You can also read all about the engineering at AI Factory, where downloads of testbeds and product documentation are available. The web also provides case studies, showing what we can offer to developers and publishers on different platforms, and detailed descriptions of the general engineering and all our game engines.

Quality 3D Products

AI Factory has a number of 3D products on the market. These provide attractive vehicles for our highly tuned game AI, and also other recreational products. Chronologically these are:

(Coming soon! Pool and Snooker have just hiked to the next gaming level, with a new lavish 3D environment, AI tutoring and improved play AI. Watch this space for developments.)

Shogi - Published by: Unbalance 2008 and AI Factory 2008

A key multi-platform project is Shotest Shogi. This is on-release on Xbox live in Japan and the will follow soon for the "rest of the world". The PC version, "Shotest Shogi 3D", shares the same graphical system, but not the advanced tutor system, which is be premiered for Xbox Live before it also appears on the PC. Again this has been launched in Japan first, but is also available now for the west as well. This product takes the classic board game genre further into the world of full 3D graphics, currently championed by the many 3D action games. Our older classic game products below (Tournament Chess II) had already taken chess in this direction, with DirectX 8.1 and limited Shader technology. This new product takes advantage of newer more capable 3D technology to provide a richer and more authentic environment. Shogi is a classic game with a strong aesthetic, so was a good candidate for such a step up.

Aquarium - Products for Unbalance 2007

This is a new 3D technology for us, combining an optimised 3D system with optimised biological AI, as can be seen in earlier newsletter articles. The core technology developed for this is destined for 3 products. A key design criteria was that it would be able to create a realistic biological emulation with a high framerate on very limited hardware. A payoff from this closely engineered technology is that when scaled up to fast platforms the high performance can be used for rendering highly complex scenes with large numbers of fish. The existing implementation already shows realistic emulations of shoaling fish (50+), where each fish has complex individual emulation, down to individual eye movement. The coming generation of products using this technology will be stunning.

Friday Night 3D Pool - Published by: Global Star Publishing 2003 and Unbalance 2005 and 2007

3D Snooker, 8-ball and 9-ball games in one release! This is a strong AI product, which delivers quality human-like game play. It is easy to create a pool game that always plays stunning but unbelievable shots, as the engine can test the result of any shot it may want to try. However it takes careful design to create a player that appears to think like a human. This product does that, with AI characters that play with varying degrees of accuracy and are able to choose shots that best fit their AI accuracy (i.e. when to not take on difficult pots; where the chance of success is low, and the consequences of failure are high). In addition to this the product adds other human like attributes, such as the inclination to play cautiously, aggressively, for safety, to select exotic shots and showing a preference for fast or slow balls. The richness of this play style allows the game to provide 80 different AI opponents, and attracted a good GameSpot review.

Friday Night 3D Darts - Published by: Global Star Publishing 2003 and Unbalance 2005

Darts is a recreational product, with no more than trivial AI. However it addresses the difficult idea of how to use a mouse to throw a dart! The resulting product does this rather well, with a throwing action which is believable. This product has found much favour in Japan, where (as a demo sample) it attracted more attention than any of our other products. Like the Pool and Snooker product above, this game is embedded in a 3D world, with three different venues and tournaments, ladders and trophies. The user is given a rating and this, with various Easter eggs, adds richness to the game. Of course the 3D worlds can be controlled, with attributes such as lights and a jukebox.

Tournament Chess II - Published by: Global Star Publishing 2004 and Unbalance 2004

A follow-on to Global Star's Tournament Chess I, but taking the genre much further. The quality of the 3D depiction of the chess sets is particularly stunning, with full use of vertex shading to render quality pieces with reflections. In addition a completely new chess engine was created, with 5 additional chess variants and a game engine that learned as it played. The surrounding 3D world also grew in richness over the earlier 3D Pool (above), with greater use of lighting and scene complexity. The time clock of the 3D world was synchronised with the real world, providing night and day in the program and adding eye candy such as a working lighthouse outside the window at night! This product has since been developed and is now also published by Unbalance in Japan.

Omar sharif Bridge II - Published by: Global Star Publishing 2004 and Mindscape 2005

Using the Bridge engine of Andrew Bracher, we created the game of Bridge in a full 3D World. As with the 3D Chess product above, this comes with a more lavish environment than 3D Pool, with much eye candy. The user is provided with many stunning card decks to play with. This product exceeds the gameplay of other competing Bridge products by providing full teamplay and pairs events, with progression from home to club to major tournament, with a ranking ladder. The user can select Rubber or Chicago and the conventions they want to use. With the 80 AI opponents also provided, in total this makes for a very satisfying Bridge playing product.

Legion - In house game

Legion was the first original game produced by AI Factory and provides a new turn-based game, with a roman theme. The object of the game is to have your troop of legionnaires cross the board to the other side before your opponent does the same. This requires good coordination of your legionnaires and use of your opponent's as well. Your plays may be designed to move your men quickly and to frustrate your opponent by blocking their progress at the same time. This game is popular as a pastime here, with or without the beautiful 3D environment.