Sure Footing @ AIIDE 2015

tommyTommy: Supreme Science Overlord

We’ve had a busy little period for Sure Footing: first demonstrating at the GameCity festival, followed by an invited talk at PROCJAM about all that PCG stuff we’ve been doing, but this was a little different.  Last week, Sure Footing was showcased at the Playable Experiences track of the AAAI conference on Artificial Intelligence for Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) at UC Santa Cruz, California.

Sure Footing makes it all the way to Santa Cruz, California (and on a Mac too!)

Sure Footing makes it all the way to Santa Cruz, California (and on a Mac too!)

To explain the rationale for this is to highlight a little of what I do when I’m not working at Table Flip: I’m a computer science lecturer and AI researcher with a specific interest in its adoption within games.  I’m a published author of several papers on the subject area and typically attend conferences both in the UK and overseas disseminating my research and learning about what others are achieving within our academic community.  It’s quite a privilege to meet and discuss with so many interesting people (which is largely the reason why things like AI and Games exist).

Now for me, Sure Footing is just one of many projects I am working on and it does carry some research merit behind it.  We’ve been reluctant to showcase anything we’re doing in Sure Footing until we had a base of interesting content that is worth discussing academically.  With our recent PROCJAM talk, we’re now comfortable in showcasing not just what our AI/PCG system does, but also to let people try and play the game themselves.  As such, we submitted our work to the playable experiences track: a part of the conference dedicated not-so-much to academic papers, but works that are inspired/derived from AI techniques being used in academia.  We’ve yet to actually publish anything substantial on what we are achieving in Sure Footing, but I can guarantee we’ll be moving forward with that in 2016.

There was just one small problem: I couldn’t actually attend the conference!  The reasons for this are lengthy and a little personal, so I will refrain from divulging them.  This left us in a bit of a bind, given that we couldn’t showcase the game.  I’m fortunate in that we find a solution to this courtesy of PROCJAM organiser Michael Cook who offered to show off the game on our behalf.  In addition, we are expected to give a short five minute introduction to the demo people are about to play.  Given it was infeasible to do this live what with the time difference, I prepared the video you can see below.

We used a build that had only a handful of bug fixes from our recent trip to GameCity.  However, my post-conference report from Mike suggested that the game was well received.  So we’re hoping we can return to a future AIIDE conference with some new features (not to mention be there in person).

A big thanks to everyone who popped by to play the game and leave some feedback for us.  It’s greatly appreciated! A even bigger thanks must go to Michael Cook for ensuring our game was out for people to play.  We were rather nervous about showcasing the game for the first time without one of the developers on-hand, but Mike did a fantastic job.  We are very much in his debt!  This should be the last demo of Sure Footing for a while now, but we’ll be keeping you posted on our work as we move towards our next major build.