The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | February 11

Robotics Institute Seminar, February 11
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Get a Life: How AI in Video Games Makes Characters Come Alive

Ian Lane Davis

CEO and Founder

Mad Doc® Software, LLC




Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm



With the insatiable appetite of today’s savvy audience pushing developers and publishers to create characters with increasingly sophisticated levels of interactivity, we find ourselves at the forefront of AI advancement in games wondering: what’s next?  Listen in, as Dr. Ian Lane Davis, widely acknowledged as one of the top Artificial Intelligence experts in the gaming industry, focuses on strength of character and the essentials for delivering exceptionally great AI personalities in games. Dr. Davis will examine the upcoming great frontier in AI, which is the construction of believable characters in video games, and he will touch on all aspects of making believable characters: from animations - to behaviors - to internal models of AI.  We’ll look at the importance of developing characters with distinct voices, animations and unique personalities which affect what they say, how they say it, how they are perceived and how they act.  From appearance, body language, facial expressions, environmental awareness, memory and responsiveness - to the nuance of mood for personality - we’ll take you on an eye-opening tour of why great AI…makes games great.


Speaker Biography


Dr. Ian Lane Davis, CEO and Founder of Mad Doc® Software, Creative Director on Vivendi Universal Games’ Empire Earth® 2, and former Technical Director at Activision Publishing’s Santa Monica studio, is widely acknowledged as one of the top artificial intelligence experts in the games industry. His direct credits include the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Computer Role Playing Game of the Year Finalist: Dungeon Siege®: Legends of Aranna™; Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest™ ; and Jane’s® Attack Squadron, as well as Star Trek®: Armada II™, Call to Power II, Star Trek®: Armada™, Civilization®: Call to Power™, Battlezone®, Dark Reign: Rise of the Shadowhand™, and Dark Reign: The Future of War™ for Activision.


Currently co-authoring the definitive AI and games textbook for academic and industry training, Dr. Davis is a trusted advisor to some of the most important publishers in the industry (including Vivendi Universal Games, Midway, Microsoft, EA Games and Activision), serves as a Peer Panel Leader for the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Peer Panel for Gameplay Engineering, and recently was appointed to the Journal of Game Development’s Editorial Board. Dr. Davis is a highly sought speaker who presents in academic and game-focused venues, and has been interviewed for online, print and television media.


Davis earned his doctorate in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, applying his talents in AI to autonomous cross-country navigation in the Highly Mobile Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) for the Department of Defense, researching the inspection of aging aircraft via the Autonomous NonDestructive Inspector (ANDI) for the FAA, and analyzing and designing systems for the Lunar and Earthbound Lava Tube Explorer.


Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Eleanor Cambridge.

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.