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GDC 2004 Impressions?


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#21 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 05:05 PM

quote:
Original post by GeniX
Most of the really interesting discussion actually happened at the AI dinner :-)

That was quite enjoyable, and the organisers should be thanked again. I hope next years venue proves just as good.



regards,

GeniX

www.cryo-genix.net


Thank you! As one of the organizers I appreciate that...the dinners are just plain fun and it''s a pleasure to put them together each year.




Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


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#22 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 05:09 PM

quote:
Original post by GeniX
While I enjoyed the roundtables I attended as a whole, I found the AI ones to be frustrating.

It seemed a lot of the things being said were argumentative, and its not really a practical medium to hold debates as such. Well at least for the size of the roundtables.

Perhaps the smoothest roundtable I attended was one on multiplayer tips & tricks of the trade.

- - - -

My impression is similar to InnocuousFox''s regarding the level of knowledge about AI that attendees had. Except I would say that of those who spoke, only two or three seemed to have studied AI in-depth. However I think it paints too bleak a picture to say that the roundtables attracted a lot of noobs.

Rather they attracted a lot of people who weren''t up for discussions, and so listened instead. I wouldn''t guess where they are at in the AI arena.

Although perhaps the environment would have been friendlier to discussion if a couple of the more outspoken individuals didn''t dominate the floorspace and circumvent the moderator in acquiring the floorspace to speak.




regards,

GeniX

www.cryo-genix.net



I have to agree wholeheartedly and as one of the moderators I''ll even come right out and say it--I was dang close to losing control of the discussion a couple of times, especially that first day. I apologize for that; the folks involved were , as you say, rather vocal ! I haven''t usually let that happen in the past, and I promise that should we do the roundtables again I''ll keep a tighter rein on things.

That said I thought the roundtables were fascinating this year...we really covered a lot of topics. The potential of hardware actually hitting the market was interesting, and I was quietly surprised at the lack of the middleware discussions that there have been in the past. Either developers are evaluating the products out there and keeping it quiet, or they''re just not interested at present.....






Ferretman

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From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


#23 GeniX   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 05:44 PM

I attended your tutorial, Ferretman, and will agree there were some very interesting things mentioned.

I dont know if there has been a thread around here on it, so I will mention it anyways. Those interested in the AI hardware should keep tabs on http://www.aiseek.com for when it comes online.

I am most interested to see how they get around some of the obvious implementation issues - are there many AI algorithms that can be abstracted enough to be a useable generic solution across the board?

Some objections were cited by one of the more vocal participants in Ferretmans tutorial to a representative of this Israeli group doing the AI acceleration hardware. Amoung these was the need to transfer info to the card in great quantities, and then retrieve the info at a fast enough speed. At the time I remember thinking that this objection had sufficient grounds to probably render the hardware impractical on current systems.

However, I have recently been awakened to the up-coming PCI-Express technology. With some of the stats given for the x16 slots (initially one on a board - for the gfx card), I dont think the data transfer for and AI accelerator is an issue (provided it can be accessed via an x16 slot).

Anyhow, I am quite keen to see what solution is proposed. Whatever it is, it will be slow to catch on if anything comes of it. The industry (heres my great generalisation) seems to be quick to optimise and improve hardware solutions, but slow to welcome new ones.




regards,

GeniX

www.cryo-genix.net

#24 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 10:41 AM

quote:
Original post by Ferretman
I was quietly surprised at the lack of the middleware discussions that there have been in the past. Either developers are evaluating the products out there and keeping it quiet, or they''re just not interested at present.....



I wonder if there would be more discussion on the middleware topic if there were more producers or leads in the room rather than AI programmers (who might feel as though the advent of AI middleware could hurt their careers).



#25 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 12:34 PM

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I wonder if there would be more discussion on the middleware topic if there were more producers or leads in the room rather than AI programmers (who might feel as though the advent of AI middleware could hurt their careers).

I disagree. I think producers and leads may be more enthusiastic, but with less understanding as to the feasibility, that enthusiasm may be ill-placed. The AI programmers would enjoy new toys, I''m sure - especially those that got rid of some of the redundant burden and allowed them to do "neat stuff" instead. However, the AI programmers are first going to think pragmatically about "is this really going to handle what I need it to handle without causing me to comprimise in order to utilize it?"



Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#26 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 05:47 PM

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Ferretman
I was quietly surprised at the lack of the middleware discussions that there have been in the past. Either developers are evaluating the products out there and keeping it quiet, or they''re just not interested at present.....



I wonder if there would be more discussion on the middleware topic if there were more producers or leads in the room rather than AI programmers (who might feel as though the advent of AI middleware could hurt their careers).




Well, it''s a good question, but honestly we''ve had quite a few of both in the room in the past. My experience (and this is not intended as a slam on anybody) is that producers don''t know enough to know if a package would be useful or not, and that developers essentially have to be convinced that any learning curve is worth the time/cost/energy.

A couple of years back the potential of middleware was hotly discussed (just look at my previous roundtable reports) and eagerly debated, but I think that the first generation of middleware fell a little flat with most developers. Since then there have been some companies come and go, and the current crop of toolkits (which Eric Dybsand did a fantastic job of reviewing a while back in Game Developer) have matured a great deal.

My general impression, when the subject came up, is that most developers who had experimented with middleware weren''t particularly interested in the current crop--it will take somebody new, and/or somebody with some academic background, to take the reins on this one.

Development of hardware and/or some common standards would help a lot too, come to think of it.




Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


#27 Chris Hargrove   Members   -  Reputation: 256

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 10:21 PM

I went to many of the AI roundtables this year, and was admittedly one of the "more vocal" people that some of you are referring to. Without being accused of wanting to "take over" this thread too, I would like to offer two small points in self-defense.

One, it is the roundtable moderator''s job to rein in the conversation if he/she thinks it is getting out of hand; any failure to do so can easily make the participants think that everything is going just fine.

Two, even with our very vocal minority, there were plenty of situations in every single session I was in where the conversation significantly lulled. Any of the non-vocal majority who wanted to jump in at those times could have easily done so, but for the most part they did not. Heck, they didn''t even have to jump in; just raising a hand would''ve sufficed, but that still didn''t happen most of the time. If most people want to spend most of their time at a roundtable just listening, that''s fine, but that means that a few people have to do a whole lot of the talking to make up for it, and that''s exactly what happens. Roundtables are discussions, not lectures.

Next time, if you don''t want only a small number of folks holding the conch all the time, raise your hand and hold it for yourself once in a while.


#28 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 04:28 AM

Hey Chris... good to see you here.

One thing you said at a roundtable that rang a bell with me is when you brought up the 4 types of intelligence (strategic, tactical, logistical and diplomatic). Someone knows their personality and temprament theory, eh? Straight out of David Keirsey''s work!

I actually submitted a proposal for a lecture that covered personality types and game design. It didn''t get through... this year!

@Ferretman... have you guys floated the idea of having an all day AI roundtable? There is far too much to discuss in one hour. We are usually just getting going by the end of the hour... and then the next day there is a different mix of people. If you were to disquise it as an all-day tutorial, it would be great. Break the day up into some different sections by type of AI, select some people to do some presentations on cutting edge work they have done, then open it up to discussion for a while on that topic. That way, there is some structure to the day and it doesn''t just wander... but it isn''t strictly a series of lectures or a panel discussion either.

By making it a tutorial (as defined by GDC), there is an extra cost for attending it - but that also makes sure that it is the attendees are either real AI programmers or people who are serious about getting into it.

Damnit... we all bitch about how AI isn''t getting the attention it deserves - and yet the graphics guys get all day sessions to do stuff. Why not the AI folks?

Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#29 Timkin   Members   -  Reputation: 864

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 02:23 PM

Very good idea Dave. It might be better though to make the format more of a conference workshop than a tutorial. A tutorial normally has the expectation of interactive learning, directed by one or more tutors, on pre-defined problems. That might be exactly what you were thinking, but since many of the attendees would have little or no implementation experience, it might prove a fruitless endeavour...and I don''t think you meant you actually wanted to teach techniques.

A workshop on the other hand is typically intended as a forum in which people can present information and then this information can be discussed by the group as a whole; a sort of ''think tank''.

