Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk buys games AI firm GRIP Entertainment

The 2011 Unreal Engine 3 features trailer. Autodesk has just acquired AI middleware developer GRIP Entertainment, whose Digital Extra System was recently incorporated into the game engine.

Autodesk has acquired middleware developer GRIP Entertainment, responsible for the GRIP Digital Extra System integrated into Unreal Engine 3 and the separate GRIP Character Control System.

Unlike some of its recent acquisitions, Autodesk has issued an official news release for this one – although it’s very short, commenting only that GRIP’s co-founders and all of its development staff have joined Autodesk, and that the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Fitting GRIP into Autodesk’s product line-up
However, a longer FAQ document on the Autodesk website addresses some of the obvious questions, such as how GRIP CCS differs from Autodesk’s existing Kynapse middleware.

(It does high-level AI while Kynapse does low-level tasks, apparently: although this interview with GRIP founder Paul Kruszewski suggests that GRIP DES does low-level tasks, too).

The FAQ also address the question of how GRIP’s technology fits with Autodesk’s Project Skyline games content creation platform – kind of.

(Actually, it says that Autodesk plans to integrate GRIP’s technology into “new or existing products” and that Project Skyline will “translate high-level AI intentions into believable motion” via “middleware integration”. Whether you join those particular dots is left up to you.)

The beginning of an industry-standard AI solution?
“The acquisition accelerates Autodesk’s strategy to offer a more complete, simplified solution for the creation of believable interactive characters,” said Marc Stevens, Autodesk Vice President, Games.

“The technology and expertise acquired complement Autodesk’s existing Gameware offerings, including Autodesk Kynapse artificial intelligence middleware. This transaction will enable us to offer game developers a more comprehensive AI solution.?”

Read Autodesk’s official FAQ document on the takeover

Read an interview with GRIP Entertainment co-founder Paul Kruszewski on its technology
(From Develop in 2010.)