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A Dark Mind: The AI of "The Dark" in 'BELOW'

Robin Vierich (Gameplay Programmer, Capy Games)

Location: Room 303, South Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 2:00pm - 2:30pm

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

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

This talk presents the AI systems built for 'BELOW' to create "The Dark": a multi-limb, kinematic tentacle monster, and the unique design problems the Capy Games team faced creating such a thing.

First up, Robin will provide some background on the blended kinematic and animation systems his team created, followed by the development journey from a single "sneaky" tentacle, to a 24-arm killing machine. This journey starts with the necessary movement systems of giant kinematic limbs in a procedural space, leads into scaling up number of tentacles, multi-tentacle coordination, and high-level decision making, then ends off with the complexities of creating readable, consistent, and behaviorally cohesive combat encounters.

This talk is focused on process, not just solutions. So, it will discuss some tried-and-failed attempts along the way to highlight the problems that eventually lead the team to the final systems.


Through a logical progression from specific AI problems to their solutions, attendees will take away tools and techniques for coordinating dynamic, independent AI agents intended to represent a cohesive intelligence.

Intended Audience

To enjoy this talk, a basic understanding of core AI systems like FSMs, Behavior Trees, and Influence Maps is recommended, as well as some understanding of programming and common issues with real-time game AI.