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Building an Open-Ended Conversation System for Expressive Game Characters

Summit Speakers:

Aaron Reed (AI Specialist, Spirit AI)

Alan Hinchcliffe (Lead Engineer, Character Engine, Spirit AI)

Location: Room 2002, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 20

Time: 2:10pm - 2:40pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits - Get your pass now!

Topic: AI Summit

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Interaction with game characters has long been striving to move past simply killing them. Static characters ruin immersion and conversation menus are clunky and repetitive, particularly in ultra-realistic contexts like VR and AR. What’s needed is a more natural way of interacting with characters that is not only deep, but natural-feeling. Drawing on expertise from both AI and interactive story, this lecture describes the challenges faced when building a system for open-ended conversation. It explains techniques including classifying freeform player input, assembling naturalistic responses from underlying knowledge models, and helping writers author content for a non-linear and combinatorial system.


Attendees will learn how a next-generation AI-driven dialogue system was built, including pitfalls to avoid around both natural language input and generative text systems, and tips for how to make these systems clear for content creators and tool designers.