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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

AI Summit: Driving Emotionally Expressive NPC Animations and Behaviors with a Designer Friendly Pipeline

Gautier Boeda  (AI Engineer, SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.)

Date: Tuesday, July 20

Time: 3:20pm - 3:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

WONDER is a prototype project from Square Enix Co., Ltd. Advanced Technology Division, focused on creating a bonding experience between players and characters. In modern times, interaction between players and AI-directed characters often feels limited and lacking empathy. This work aims to apply a designer-friendly method to add an emotional pipeline to production, allowing virtual characters to interact with human users more flexibly and naturally than ever before. First, this talk explains the emotional pipeline (emotion, mood, personality and liking/disliking) and how this pipeline can be tweaked and improved to fit the needs of the experience. Secondly, it covers how to express the emotional state of the agent through not only animations, but also its decision-making, by covering each extension added to the AI pipeline. Then, it describes how to make this pipeline designer-friendly to give designers maximum control. Lastly, it will introduce two debug tools and guidelines to balance emotions and moods to fit the targeted experience.


Attendees learn how this emotional pipeline can be used to influence decision-making and other components (conversation, etc.) to make their agent more expressive and lively. They also learn how to make it designer-friendly and how designers can use it, balancing it with the help of debug tools and guidelines.

Intended Audience

Anyone curious about emotion, character AI, and how to make their agents more aware, expressive and lively. Anyone interested to know how to apply such methods to production and tweak it to the needs of the experience.