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LookAhead Applies Robotics to Videogames and Animation

LookAhead Decisions Inc. (LDI) announced the release of its breakthrough software product for videogames and animation. Locust uses proprietary simulation-based look-ahead methods similar to those used by world-championship chess programs, except it handles in realtime aspects such as uncertainty, complex time/cost tradeoffs and dozens of parallel decision-makers.

Unlike standard rule-based approaches, which LDI claims are expensive to develop and maintain and often result in poor performance and unstable code, Locust reduces the cost of adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) to a game 10-fold, resulting in completely stable code and behavior that is more intelligent. During actual game play, Locust rapidly responds to unexpected realtime events and anticipates and avoids future problems, such as congestion and enemy threats and anticipates and exploits future opportunities such as energy recharging and weapons gathering.

"For the end user, imagine multiple characters finding efficient paths to their destination without colliding with each other; imagine characters teaming together to efficiently search through a set of rooms; imagine intelligent assistants that can suggest which weapon to fire and what direction to move," said Dr. Armand Prieditis, ceo/founder of LDI and Locust Games. "Imagine being able to purchase a game add-on that can turbo-charge the intelligence of all game characters to increase enjoyment and immersion.

"For the game developer, your AI development nightmares are over. No more patching broken rules, no more spaghetti code and no more late delivery of a buggy product with poor performance. For the animator, imagine being able to instantly generate natural-looking motion across any terrain for any jointed character without expensive keyframing or motion capture."

Previously, LDI received a grant award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and startup funding from Siemens Technology-to-Business (TTB) Center to develop a realtime intelligent decision making system for robotics, logistics and manufacturing. Deployments in these areas have provided up to 83% performance gain while massively reducing development costs. According to Jack Boudreaux of NIST, "We expect that (LDI's software) will continue to help organizations in increasing their customer satisfaction while reducing their costs and delivery times."

LDI has ported this award-winning robotics software to games and animation in the form of a new software package called Locust, which is described on their website.

Founded in 2001, LookAhead Decisions (LDI, is a leading provider of intelligent decision making software for design and realtime applications.