Product: AI.implant v5.3
Price: Available on request
Contact: +1 514 341 3874
If artificial intelligence package AI.implant was a celebrity, it would probably have its own colour supplement in Heat or Star magazine, such has been the frequency of its industry dalliances. Starting as a well-brought up pathfinding tool from Montreal, it slowly built a solid reputation in both films and games, being acquired by Canadian simulation company Engenuity in late 2005.
After this came the big time however with Engenuity, in turn, being taken over by billion-dollar industry and military sim company CAE. But after a couple of months, AI.implant’s creator left to try his hand at games development while AI.implant became available for game customers under a new licensing agreement that effectively swapped payment for co-marketing on finished products. Issues such as ongoing support and product development for consoles were less than transparent. Instead, CAE’s ongoing focus for the product were well-paying modelling and simulation clients, where it could package AI.implant with other tools and services, which it did through its Presagis division.
But now it seems, the circle has turned. Once again, AI.implant is available for commercial license by games companies under standard licensing and support terms for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Confusion? What confusion?
“Last year, we announced the program to offer triple-A game developers a version of AI.implant essentially at no cost to allow us to grow the product for the other markets in which we sell it, primarily modelling and simulation,” explains Robert Kopersiewich, Presagis’ vice president of product management.
“The goal was to build up the product and generate some marketing activity with our game customers. This was very successful and we kept the program in place until recently. As a result, we’ve had lots of requests for using AI.implant in commercial games and so we allow games customers to have access to the regular commercial versions of AI.implant following our normal licensing and terms of sales.”
As well as these ongoing requests, Kopersiewich says the growing ubiquity of games consoles within the commercial simulation space also makes the move sensible.
“More and more, we find our modelling and simulation customers are developing for consoles,” he explains. “We see a lot of primary contractors on the military side looking at game platforms to put an element of fun into their products, particularly to appeal to the young users who have grown up using games.”
Of course, the specific requirements of the modelling and simulation crowd – who tend to be developing training systems under government contracts – are very different to games customers, but Kopersiewich says some components, such as AI.implant, can flourishes in both markets. That’s why CAE bought the technology in the first place, and that’s why the license split between the two markets is roughly 50:50.
The result is the future of AI.implant as a piece of games middleware is assured. “We’re typically releasing new versions on a quarterly basis and these always support all platforms so that’s PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Unreal Engine 3,” he says.