I would suggest - for an all day workshop - inviting ~6 people to present information on advanced problems in Game AI and possible solutions they have considered for these problems. Have each speaker present about 15-20 minutes on the problem and the solutions they have considered (along with the problems they found with the solution methods) and then have about half an hour discussion on each problem. Break the day up into 4 sessions along the lines of

Start 9:00 am
Session 1: 1.5 hours (2 speakers)
Morning Tea: .25 hours
Session 2: 1.5 hours (2 speakers)
Lunch: 1.0 hours
Session 3: 1.5 hours (2 speakers)
Afternoon Tea: 0.25 hours
Session 4: 1.5 hours (further open floor discussion of any of the days topics or anything not covered)*
Finish: 4:30

*This gives people the chance to raise questions or provide ideas after having had some further time to think about the problem.

Timkin

#30 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 03:10 PM

I was using the word "tutorial" in the way the GDC uses it: a full day session on one of the first two days of the conference. It is not meant to imply format. However, it would be more like a workshop sort of environment or simply a very large roundtable. There could be general interest periods and then smaller, genre-specific sections such as the guys already do now.

Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#31 GeniX   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 06:44 PM

Well I suggested to Steve at GDC that at least a 2 or 3 hour would be good. Full day sounds even better

Perhaps if the groups get too large (even 15 active speakers may be a bit much for a good discussion) that the groups break up into smaller work-groups.

- - -

Might be fun to have an ''It Came From GDC'' paper written after each GDC describing briefly a wacky new idea that comes out of discussion groups.



regards,

GeniX

www.cryo-genix.net

#32 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 04:29 AM

quote:
Original post by GeniX
Well I suggested to Steve at GDC...
Damnit! I''m trying to figure out who you are! This is killing me!



Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#33 BrianL   Members   -  Reputation: 530

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 05:57 AM

Dave - I think his name is in the copyright notice on the bottom of his webpage. The URL is in his sig.

#34 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:16 AM

Yeah, I went there in an effort to find out... but I am horrible with names. I would likely recognize the face. *sigh*

Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#35 Chris Hargrove   Members   -  Reputation: 256

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:33 AM

quote:
One thing you said at a roundtable that rang a bell with me is when you brought up the 4 types of intelligence (strategic, tactical, logistical and diplomatic). Someone knows their personality and temprament theory, eh? Straight out of David Keirsey''s work!

Cool, someone else here has read Keirsey. Yeah, I''ve done a bit of research into psychology and personality/temperament stuff; it''s a definite benefit when designing believable game AI.

quote:
I actually submitted a proposal for a lecture that covered personality types and game design. It didn''t get through... this year!

Keep trying; if it doesn''t make it on a game design track then a programming track might be another avenue to pursue. It''s definitely something I''d attend, that''s for sure.


#36 IADaveMark   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2325

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:08 AM

quote:
Original post by Chris Hargrove
Cool, someone else here has read Keirsey. Yeah, I''ve done a bit of research into psychology and personality/temperament stuff; it''s a definite benefit when designing believable game AI.
A bit of reading? Laurie (my wife) gave me ENTP license plates for my birthday - I responded a month later with INFJ ones for her. Yeah, we know it inside out.



Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

#37 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 05:17 PM

quote:
Original post by Chris Hargrove
I went to many of the AI roundtables this year, and was admittedly one of the "more vocal" people that some of you are referring to. Without being accused of wanting to "take over" this thread too, I would like to offer two small points in self-defense.

One, it is the roundtable moderator''s job to rein in the conversation if he/she thinks it is getting out of hand; any failure to do so can easily make the participants think that everything is going just fine.

Two, even with our very vocal minority, there were plenty of situations in every single session I was in where the conversation significantly lulled. Any of the non-vocal majority who wanted to jump in at those times could have easily done so, but for the most part they did not. Heck, they didn''t even have to jump in; just raising a hand would''ve sufficed, but that still didn''t happen most of the time. If most people want to spend most of their time at a roundtable just listening, that''s fine, but that means that a few people have to do a whole lot of the talking to make up for it, and that''s exactly what happens. Roundtables are discussions, not lectures.

