Sunday, July 3, 2011

Paris Game/AI Conference 2011 Slides and Demo

The Paris Game/AI Conference is over and it was a blast! There was just so much interesting stuff in there that my head was just about to burst. I really like the shooter symposium where handful of studios gave microtalks (about 15mins each) on similar subjects followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. It was really inspiring to see different ways to solve similar problems.

My talk this year was about some work I did for Killzone3. I made a handful of tools for them to improve their AI level design workflow. In my talk I concentrated on how to automatically build cover annotation for the player. Killzone has this mechanic where the player can latch to a cover and slide along it. AI cover locations are discrete points are explained and were deducted from the player cover.

The cover locations are found using voxelization and tracing the contours of voxelized areas. Then the contours are sampled to see if they are close to a wall, and further the wall height is calculated and cover planes are build from that.

I also explained how this idea can be further expanded to automatically find jump-links and other non-locomotion navigation annotation.

Here's the link to the slides and demo (with source, sorry only OSX binaries):

I think the presentation did not go as well as last year. I tried to fix some problems I had last year, but ended up failing in some things I think nailed last year.

Firstly, last year I had two topics, and it seems I was only able to get the second topic through. So my idea for this year was to present one battle-proven practical idea and show how to vary it. Hopefully with enough details that people can implement it and maybe fond other uses for the technique too. I think the scope was good this year.

Secondly, even if I think my presentation last year was cool (and I got a lot of good feedback from it), I think it was a distraction. So this year I tried to simplify my slides to bare bones. The regular slides format does not work very well the way I like to explain things. I find it much easier to show different debug renderings in a demo and talk on top of that.

I horrible mistake I made this year was that I did not have enough time to practice the presentation out loud, in front of other people. I chopped some topics, since my practice runs were always over time. During the presentation I was super nervous because I did not have good confidence on time, and I ended up rushing through the slides super fast.

Lessons learned, I hope my next presentation will be much better :)