Name:Gareth WHITE
Position:Senior Tools Programmer
Company:UBISOFT


Dr. Gareth White is a veteran of the industry, with 20 years of experience in game research and development in the UK, Europe, Australia, and China. He holds a Ph.D. in video game evaluation from the University of Sussex, UK, and has worked as a programmer on multi-million hit games including the Grand Theft Auto series. Since 2013 Gareth has worked for Ubisoft Shanghai where he ran the Game User Research laboratory working on over 15 mobile, PC, and console games including the Assassin's Creed and South Park series, and mor recently as Senior Tools Programmer for Ubisoft's second fastest selling game, Far Cry 5.


Far Cry 5 is a very large open world game, featuring around forty animals, more than fifteen thousand animations, and complex, emergent Artificial Intelligence. It would not be practical for traditional Quality Assurance teams to manually test all of the possible interactions between all of these characters and game world. Furthermore, Ubisoft is a global company with many studios around the world collaborating together on the same game, so efficient and reliable codevelopment was critical to the project’s success. The Shanghai studio was responsible for all of the animals in Far Cry 5, so needed a way to deliver all of the animation, design, and programming to all of the other studios across many different timezones, so that they would all be able to smoothly continue their own work with the latest output from Shanghai.

 

A specialist team of tools and automation programmers was established in Shanghai to develop a suite of automated tools, processes, and dedicated servers to help achieve this. The team’s objectives were to reduce the burden on manual human testers, provide high cost efficiency, detect problems within hours, and so allow the animation & design teams to rapidly iterate their work, helping to ensure the highest quality of animation and artificial intelligence behaviours.

 

This presentation will introduce some of the approaches used by the team, including:

Developing a suite of test programs to validate the technical compliance of the animations.

Designing small AI test maps to validate the motion and combat behaviour for each of the individual animals.

Automated video recording of interactions between animals, for the traditional QA team members to review when necessary without having to run the tests again.

Basic statistical data analyses of large numbers of AI interactions, to validate that the animals behaviours matched the designers intentions.

Summary email reports to provide management with a quick overview of the day-to-day issues, and help predict when trend of when all problems will finally be resolved.

 

Audience members will gain an insight into the challenges faced by the team, solutions implemented, and ideas for future development on one of Ubisoft’s best selling games of all time.


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