GDC '15: Kythera and Umbra unveil playable demo of ground-breaking "dynamic" AI

SAN FRANCISCO, 4 March 2015 – Delegates at this week’s GDC ’15 will be the first to experience a cutting-edge innovation in AI design, thanks to hack-and-slash fantasy game Umbra and the Kythera AI middleware. With a playable demo of Umbra available at the CryENGINE stand, it’s the first time Kythera’s ground-breaking dynamic navigation system has been seen in public.

Until recently, determining where AI-controlled characters could walk was a complex and time-consuming process. Something as simple as opening a gate would be a full-blown programming task – requiring manual scripting to tell the AI system that the way was now clear. But Kythera’s dynamic navigation has changed the landscape; now, the world’s constraints are calculated directly from the physics engine, so that AIs respond immediately to changes in the environment around them.

Daniel Dolui, lead developer for Umbra, said dynamic navigation had unlocked new potential for his upcoming game. “As a busy, ambitious indie studio, we don’t have a moment to waste. The time we’ve saved by using Kythera has freed us up to concentrate on what makes Umbra unique, like our random level generator and skill system – but it also gave us more creative possibilities, allowing us to implement a lot of destructible elements in our scenes. It’s been hard work getting here, but we couldn’t be happier to see people playing and enjoying Umbra at GDC.”

Dynamic navigation is just one of the powerful features built into Kythera’s advanced AI toolset. “What we’re seeing today is just what’s possible when creative developers join forces,” said Matthew Jack, founder of Moon Collider, the company behind Kythera. “Daniel was part of the very first demonstration of Kythera, and we’ve worked together since then to shape a solution that’s just right for him. Powerful tools like these allow even small teams to achieve inspiring results – and we're here at GDC to meet more partners who want to break new ground in their games with leading-edge AI.”

Notes to editors

Images are available for immediate download at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xvywpdfubdrejny/AAAKsdd0Aco_mitKN40IjTMha?dl=0.

Moon Collider is an established artificial intelligence development company headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. Its groundbreaking AI middleware platform, Kythera, aims to shorten development cycles and unlock new styles of gameplay by responding dynamically to changes to the in-game world. The company is funded by private investment and is privately held. For more information on Moon Collider and Kythera, see www.kythera.ai.

​Umbra, the first game from indie studio Solarfall, melds much-loved hack-and-slash gameplay with state-of-the-art graphics and underpins it all with a truly modern AI. Inspired by the classic Diablo 2 game, Umbra aims to deliver an intense and rich action RPG game. Personalization of your character build is free, deep and highly customizable, and many secrets are hidden in the world. For more information, see www.umbragame.com.

Kythera is a registered trademark of Moon Collider Ltd.