AI middleware developer Kythera AI has received an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games to develop an AI Surface Navigation. Now, the company is announcing the launch of its new AI Surface Navigation Plugin for Unreal Engine.
“Building great AI into a game is key to delivering the best gameplay experience” says Kythera AI founder and lead architect Matthew Jack. “We’re delighted that the team at Epic Games share our enthusiasm for giving game developers great tools to create non-playing characters that are realistic, interesting, effective and sometimes simply plain scary!”
Kythera’s new AI-powered plugin navigates NPCs across any in-game geometry. This allows for complex forms of travel including scaling walls and crossing ceilings. The company created the plugin in response to a gap in current technologies. Using the plugin, game developers to easily create agents that move across complicated terrains at a low cost.
Automates NPC navigation
The new AI Surface Navigation plugin allows developers to create unique gameplay experiences, optimise performance and streamline design and development. Further, it includes tools for simulating realist movements on 3D terrains.
Kythera teased the plugin in October with a horror game level design video. The company also released an article on creating cult-classic status horror games. The video has garnered over 20,000 views on YouTube.
“Surface Navigation provides a groundbreaking AI solution that’s custom developed to automate NPC and agent navigation across complex, three-dimensional surfaces, like walls and ceilings. Kythera AI’s unique Surface Navigation gives studios a complete solution that makes it easy and cost-effective to create realistic agents in complex environments,” states the video’s description.
Lucas Musial, a level designer at Kythera who designed the horror game demo level states that it previously took game developers countless hours to have NPCs carry out repetitive tasks. The developer would need to manually map waypoints and animations, changing the agent’s rotations to simulate realistic movement across terrains. However, the Kythera AI Surface Navigation plugin saves designers a great deal of time by completing these tasks automatically.