Speaker: Ben Samuel
Date: February 14th, 11am-12pm, EAE Game Studio(Bldg 72, 2nd Floor)
Talk title: Crafting Stories Through Play: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Player Creativity to Create Dynamic Worlds and Characters.
Game development is a powerful platform for both technological innovation and artistic expression. This talk will discuss the technology and design decisions behind two of the speaker's award winning games: Prom Week and Bad News. Attendees will learn the basics of crafting socially dynamic AI characters with the Comme il Faut social simulation engine, and see how designing games with player creativity in mind can simultaneously inspire the technology of tomorrow while providing meaningful play experiences today.
Ben Samuel is an assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of New Orleans (UNO), the director of the UNO Game Development Concentration, an award winning game designer, and a professional actor. Though broadly passionate about game development and game education, his primary focus is on artificial intelligence systems that advance the state of the art of interactive storytelling. Notable works include the social simulation game Prom Week (a finalist for technical excellence in the 2012 Independent Games Festival), CiF and the Ensemble Engine (AI frameworks for developing socially dynamic characters), and the AI-meets-improvisational-performance installation piece Bad News (winner of the 2016 IndieCade Audience Choice award). His work has toured internationally, and has been showcased at universities, game festivals, film festivals, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Outside of the realm of games, he was a star of Hulu's first original scripted series Battleground and is a lead in an upcoming Netflix original series; his performances have garnered praise from the New York Times and Rolling Stone. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, and he was a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Ben earned his PhD in Computer Science at the University of California Santa Cruz.