual worlds, game players are increasingly engaged in creating and sharing nearly all aspects of the gaming experience: maps, quests, artifacts, avatars, clothing, even games themselves. Yet, there is one aspect of computer games that is not created and shared by game players: the AI. Building sophisticated personalities, behaviors, and strategies requires expertise in both AI and programming, and remains outside the purview of the end user.
To understand why Game AI is hard, we need to understand how it works. AI can take digital entertainment beyond scripted interactions into the arena of truly interactive systems that are responsive, adaptive, and intelligent. I discuss examples of AI techniques for character-level AI (in embedded NPCs, for example) and game-level AI (in the drama manager, for example). These types of AI enhance the player experience in different ways. The techniques are complicated and are usually implemented by expert game designers.
I argue that User-Generated AI is the next big frontier in the rapidly growing Social Gaming area. From Sims to Risk to World of Warcraft, end users want to create, modify, and share not only the appearance but the “minds” of their characters. I present my recent research on intelligent technologies to assist Game AI authors, and show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without programming. I conclude with some thoughts about the future of AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.CMU Robotics & Intelligence Seminar, September 28, 2009
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. MIT Media Lab Colloquium, January 25, 2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Stanford Media X Philips Seminar, February 1, 2010
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Pixar Research Seminar, February 2, 2010
Try it yourself:
- The social gaming application is at: http://MakeMePlayMe.com and is free to play!
- The AI engine (based on real-time case-based reasoning) is open source for non-commercial use: https://sourceforge.net/projects/darmok2
- Games are at: https://sourceforge.net/projects/mmpmgames and it’s easy to contribute your own.