Mind the Gap

I am on a GDC panel this year on the overlaps, conflicts, and parallels between AI and game design. We’ve got a mix of designers (Alex and Josh) and AI programmers (Adam and Tara), so it should be an interesting conversation. Here’s the info:

(307) AI and Designers: Mind the Gap
Speaker: Soren Johnson (Designer & Programmer, EA Maxis), Alex Hutchinson (Creative Director, Electronic Arts Montreal), Joshua Mosqueira (Creative Director, Ubisoft Montreal), Adam Russell (Lecturer, Derby University), Tara Teich (Programmer, Double Fine)
Date/Time: Monday (March 23, 2009)   3:00pm — 4:00pm
Location (room): Room 2018, West Hall
Track: AI Summit
Format: 60-minute Panel
Experience Level: Intermediate

Session Description
Game design and AI development have always been close relatives. Indeed, defining a line that separates the two is almost impossible as one cannot exist with the other – a feature that the AI cannot handle, for example, is worthless, and the behavior of the AI itself is core to a game’s pacing, challenge, and feel. Thus, almost every decision an AI programmer makes is essentially a gameplay decision, yet AI developers are neither hired as nor trained to be designers. On the other hand, pure designers are often at the mercy of AI programmers to turn their broad strokes concerning AI behavior into reality and have few options if the outcome is wrong. In the panel, we will explore ways to manage this gap between designers and AI programmers to help establish better practices for this important (and inevitable) collaboration.

3 thoughts on “Mind the Gap

  1. Soren, you forgot to mention why you are standing at the lectern instead of sitting at the table for that hour. You are both programmer and designer!


    GDC is now video taping the sessions. It will be like how they have run the audio in the past. It should be available for purchase about a week after the conference. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

  2. Pingback: DESIGNER NOTES » Blog Archive » AI and Designers Discussion

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