Enhanced tool offers game developers faster, more flexible facility to
design intelligent behaviors for game characters and entities
SAN MATEO, California, March 23, 2004 – Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. (www.stottlerhenke.com) today launched an enhanced version of its SimBionic(TM) visual authoring tool for rapidly creating intelligent behaviors that enhance characters in computer games, without programming. SimBionic 2.0 offers game developers additional flexibility and greater control when designing complex behaviors for game characters.
SimBionic 2.0 is the second addition to Stottler Henke’s SimBionic product family in as many months. In February, the company released SimBionic for Java, which enables SimBionic’s real-time logic to be embedded within games and applications in Java technology applets, web server applications, and mobile devices. Stottler Henke released the original C++ version of the software in December 2002.
“The SimBionic toolkit provided me with all the tools I wanted to develop myself but simply did not have the time to do,” said Dave Aufderheide, a senior AI programmer who has launched games including Armed and Dangerous, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and SlaveZero. “It provides a great GUI to design the AI that can easily be used by programmers and designers alike, and it also provides a very good real time debugger to help fix any behavioral problems along the way. I never thought I’d want to do AI programming outside the C++ programming language, but SimBionic has definitely made me see the light.”
SimBionic 2.0 affords developers “fine grain” control over characters’ behaviors through a new “sub-behaviors” feature. This enables developers to finely tune game play by visually identifying critical sections of a behavior requiring rapid handling, resulting in more responsive entities.
SimBionic 2.0 also features dynamic behavior loading, a mechanism that more efficiently manages memory resources while a game is being played. Only those behaviors relevant to the section of the game currently being played are loaded into memory, which can result in improved system performance.
In addition, SimBionic 2.0 contains more than 40 usability enhancements, which taken together make the process of designing complex behaviors more efficient. The new release also makes behaviors created using SimBionic 2.0 virtually self-documenting, which also can save considerable time and money over the course of a game development project. “We’ve factored a wide range of user feedback into the enhancements incorporated into SimBionic 2.0,” said Dan Fu, SimBionic product manager at Stottler Henke Associates. “Everything we’ve done is ultimately intended to further streamline and simplify the process of writing smarter behaviors that are more realistic, challenging, and engaging.”
Schematic diagram of behavior design using SimBionic 2.0 – A soldier on patrol can react more quickly to an opposing force when the game developer casts a critical section as a sub-behavior, denoted by the larger rectangle.SimBionic consists of two major components: a visual authoring tool, and a runtime engine. The SimBionic authoring tool is a standard Windows application. Because SimBionic presents its logic graphically, it can communicate more information to more people compared to textual methods. Visual representations can be understood by experts and by software programmers alike, so they can speak the same language, resulting in superior collaborative development. The SimBionic runtime engine takes the behavior description, and makes it operational within a game or training simulation. The engine is efficient, highly scalable, and provides a Java technology or C++ application programming interface, so software developers can easily interface it with simulations and games. The SimBionic authoring tool runs on Microsoft Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP operating systems. The SimBionic runtime engine runs on these operating systems, as well as Linux.SimBionic price and availability
SimBionic 2.0 is available immediately from Stottler Henke. Pricing is on a per-seat basis, and varies based on the size of the installation. Development of SimBionic was supported in large part by R&D funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry in 2003 by Military Training Technology magazine.
March 23, 2004