AIIDE grew out of a community of academic researchers and video game industry professionals who shared the goal of advancing AI for entertainment. Several workshops and other events in the 1990’s had considered AI applications to games and believable agents, but the first events that grew into the AIIDE conference were a series of 5 AAAI workshops. The first was the 1999 AAAI Spring Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Computer Games. Three more Spring Symposia were organized in 2000, 2001, 2002 under the name Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Entertainment. These, along with a 2004 AAAI workshop on Challenges in Game Artificial Intelligence laid the foundations for the conference.

In 2005, AIIDE was organized into an annual conference under the auspices of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, one of world’s premier professional organizations for AI research. AIIDE was designed to be the premier meeting of academic researchers and the commercial video game industry. It has since expanded to include a broad range of game-adjacent technologies, including training simulations, educational games, and interactive art.

AIIDE generally meets in October, with a paper submission deadline in the summer, usually in June or July.

The first four symposia and the conference from 2005 to 2012 met in California, USA. Beginning in 2013, AIIDE began to move around the United States, and in 2018 AIIDE was held outside the US for the first time in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Each year AIIDE continues to welcome participants from around the world and aims to expand participation from countries outside of North America.

The annual proceedings of the conference are published by AAAI Press. Research papers are strongly peer reviewed and tend to be targeted toward an academic audience. AIIDE has published research on a wide variety of topics, including pathfinding and search in games, automated game playing (especially in the long-running StarCraft competition), procedural content generation, automated storytelling, automated music and sound, game data analytics, and machine learning in games.

Researchers interesting in submitting to the conference can benefit from Matthew Guzdial’s explanation of How to Write an AIIDE Paper. A list of best papers can also be found on the awards page.

AIIDE also publishes industry papers, showcases demonstrations of AI in games, and features keynote talks from notable industry practitioners. Keynote speakers have included Will Wright and Richard Evans, designers behind The Sims, Ken Perlin, inventor of Perlin Noise, Zoran Popović, one of the creators of FoldIt, D. Fox Harrell, who explores the intersection of games and social media, Ayanna Howard, who develops AI for assistive robotics, David Silver, a pioneer of deep reinforcement learning applied to games, and many others.

A poster for the first AIIDE conference, courtesy of Arnav Jhala.