Welcome to Tech Makers, a Ubisoft podcast. In this first series, we’re celebrating 5 years of innovation at La Forge. In this exclusive sneak peek, you will meet the people working on some of the video game industry’s most promising innovations. Get ready to learn more about the project’s origins and discover various prototypes and breakthroughs whose impacts are felt far beyond the world of gaming.
Tech Makers was directed by Bruno Guglielminetti and produced by Stéphane Berthomet (Go-script média), about the origin and development of some of the most exciting innovations in the video game industry. Hosted by David Usher, founder, and creative director of Reimagine AI, this five-episode podcast will show you how researchers and industry professionals alike convert their hypotheses into prototypes that have tangible effects on games loved by millions of fans around the world:
Episode 1—LA FORGE
In this first episode, you will dive into the world of the founders of Ubisoft La Forge, research, and development lab, which is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. Travel back in time to its creation and discover its many impacts, triumphs, and of course … its failures.
Guests: Yves Jacquier (Executive Director—Ubisoft La Forge), Olivier Pomarez (Director of Development—Ubisoft La Forge) and Cédric Decelle (VP Technology —Ubisoft Montréal)
In this second episode, we explore how scientists at La Forge are revolutionizing video game characters and how text-to-speech technology is helping our artists improve and refine the gaming experience by making character voices more realistic. You will also learn about Choreograph—a prototype that anticipates the movements of playable characters and gives them a fluidity like those recorded in motion capture.
Guests: Marc-André Carbonneau (R&D Scientist and Director of a team of researchers on speech and sound machine learning—Ubisoft La Forge—TTS), Ylva Ferstl (R&D Scientist—Ubisoft La Forge, Toronto), David Coulombe (Production Manager — Services) and Raphaël Saint-Pierre (Engine Programmer—Far Cry)
Episode 3 — ENVIRONMENTS
In this third episode, we discuss the Torch prototype, which combines physics and programming to improve on traditional methods of animating fluids such as water, air, and fire. We also dig into the differences between academic and corporate environments, and how La Forge manages to bring these two worlds together through research and development.
Guests: Shahin Rabbani (Director of Scientific Research and Development—Ubisoft La Forge—Torch) and Claude Langlais (Director Pipeline Information)
In this fourth episode, we explain how the SmartNav prototype manages to create more realistic and responsive behaviours for non-playable characters and how their design enhances the immersive experience for players in various open-world games.
Guests: Joshua Romoff (Research Scientist at Ubisoft—Ubisoft La Forge—SmartNav), Gabriel Robert (Technical Lead—Ubisoft La Forge) and Julien Varnier (Technical Architect for AI & Gameplay—Far Cry 5, 4 & 3)
Episode 5— BEYOND TECH
In this final episode, our experts discuss innovations beyond gaming. For example, how the self-driving cars in Watch Dogs can teach kids the basics of machine learning, how AI can raise climate-change awareness by simulating its possible consequences, and how our research is helping counter dangerous online behaviours thanks to some unexpected allies…
Guests: Elisabeth Doyon (Student at Université de QUébec à Montréal(UQAM)— CSM AI for kids), Amanda Jarrell ([MURL], User Research Project Manager—Ubisoft—ToxBuster) and Andrea Feder (Production Manager — Ubisoft La Forge)
All the episodes are also available on all streaming platforms.
A podcast produced by Ubisoft La Forge.
Production: Josée Laterreur, Marie-Line Paquet
Executive production: Stéphane Berthomet – Go-Script media
Director: Bruno Guglielminetti
Animation: David Usher
Editorial direction: Yves Jacquier, Olivier Pomarez, Andrea Feder, Josée Laterreur
Production assistant: Sophie Thifault
Public Relations: Antoine Leduc-Labelle
Enjoy your listening!
Want to know more about our research and development initiatives? Take a look at our Ubisoft La Forge program page.