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Q: Who are the brains behind Intense AI and do they have a social life?
A: Intense AI was made by me, since Iím the only programmer in our team. It was an exhausting project that I would never, ever would be willing to start over from scratch. It is safe to say that Intense AI has cost me a girlfriend, my good grades, going out at nights, going out in general, and in a sumÖ a life.
Q: How long did it take you to create the AI code?
A: I wrote the first line of code for Intense AI 7 years ago, when we were making our first Gamestudio project called Vain and was of courseÖ. an MMORPG :).
After finally giving up on it 4 years later, I decided to minimize the losses by selling the best parts of our code to the A6 community. One year later, I released Intense Dialogues, and begun working with Intense AI, using a part of the Vain AI which I was terribly proud of. It took me until now, to turn this into a fully customizable generic AI that will work for every game without any programming.
Q: How much time did it take you to set up the Motherís Den game demo using Intense AI and Intense dialogues?
A: I was responsible for writing the tools: Intense AI, Intense Dialogues etc and had generally nothing to do with Motherís Den itself. Brad, aka Rafu, was the one who produced the game entirely, by hiring artists, writers, and utilizing my tools in order to put the game together. He started working on Motherís Den on mid October, so thatís about two and a half months from now. The thing with Brad though, is that heís an extremely picky perfectionist, and would constantly ask me to add more features into my tools, in order to create a quality game.
Since we got Motherís Den posted on the forums, we have been contacted by publishers about turning Motherís Den into a full game with more levels and bad guys. Brad now estimates that with IntenseX finished, he will need about one week or less in order to put together each new level, provided he has all the artwork at hand.
Q: What path finding techniques are you using for the allied AIs?
A: Pathfinding has always been my biggest nightmare in any kind of game I would make. After I made the first steps with Intense AI, I decided to take about 5 months off, which I dedicated entirely to making a fully flexible Pathfinding tool, which I later gave away to the community. It uses Points of Visibility as a search space, which means the level designers scatter nodes everywhere in the level. The limitation is 999 nodes, which is enough to cover the most gigantic levels. The Motherís Den level used about 200 nodes.
After the nodes have been placed, a graph generator will automatically create any connections between every pair of nodes, by simulating an entity <walking> from one node to the other, rather than using a single trace. This technique guarantees thereís a ďwalkableĒ surface between every two nodes, and also that this surface has enough room for the entity to walk through, and determines if any obstacles between the two nodes are climbable, or impassable. The results were very satisfying, and also won me first prize on the AUM 2006 Spring competition. Apart from that, Intense AI also uses an obstacle avoidance technique using repulsion vectors, in order to dodge dynamic obstacles, like other Npcís, barrels and crates.
Q: Is it really possible to use your AI and create an entire game without writing a single line of AI code?
A: Yes, but I wonít be selling Intense AI as a stand-alone product. It will be bundled along with the rest of the tools Iíve made and will be parts of the IntenseX package, which will make it able for someone to create an entire game without writing a single line of code at all. Inside Motherís Den demo, you will be able to see a crate that has the name ďT.U.S.C.Ē drawn on it. That was put there for a reason :).
Q: What are the limitations of your AI system? How many enemies can we have in the level? And how big should a typical level be?
A: Iím a big fan of flexibility, and this could be one of the reasons Intense AI took so long to be made. IntenseX will be sold under four different versions (just like Gstudio has Standard, Extra, Commercial, Professional), but even the cheapest version will offer an unlimited number of enemies and level size. Obviously, since IntenseX is created entirely by c-script, and c-script is not an object oriented language, there are always limits coming from fixed array sizes that will constrain me, but I donít consider 999 enemies per level as a limit.
Q: Can you enumerate for us some of the strong selling points of your AI system?
A: Mainly, being able to put your game ideas directly into play. A6 does promise the same thing, and its possible to do it using templates 6. IntenseX only makes it easier, and the results will be as good as in modern games.
The AI itself is a sub-part of the AI used in F.E.A.R. That game has been nominated for best AI ever in numerous gaming sites, and uses radical technology that will be used in most of next-generation games. The creator of the AI of FEAR is Jeff Orkin, and has made the technology that he used openly available to the public. To understand how much Fear(and Intense AI) is ahead from ordinary AI systems, Iíll tell you they use A* for Decision Making instead of a finite state machine.
Furthermore, I will stand by my product for a very long time offering support and constant updates and itís my dream that IntenseX will be the beginning of a great number of new projects that will actually finish and get published. Thatís something that is not very common in A6 projects these days.
Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.
A: Hereís a story insteadÖ Read it carefully.
A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the Sensei
"What do you wish from me?" the master asked.
"I wish to be your student and become the finest kareteka in the land," the boy replied. "How long must I study?"
"Ten years at least," the master answered.
"Ten years is a long time," said the boy. "What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?"
"Twenty years," replied the master.
"Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?"
"Thirty years," was the master's reply.
"How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?" the boy asked.
"The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."
Thank you, Aris.