Next time, if you don''t want only a small number of folks holding the conch all the time, raise your hand and hold it for yourself once in a while.




Chris makes a good point. I think that many of the folks who are new to the roundtables and/or GDC don''t feel like they can hop in enough. When I''ve talked to them offline they usually are so new that they don''t want to "seem dumb" or "ask stupid questions", but that''s part of the point of a roundtable of course--to talk about things. There really aren''t any dumb questions, IMO.

I didn''t really think you got too out of line or anything Chris--your points were all good and thoughtful. As Dave says you brought up some great topics. Heck, I had one session a couple of years back where virtually all the talking was done by Will Wright...and frankly nobody cared, because everybody wanted to hear about The Sims .





Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


#38 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 05:30 PM

quote:
Original post by GeniX
Well I suggested to Steve at GDC that at least a 2 or 3 hour would be good. Full day sounds even better

Perhaps if the groups get too large (even 15 active speakers may be a bit much for a good discussion) that the groups break up into smaller work-groups.




We did indeed talk about it, and several folks besides yourself suggested it, as it turned out.

While I think an all day session would be too much in a roundtable format for the reasons Dave mentions, doing a half-day session could work with a break or two in between. Alexander Nareyek has done very well with 2-hour sessions to work through the IGDA AI SIG issues; perhaps we can do this too. I'll talk to the guys about it.

What other suggestions do you guys have? This is a great time, frankly, to consider changes to the way we are doing the roundtables.


quote:


Might be fun to have an 'It Came From GDC' paper written after each GDC describing briefly a wacky new idea that comes out of discussion groups.

GeniX

www.cryo-genix.net



We've sort of done that with our Moderator's reports after each GDC. Neil and Eric have actually already done theirs for the 2004 sessions (they're on my site, while mine is still in progress.

A couple of years back we were talking heavily about doing a "Tales from the Roundtable" book on things that have cropped up over the years...perhaps it's time to consider this again? Would anybody out there be interested in something like that?




Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


[edited by - Ferretman on April 20, 2004 12:40:34 AM]

#39 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 05:36 PM

quote:
Original post by InnocuousFox

I actually submitted a proposal for a lecture that covered personality types and game design. It didn''t get through... this year!




I didn''t know you submitted a proposal like that, Dave--did you mention that to me? If you did I apologize for spacing it...sounds like a neat idea to me. You should resubmit it again for next year!

quote:


@Ferretman ... have you guys floated the idea of having an all day AI roundtable? There is far too much to discuss in one hour. We are usually just getting going by the end of the hour... and then the next day there is a different mix of people. If you were to disquise it as an all-day tutorial, it would be great. Break the day up into some different sections by type of AI, select some people to do some presentations on cutting edge work they have done, then open it up to discussion for a while on that topic. That way, there is some structure to the day and it doesn''t just wander... but it isn''t strictly a series of lectures or a panel discussion either.




My biggest problem with an all-day thing like you suggest is that it gets awfully big. The IGDA sessions where people break up into a dozen sub-groups comes to mind, and I''m not sure all that much ever really gets accomplished there. Still, the focus would be different for our stuff so that''s not without merit...we''d be talking about all kinds of stuff not trying to formulate policy.

Question: Are there enough AI people in the industry to reasonably drive one of these all-day things? A lot of folks don''t show up for the first couple of days so I''m worried about attendance....

quote:

By making it a tutorial (as defined by GDC), there is an extra cost for attending it - but that also makes sure that it is the attendees are either real AI programmers or people who are serious about getting into it.



True...good points.

quote:

Damnit... we all bitch about how AI isn''t getting the attention it deserves - and yet the graphics guys get all day sessions to do stuff. Why not the AI folks?




I think there''s a lot of value in what you''re suggesting, though we''d definitely need to line up a couple more folks to help with the break-into-groups moderation. Hmmmmmm.....




Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com


#40 Ferretman   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 05:37 PM

quote:
Original post by InnocuousFox
quote:
Original post by GeniX
Well I suggested to Steve at GDC...
Damnit! I''m trying to figure out who you are! This is killing me!



Heheheheheh...I know who he is....





Ferretman

ferretman@gameai.com

From the High Mountains of Colorado

GameAI.Com





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