AI Interface Standards: Open Beta
A Roundtable Discussion of the 2004 Game Developers Conference

Moderated by Alexander Nareyek, Nick Porcino, John Morrison, Gregory Paull, Syrus Mesdaghi, Nathan Combs, and John J. Kelly

San Carlos II, Hilton, San Jose, CA, USA
March 26, 2004, 9-11:30am



AI interface standards? What are you talking about? OpenGL or DirectX for artificial intelligence?
Sort of! About 70 experts from game studios, academia and middleware companies came together in an IGDA committee and had their heads smoking on this topic for nearly two years.
Alexander Nareyek (Carnegie Mellon University), chairperson of the committee, and Nick Porcino (LucasArts Entertainment), member of the steering committee, will provide you with an introduction on what you can expect from the standards. Draft documents will be distributed and shortly after GDC, version 1.0 will be finalized. Thus, your final possibility to intervene!
So we are going to have highly interesting discussions like if the third argument of the pathfinding API should better be a pointer and such things?
Not at all. We will give an insight in and discuss the general workings, functionality provided etc. Big picture, baby! Here is what you can expect:
  • Why are AI interface standards necessary
  • What's the benefit for you if you use the standards
  • API architecture overview: Modules for world interfacing, pathfinding, steering, finite state machines, rule-based systems and goal-oriented action planning
  • A brief guided tour through the single modules and their concepts and functionality
  • A look into the future
  • And discussions with your feedback of course
All these abstract standardization things. Do you really want me to understand all this?
Don't worry - we will walk you through nice and easy application examples throughout the presentation. However, as I said, we want to focus on communicating the big picture. You can always follow up the details in the draft and on the web.
Hmm... Can you tell me in 154 words what all those standards are good for?
Sure! Nowadays, game AI developers rarely have a chance to work on higher-level AI, like believable and interesting NPCs that can learn, have emotions and complex reasoning and interaction skills, or an automated story-telling system that adapts to a player's interests. Much more likely, an AI developer will spend her/his time struggling with low-level pathfinding details.
We believe that the next qualitative jump for artificial intelligence techniques in games will be dependent on appropriate interfaces for in-house or external AI middleware, unburdening game AI developers to worry about low-level procedures, and enabling them to focus on higher-level creative AI tasks. To make such interfaces and the related middleware feasible, the development of standards for game AI interfaces is necessary, such that the interfaces do not only match a single game but are applicable in a wider scope. Standards in this area may also provide a basis for AI hardware components in the long run.
I'm impressed!
Right so!
Will you also distribute free T-shirts and finger food?



(Please follow this link for a report on the meeting)



AI Interface Standards Committee
International Game Developers Association
Roundtable of 2003
Roundtable of 2002


Last update:
April 15, 2004 by Alexander Nareyek