Joe Grabowski on the AI Driven Game "Tuebor"
Imagine playing a game that slowly learns how you play. Enter Tuebor, an action game in which players are pitted against some of the most advanced AI out there. Unlike traditional AI, the enemies in Tuebor will learn from you, thus becoming increasingly lethal as you play. Currently, most games with AI rely on predetermined paths and patterns. Tuebor flips the table, and instead focuses on AI that learns how you play, and adapts to your play style. In most games, as players play against enemies, they discover tons of exploits within AI behavior patterns. Tuebor's AI system will eliminate that factor, making each fight feel different and fresh. Smarter AI will open up loads of new gameplay opportunities. Normally, enemies during wave based horde modes get stronger and more powerful. With this system, the enemies will become smarter and adapt to your style of play, as opposed to simply becoming stronger. I got the amazing opportunity to sit down with Joe Grabowski and get some more information on this ambitious project.
So tell me about yourself? Who are you and what have you worked on before? What got you into game development?
So my name is Joe Grabowski. I am currently an environment artist at Strength in Numbers
Studio. Previously, I was the principle artist at 24 Carat Games, where we made Retro/Grade for
the PS3 and PC. That transitioned into a studio called Infinitap Games where I was the lead artist on the PC and soon to be PS4 and Vita game Neverending Nightmares. We started developing a spiritual successor to Neverending Nightmares called Devastated Dreams, but that didn't succeed on kickstarter, which is why I am now at Strength in Numbers studios in Lansing Michigan.
What got me into game development was just a love of games. I was going to major in computer
science, and had been accepted to Lawrence Tech in Michigan. That's when I saw the SCAD
brochure, and flipped through it and just stopped on the Game Art section.
I suddenly realized that of course people had to make the games and art for them, and that it could be me. So I applied to SCAD, transferred in as a sophomore, and never really looked backed. I love what I do, even during the stressful times right before launch. Ive been fortunate enough to have 3 shipped titles that have won several awards, and am a few months away from launching my fourth which is called Tuebor.
What is your role on the project? How did you get involved?
So I am an Environment Artist on Tuebor. I make environment models and textures sometimes
from concept art, sometimes without it. I will also be occasionally tasked with set dressing
environments and levels. (As I did in the Mires Den screenshot.)
I joined this project shortly after the Devastated Dreams kickstarter failed. I was in contact with my old art director from 24^ games and he had a patron group environment that two people at SiN Studios were a part of. So while talking to him he saw a posting looking for an environment artist in the Michigan area.
So I applied, did the art test, and was hired in shortly there after.
How many people are working on the project? Do you have any prominent team members?
We have a fairly small team, still super indie. haha. We have about 14 people in the office,
including myself and a few distributed people. Our lead character artist is Kevin Manning, who
worked on Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, and my lead environment artist, Josh Powers, worked at ID, though I'm not sure what titles he worked on whilst there.
We had talked earlier, and you mentioned that Michigan State University was involved. What role has the university had with the project?
So we have partnered with MSU to develop an evolutionary learning AI. Professor Arend
Hintze has been developing a new way of teaching AI, where it learns over time. We are going to
plug that into our game, so as players get better, the AI will also improve, creating a constantly evolving AI to engage and challenge players.
Tell me about Tuebor, how did the project come about? I understand that you are under NDA,
what can you tell us about the project?
So Tuebor is a 3rd person competitive action game. We have over 30 heroes for players to
choose from with unique abilities and skills. We have several different game modes as well,
ranging from straight PVP, to Co-op against waves of AI enemies, to a combination with teams
Most recently, we began development on a fun quick mode that we aren't quite ready to
talk about just yet. But I can say its team based and a blast to play! I don't really know the full
details for the how the project came about.
Though I know the studio founder, Scott Reschke, owned a LAN Cafe in Lansing before forming SiN Studios. He took a lot of what he saw his customers playing and enjoying and has really developed a fun mix of action and strategy.
What state is the project currently in? Do you have a set release dates at the moment?
Currently we are wrapping up our Alpha development, with a planned release in the summer.
We've got a lot of work to do but everything is coming together very nicely. I can also say that we will be having a closed Alpha in the next couple of weeks, and if your readers go here and sign up for the alpha with the promo code TueborAlphaKrazy,they can get in on the alpha, and I will make sure they get free DLC when the game launches as a thank you for helping us test our Tuebor.
Thanks again Alex, It was a pleasure doing this interview, and I look forward to many more. All the best to you guys at Krazy Knights!