User-generated content is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs, art, music, and every other type of digital media on the Social Web. Games are no exception. From strategy games to immersive virtual worlds, game players are increasingly engaged in creating and sharing nearly all aspects of the gaming experience: maps, quests, artifacts, avatars, clothing, even games themselves. Yet, there is one aspect of computer games that is not created and shared by game players: the AI. Building sophisticated personalities, behaviors, and strategies requires expertise in both AI and programming, and remains outside the purview of the end user.
To understand why authoring Game AI is hard, we need to understand how it works. AI can take digital entertainment beyond scripted interactions into the arena of truly interactive systems that are responsive, adaptive, and intelligent. I will discuss examples of AI techniques for character-level AI (in embedded NPCs, for example) and game-level AI (in the drama manager, for example). These types of AI enhance the player experience in different ways. The techniques are complicated and are usually implemented by expert game designers.
I propose an alternative approach to designing Game AI: Real-Time CBR. This approach extends CBR to real-time systems that operate asynchronously during game play, planning, adapting, and learning in an online manner. Originally developed for robotic control, Real-Time CBR can be used for interactive games ranging from multiplayer strategy games to interactive believable avatars in virtual worlds.
As with any CBR technique, Real-Time CBR integrates problem solving with learning. This property can be used to address the authoring problem. I will show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without programming. I conclude with some thoughts about the role of CBR in AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.