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Game AI and Simulation Consulting

  • What We Do
  • Who We Are
  • Why We Do It
  • What We Believe
  • How We Work

What We Do...

AI = IA

Intrinsic Algorithm is available to help you with your game design and AI programming on an outsourced contract basis.  We provide a fresh, detailed approach to any genre of game.  We use a variety of different AI techniques to accomplish whatever task is at hand in the best combination of computing speed and realism we believe we can achieve given the style of the game.

 

 

 

Who We Are...

The consultants that drive Intrinsic Algorithm are a collection of experienced game AI professionals from all throughout the industry. They represent many shipped titles, numerous papers and articles in books such as those found in the Game Programming Gems and AI Game Programming Wisdom series of books, and lectures at conferences such as GDC and AIIDE.

Our Experience

Currently, Intrinsic Algorithm has five full-time, part-time, and advisory consultants. Together, they represent:

Additionally, through Intrinsic Algorithm's close association with the AI Game Programmers Guild, they have access to scores of industry-proven AI programmers. Many of these programmers, while not formally associated with IA, are available for spot work.

Varied Knowledge and Skills

While the Intrinsic Algorithm consultants are well versed in all types of AI, they each bring something different to the table. Some have focused on strategic AI, others on tactical issues. Some work well designing individual behaviors, others work well in constructing deep, complex systems.

By combining these people with their individual skills into one consulting group, we are able to match the consultant to the particular need of a contract. In fact, depending on the needs of the game, it is sometimes preferable to work part-time with two specialists than to settle on one generalist.

Intrinsic Algorithm will help you asses your particular needs and work to try to match the proper person to your project.

Why We Do It...

Staying on Top

"... smart opponents are more engaging than "pretty" opponents."

Artificial intelligence is becoming a serious focus in the gaming industry.  Software publishers and developers are learning what the game players have been noticing for some time - that smart opponents are more engaging than "pretty" opponents. The problem is, artificial intelligence for games is a rapidly growing field. With the dozens -- even hundreds of articles, papers, and videos being released, it is difficult for a full-time employee to stay on top of all the latest techniques.

Intrinsic Algorithm takes the time to be aware of what the "latest and greatest" approaches to game AI are. In fact, our consults are often the ones writing the papers in books such as Game Programming Gems, AI Game Programming Wisdom and giving the lectures at at conferences such as GDC and AIIDE, and elsewhere. (See "Who We Are" for a count of our associates' publications and lectures.

AIGPGAdditionally, through their association with the AI Game Programmers Guild, they have access to some of the musings of the most respected AI programmers in the game industry. By bringing our staff into your project, you are tapping into this knowledge of these techniques and the experience with how they can be applied in your game.

Bridging the Gap

"... a good AI programmer does not necessarily mean a good AI designer."

Almost by necessity, AI programmers have to be have excellent programming skills. However, a good AI programmer does not necessarily mean a good AI designer. Often, one of the major stumbling points the a studio's pursuit of a vision is the communication of ideas between designers and the AI and gameplay programmers.

Designers have a way of thinking about their work that doesn't necessarily translate well to the programming medium. They are usually not used to thinking in the rigid, procedural framework that programming code must be expressed in. Likewise, programmers may spend so much time thinking in terms of numbers, structures and procedures, that they can't quite get their heads "our of their code" to truly understand the vision of the design team. Someplace between those two disciplines is a happy medium.

The AI consultants at Intrinsic Algorithm sit in that gap -- they speak both languages. They understand the process of design as well as they do programming. They are just as comfortable sitting with a room full of designers as they are working with the technical staff. In fact, our belief is that some of the best value we offer is working closely with the design team to draw out exactly what they are looking for in their characters.

What We Believe In...

More than just moving targets...

"...there is often a disconnect between the realistic look of an enemy or environment and the awkward behavior it exhibits."

Our belief is that the next frontier in game development is the demand for more believable enemies. The industry has reached a point where there is often a disconnect between the realistic look of an enemy or environment and the way it behaves. As the graphical fidelity of characters and environments reaches a point of diminishing returns, players and reviewers alike are complaining about the behavior of enemies and allies. In response, game companies are finding themselves scrambling to solve their AI issues lest they be left behind in the race to keep the consumers happy.

Intrinsic Algorithm specializes in game balancing and mathematical modeling to make your game or simulation exciting, realistic, challenging and FUN on an ongoing basis for your players!

