Dr Tommy Thompson is the director of AI and Games: a company dedicated to providing consultancy and bespoke software solutions for artificial intelligence technologies in the video games industry. All in an effort to help studios to refine the designs, tools, and architecture required to elevate AI within their games. The company is largely known for its crowdfunded YouTube series of the same name that explores research and applications of artificial intelligence in video games. As of 2021, Tommy is an advisor to the GDC AI Summit in an effort to support developers as they showcase their hard work and contributions to the game development community. Prior to his work in the industry, Tommy was a university lecturer for 10 years in computer science and videogame programming and a researcher in artificial intelligence applications in video games; authoring over 50 academic publications in areas such as artificial general intelligence, machine learning for non-player characters and procedural content generation. Tommy is still an active participant in the academic community as a reviewer and chair for numerous conferences, workshops and journals.
Building smart, reactive and non-player characters for games is no easy task. They need to make smart decisions, move through the world smoothly, react to the player and systemic behaviour. Plus we bundle that with dialogue, animations and more to make them feel like they exist in these virtual spaces. On paper, it sounds pretty straightforward, but in practice, it can become very complicated, very quickly. In this session, we highlight the variety of tools and techniques you can use to make smart characters, how to design for a variety of situations and how best to ensure character art and animation helps reinforce all the smarts happening behind-the-scenes in your codebase.
Develop is the must-attend event for the games industry in the UK. It’s where we all come together and learn from each other. It’s the best way into the industry and it’s the best place to learn from your colleagues.
Develop is an excellent way of catching up with people – there’s a really nice community feel here.
Mike Bithell Games
We are so lucky to have Develop here in the UK. It’s a unique event where you can come and discover new things with people who care passionately about video games. It’s a sea full of new ideas.
It’s really nice to see some of the younger people in our studio come to Develop, interact with other people in the dev community and make new contacts. I think it’s really important to learn from other people.
A lot of the opportunities that come from being here are speaking to other developers who are doing exactly the same thing as you. And there are some good parties – it’s very much a pleasurable work experience!
I absolutely love coming to Develop, it’s a brilliant, brilliant conference – you just know you’re guaranteed to meet everyone.
Jo Twist, OBE
Develop always gets put in the diary. There are many reasons to be here, not just the talks, but the networking, people exchanging ideas about where the industry is right now and where it’s going to. It’s pretty essential to be here I think.
Ian Livingstone, CBE
There’s something creative about Brighton, so it’s the perfect place to have the conference.
Develop is important – the networking is very important. And go to talks they’re inspiring and get your creative juices flowing, they can make you think and you’ll learn how other people do things.
Develop is a very important place – it’s one of the few developer focussed conferences we have in Europe and that makes it very valuable.
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