Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Keynote at Swansea Animation Days conference.

Swansea, Wales

Swansea Animation Days, also called SAND, is a conference put on by the University of Wales to discuss computer-generated animation. It's not a festival (they do show films but they don't give awards), nor does it deal with hand-drawn animation -- the real emphasis is on CG animation. One day this year was artificial intelligence, and they asked me to come give a lecture the day after the JISC CETIS conference. I took the train down from Manchester at night, slept late, and showed up just in time. Although it's a fairly old lecture by now, I gave them "Putting the Ghost in the Machine," which turned out to be very well-received. (It's hard to go wrong when you start your lecture by reciting "Old Ironsides".) Later there was a fabulous Chinese dinner at which I got to sit next to Ruth Aylett from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who's doing some interesting AI work for games.

The next morning I sat on a panel chaired by Ed Hooks of "Acting for Animators" fame, to discuss story in games. I'm afraid Ruth and I rather dominated the discussion, as we're both pretty passionate about the subject, and the other panelists were comparatively quiet by comparison. As soon as the panel was over I had to charge off to catch a train to Cardiff Airport for a flight to Finland...