Intellect, Emotion and Beyond

We are also developing new algorithms that specialize in advanced behavioral modeling and decision processes that more accurately reflect those in our world. This modeling can mimic an individual processing his or her environment intellectually and emotionally or a business making large scale decisions based on many layers of input. These decision models are at the very core of Intrinsic Algorithm's focus. Some (but not all!) of these techniques can be read about in Dave Mark's book, Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI.

Additionally, if you were an All Access pass-holder at the 2009 Game Developers Conference, you can see what Dave had to say about the subject during the AI Summit as part of the panel, "Characters Welcome: Next Steps Towards Human AI" and the lecture, "Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters".

The serious side...

"There is a real thrust towards using game technology in 'serious' applications..."

More and more, institutions ranging from government to education to the mom and pop coffee shop have been turning to the "game world" for assistance in their quests to hire, train and educate their workers and students. There is a real thrust towards using game technology in "serious" applications. These may take the form of typical games or they may be more simulation based with a specific function in mind. Either way, at the very core of them, almost by definition, is a need to model the environment accurately. Intrinsic Algorithm excels in breaking down whatever process, environment, or decision into the granular pieces necessary to recreate them realistically in your simulation.

Would you like to know the best way to arrange the tables in your restaurant for optimum traffic flow? Recreate a realistic stock market full of traders each with their own ideas and interests? Perhaps you need to populate a world with simulated customers that react as predictably (or unpredictably!) as they do in the real world so your sales associates can practice their approaches? Whatever the situation, Intrinsic Algorithm can help design artificial intelligence and simulation models that fit your needs.

How We Work...

"We don't want to be your full-time AI programmer... we work our way out of a job."

We don't want to be your AI programmer. Our approach is to come in, ask you what it is you want to accomplish, advise your staff on how to approach your challenges, assist in designing the groundwork, and then gradually work our way out of a job. We want to be able to perform a knowledge transfer to make your staff self-sufficient. We want you to feel comfortable with where you are headed but still be able to say "call us if you have any questions." One producer for a major studio referred to it as "an on-site master class using our product as the demonstration model." That about sums it up.

Intrinsic Algorithm can be involved in a number of different phases of your project:

Initial Design and Pre-Production:

"The abilities of your AI can both be a limiting or enabling factor in the eventual expression of the vision of your game."

More and more, game designers and producers are realizing that AI needs to be be considered as part of their initial design. The abilities of the AI can both be a limiting or enabling factor in the eventual expression of the vision of the game. Many times the difference can be having an AI programmer or designer in the room during the initial meetings. Having a knowledgeable person in the room to simply ask "Do you realize we could do...?" can drive the game design in ways that might not have been realized by the design team.

Likewise, while no one wants to hear it, AI technology can't do everything yet. Having someone that can say "Uh... do you realize that we can't...?" can save a lot of headaches--and even money down the road. Even if the request is something that can be solved identifying these potential pitfalls early is important to having a smooth production process.

Intrinsic Algorithm has the broad base of knowledge to be that AI presence in the room. Even if we aren't the ones to solve the problems for you, we can help with the process of vetting ideas and answering the hard questions of "what can we feasibly include in our game?"

Architecture Design:

"It is also important to ensure that the infrastructure is not a distraction..."

Excellent, efficient, and flexible AI starts with the design of the AI architecture. Once the initial decisions are made and the foundation laid, it is far more difficult to change the direction of the project. It is also important to ensure that the infrastructure is not a distraction from the more important task of tweaking and tuning behaviors later on. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a technological framework that will be conducive to the rest of the project.

Intrinsic Algorithm is familiar with many different types of AI design patterns. We can help you select the one that is right for your project. Additionally, we can assist your team in the initial building of that architecture so that you can feel certain that you are building on a solid bedrock that your team will be comfortable with.

Tool Design:

Intrinsic Algorithm believes heavily in data-driven AI design. By designing tools that are simple to understand and use, the AI programmer and the game designers are enabled in such a way as to make changes to the behavior of the AI agents. This assists in all phases of development by allowing rapid testing of new features and changes as well as the final tuning and tweaking phases.

Tuning and Tweaking:

Much of the "make-or-break" in game AI happens in those final weeks and months. Turning a collection of code and numbers into behaviors can be a delicate art. Through excellent mathematical modeling practices, Intrinsic Algorithm can help your team get through those crunch periods with their existing codebase.

Please contact us if you are interested in discovering the intrinsic algorithms that you need to have in YOUR game!

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