Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Episode 144: AI

We discuss the role of AI in PCG games, with Mark Johnson, Brian Bucklew and Tommy Thompson.

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics Discussed
  • Tommy's academic experience and his AI and Games Youtube channel
  • Brian's work on AI in Caves of Qud
  • Challenges in building complexity in AI systems and interactions between AI and procedural environments
  • Cats setting themselves on fire
  • Why AAA games avoid complex AI in favour of more restricted, scripted systems
  • Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, and why we really want an orc dating sim
  • Abstraction in large simulated systems
  • The frustration of 'realistic' AI, such as very clever enemies in Smart Kobold, and how often players prefer AI that behaves in predictable ways but feels 'authentic'
  • Player interpretation of AI behaviour - how simple AI is often seen as smarter than it is
  • The traditional approaches of behaviour trees and finite state machines (not so great for PCG)
  • Inversion of control, and why it's good for complex procedural games such as Caves of Qud
  • The future of AI - AlphaGo, deep learning, narrative generation, and the development of AI that isn't just about antagonising the player but is about generating fun experiences

Join us next time as we build up to the Seven Day Roguelike Challenge 2018 with an episode on How to Make a Polished 7DRL.


  1. I enjoyed this episode quite a lot! It's the first episode that I have actually re-listened right after finishing it in order to get the references right.

    The part I liked the most was the "inverted control" mentioned by Brian sounds like a very neat idea. (Your podcast episode has grabbed my human AI and has made me write this comment)

    He mentioned he talked about Entity-Component-Systems on CoQ
    "somewhere else". I googled a little and found this IRDC 2015 talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U03XXzcThGU

  2. There's already an Orc Dating Sim. It's called Tusks. (Not procedural, or AI related, mind. But it exists.)