Magazine article AI Magazine

The Ninth Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE): A Report

Magazine article AI Magazine

The Ninth Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE): A Report

Article excerpt

After many years of being held at Stanford University, this year's AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) was hosted by Northeastern University, courtesy of the NEU Game Design Program. One hundred forty-four participants from 11 countries attended AIIDE 2013. The main program included 16 oral paper presentations, 16 posters, and 3 demonstrations, with an acceptance rate of 27 percent for the main research track. Submissions were reviewed by four program committee members using a new strengths/weaknesses rating system designed to select papers with high potential to influence future game developers. In addition to the standard research track, authors had the option to report on commercial game development experiences by submitting abstracts to the Practitioner track. New to 2013, the conference featured a Playable Experiences track for showcasing innovative AI techniques in complete, polished games or artworks. Submissions to this track were reviewed on the basis of an interactive media demonstration and an abstract; creators of accepted playable experiences were invited to participate in a panel on the topic.

One of the highlights of the conference is the invited speaker series. This year AIIDE hosted four invited speakers representing veterans of the computer game industry and prominent academic game researchers. The year 2013 also marked the fourth year of the AIIDE StarCraft AI competition. This competition is designed to foster AI research applied to real-time strategy games by evaluating hots competing head to head in a full game of StarCraft: BroodWar.

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Program Details

Workshops were held on the two days prior to the start of the main conference, giving attendees a chance to hold in-depth discussions on topics that complement the themes of the main conference program. Short recaps of the workshops were presented during the first day of the main conference. This year the workshops included the First Workshop on AI and Game Aesthetics (1 day), the Second Workshop on AI in the Game Design Process (1 day), the Second International Workshop on Musical Metacreation (2 day), the Sixth Workshop on Intelligent Narrative Technologies (2 day). A separate report on these workshops also appears in this issue of AI Magazine.

In total, 53 papers were presented at the four workshops, with a high percentage of the main conference attendees opting to attend the workshops. The overall workshop program was very successful due to the hard work of the chairs and cochairs of all workshops, their respective program committees, and attendees. The organizers of the Workshop on AI and Game Aesthetics hosted an evening event for the whole community (DAGGER: Game Dev and Academic Demo Night). The purpose of this social gathering was to give game developers and academic researchers an opportunity to demonstrate their work and play games together.

The main program started on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, with a fascinating keynote talk by John Abercrombie (Irrational Games) about his work as team lead developing the AI character Elizabeth for Bioshock Infinite. His presentation focused on the myriad design decisions required to create a non-player character (NPC) sidekick that is both interesting and reliable. Through movement, gesture, and utterance, the Elizabeth NPC subtly draws the player's attention to useful clues and helpfully passes items to the player like a real human team member. The talk was followed by paper presentations on the problem of human modeling. Human modeling encompasses a diverse set of issues ranging from recreating aspects of human behavior within a game AI to learning models of player activity from game logs.

The afternoon opened with the second invited talk, which was delivered by Richard Evans (Linden Labs). Evans spoke about his work as cocreator of the Versu interactive storytelling system. …

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