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GPU Flocking Movie

Instinct Technology has collaborated with Dark Water Studios to create a movie showing how their middleware product Instinct Studio is able to use NVIDIA's CUDA technology to offload AI from the CPU onto the GPU of the graphics card. The trailer shows GPU-controlled flocking behavior in DogFighter that allowed them to display a ridiculous (as in over 4000) number of aircraft on the screen at once, all controlled by a single CUDA-enabled graphics card (that's a lot of flocking planes). The clip is posted on the YouTube, and here's word:

The demo shows 4096 bot planes handled solely on a single GPU parallel to game rendering. The bot planes use steering behaviours for flocking, navigation and obstacle avoidance. The planes are fully lit and rendered (with shadows). The demo runs with interactive frame rate on main stream CUDA enabled graphics cards. In comparison the same simulation without utilizing CUDA achieved a similar frame rate on a decent machine with only 512 planes in our tests. The steering computation for 512 planes requires about 260.000 neighbour queries while for 4096 planes this grows to a whopping 16 Million queries. The algorithm can be easily parallelized, explaining the advantage of technologies like CUDA for this kind of problem. Even if there is a potential to optimize the algorithm for CPU the clear benefit for us is a heavily reduced development time.

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14. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 4, 2009, 07:29 theyarecomingforyou
 
Calling it an "AI" isn't accurate. Its a dynamic pathing movie. You can't do this type of thing with even an 8 core CPU.

Very impressive, but fail to see how you could use this in a fun game.
Yeah, that was the first thing I thought. When the title said AI I thought they'd be looking at making just one character behave intelligently - instead they have thousands of objects simply avoiding each other. This isn't "AI" at all.
 
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13. Re: Game Reviews Sep 4, 2009, 06:29 BobBob
 
Hopefully the next gen consoles will break it down into different processors (aka Amiga style): physics, graphics, sound, AI, etc.  
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12. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 4, 2009, 06:01 Dmitri_M
 
All for naught. If current gen consoles can't handle it, we'll never see a PC game implementating this in any meaningful gameplay sense. Same with phsyx. It's relegated to inconsequential details that don't effect gameplay.  
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11. Re: Game Reviews Sep 4, 2009, 04:54 BobBob
 
Nvidia should consider coming up with a 3 in 1 card: GPU/Physics/AI -- 3 different chips to handle the various processes.  
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10. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 23:09 The Pyro
 
It's impressive, but I wouldn't call it groundbreaking. I wrote a flocking demo a couple years ago that could handle 1000 bots at a decent framerate. The bots could avoid each other, fly in groups, etc... My demo, however, used octrees to reduce the number of computations needed.

From the video, it sounds like their demo uses brute force rather than octrees in order manage collisions between bots (they mentioned having 4 million collision tests per frame). If so, that much is extremely impressive. You definitely couldn't do that with a traditional CPU.

It's hard to tell whether their approach has significant technical drawbacks that weren't discussed.
 
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9. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 22:29 The Half Elf
 
Come on folks... THIS JUST SCREAMS CRIMSON SKIES or XWING type game!  
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8. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 22:18 Wallshadows
 
I thought it was the other way around and the CPU is the bottleneck to the GPU?  
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7. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 22:10 tuddies
 
the best GPU today is so extremely wimpy - WHY would you want to degrade this power any further?

games are already so GPU-starved that it makes no sense. Now, perhaps an extra card in SLI would be useful, since most games only see 20% improvement anyway with the additional card.
 
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6. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 21:52 Wallshadows
 
Yeah, but can it run 6005 polygons per krundle?  
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5. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 21:19 Bucky
 
I'd take this tech and apply it to Serious Sam. Just imagining vast hordes that could act as a group while I mow them down....it's probably too much to ask for, though.  
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4. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 21:10 everyone
 
It could be cool for background elements (I immediately thought of a huge flock of crows in an eerie game scene), or for more interactive game elements. For instance, imagine GTA4, but the traffic utilizes this kind of technology for even more dynamic traffic jams. XD

Yeah, I dunno about the practicality of this either, but maybe someone can remake SimAnt...
 
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3. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 20:44 Nate
 
Calling it an "AI" isn't accurate. Its a dynamic pathing movie. You can't do this type of thing with even an 8 core CPU.

Very impressive, but fail to see how you could use this in a fun game.
 
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2. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 20:35 Techie714
 
No sure why people would want to do this. Today's CPU's have 4 cores & in January Intel will release a 6 core. We finally have the extreme computing power we need for great AI.  
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1. Re: GPU AI Movie Sep 3, 2009, 20:17 tony
 
This is an impressive tech demo.  
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