Building the AI for Blizzard’s Hearthstone

Hearthstone is the latest new videogame (cardgame?) by Blizzard. It’s a terrific free(initially)-to-play game and definitely worth checking out. At GDC 2014, Blizzard engineer Brian Schwab explained why they created AI for an online multiplayer game and breaks down it’s optimization for a massive player base.

The AI postmortem is a perennial high point for GDC’s AI Summit, and GDC 2014 was no exception as former Blizzard engineer Brian Schwab took the stage to deliver a thorough, frank presentation on the AI design of Hearthstone.

During his talk, Schwab outlined how Blizzard went about creating challenging artificial intelligence for its recently-released deck battler that would present an obvious — but not overwhelming — threat. He also offers a good rundown of the broader trials and triumphs the Hearthstone team faced as the game evolved from paper prototypes to a lightweight, Unity-driven cross-platform competitive card game.

The whole talk he gives is informative on on both iteration and design. You can watch the video of it here.

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