Next-Gen AI Middleware For Next-Gen Consoles Coming 2012

By William Usher 2011-09-29 14:29:18 discussion comments
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Middleware developer xaitment has received $1.6 million from investors to design, develop, enhance and evolve their AI middleware. Of course, it goes without saying that the 2012 release pretty much means that it will be available for any game in development for a 2013 or 2014 release, which is when Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles are expected to arrive.

Xaitment will be working on upscaling their products such as xaitMap, xaitControl and BrainPack, as well as developing new software such as xaitThink and xaitKnow to make it easier to implement procedural AI into games and other software. This follows suit of Ubisoft, who is also pouring just over $1 million into next generation AI middleware for the upcoming wave of new game consoles.

Mike Walsh, the newly appointed managing director and CEO of xaitment commented in the press release, saying…
“With xaitMap, xaitControl and our BrainPack bundle, we have mature, intuitive AI software for NavMesh generation, pathfinding, movement and character behavior modeling that rivals any solution on the market,” ... “But no other vendor has the ability or knowledge to develop higher level behavioral AI. Admittedly, these new solutions will not be right for every game, but we know there is a good portion of the PC and console market, as well as the civil and military simulation market, that is currently writing advanced AI behaviors from scratch, and could really benefit from tools that ease the process of creating smarter digital characters. That is the reason for this new investment, the results of which we look forward to displaying publicly in 2012.”


It’s a nice alternative to NaturalMotion’s Euphoria animation and behavioral engine as well. Although, I suppose it’s possible the two properties could coexist for specific types of games.

The real kicker is that xaitKnow and xaitThink could really help dynamically change the way players face off against or work with NPCs. The first, xaitKnow, is a knowledge base AI utility that helps facilitate AI with the appropriate information regarding their environment. The second, xaitThink, helps specify the AI with the right kind of independent thinking patterns to operate based on their xaitKnow profile. In other words, you can have all military personnel react and respond the way they should within an environment, where-as civilians will react and respond the way an average civilian would within a specified environment.

The middleware, xaitThink and xaitKnow could really help abolish the static mob mentality most gamers experience in today’s generation of games, offering both a deeper sense of challenge and immersion.

You can keep track of xaitment and their products over at the Official Website. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any development teams that license the software.
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