In one of my less productive early morning sit downs i stumbled upon this talk by Torsten Reil-

http://www.ted.com/talks/torsten_reil_studies_biology_to_make_animation.html

-he discusses his work on computer animation and a new approach that they were taking in 2003 (when this was filmed), where the act of animating a specific set actions of a figure in a computer game would be replaced by the idea that the developers would instead simulate a virtual nervous system based on our own growing knowledge of the human nervous system. This would then be given control of some virtual body parts and given time and direction to evolve.

"Spooky", was my first reaction when looking at how these figures were gradually growing and learning - artificial intelligence growing on its own (within the limits of the creators of paramaters of course...but still - spooky no?)

Aaanyway, while I watched this short presentation I began to wonder how this technology has been applied to gaming in general in the last few years. While I had played extremely intelligent games like Half Life 2 - where the physics engine was ground breaking and a whole new level of reality had been achieved - i still didnt feel like i had seen the posibilities and the element of individuality within a game that this technology provided... perhaps the development had to wait for other facets of computer game production to develop?

Well i did a little investigation and stumbled upon this gem. A new sports game is due to be released this Autumn on the XBOX 360 and PS3 (maybe others) called Backbreaker - never has an american football game had a more apt name. This game boasts the realism and individuality that gamers seek in sports games and that Mr. Reil was demonstrating back in 2003. For the first time we are seeing true intelligent gameplay and near human movement and chance.

"Every Tackle is Different"

I dont even like American Football, but im gonna give this one a go... have a look.. simply brilliant... and there is so much room for improvement!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwoVwZIvYhE]