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|Session Name:||AI Positioning and Spatial Evaluation: A Primer|
|Company Name(s):||The Molasses Flood|
|Track / Format:||Programming|
|Overview:||Among the most basic decisions an AI needs to make is simply where to stand at any given moment. Whether the AI is friend or foe, positioning is one of the AI properties that is most directly experienced by a player -- it makes the difference between a character that stands brazenly on an open battlefield and one that cowers behind cover at the first sign of trouble. Like many aspects of behavior, position selection is one best put in the hands of Design, so that the best set of positioning policies can be crafted to support the intended gameplay. In this talk we will give an introduction to the topic of spatial evaluation -- the approach of evaluating individual candidate locations, and choosing the best one. We will discuss the types of inputs that go into such systems, ways to perform batch or pre-computation to lessen the load at run-time, and most importantly, how to expose such a system in a expressively meaningful way to designers. We will also present examples from current and classic games of different approaches to spatial evaluation and positioning, and give a few live demos of a spatial positioning prototype built for The Molasses Flood's upcoming game The Flame in the Flood.|