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Creating robust artificial intelligence is one of the greatest challenges for game developers. AI is increasingly important to games, and a game's commercial success is often dependent on the quality of the AI. However, AI is still not well understood by many developers, and it is often tacked on late in the development process. There remains tremendous room to improve the quality of AI in games. In his new book, Ian Millington brings extensive professional experience to this problem. A game developer since 1987, he was founder of Mindlathe Ltd., at the time the largest specialist AI company in gaming. Ian shows how to think about AI concepts from the start as an integral part of the game play, describes numerous examples from real games, and explores these ideas in-depth through detailed case studies. Plentiful C++ source code examples are included on the CD-ROM to illustrate implementation. He goes further to introduce many techniques currently unknown to developers, and discusses types of AI specific to different genres of games, such as driving or sports games. A comprehensive, professional tutorial and reference to implement true AI in games written by an engineer with extensive industrial experience.
Posted August 9, 2010
Artificial Intelligence for Games by Ian Millington and John Funge covers lots of topics but is mainly designed to help the reader to master one element of game development which is artificial intelligence (AI). The book covers a wide range of techniques for game AI including detailed explanations of AI algorithms, their purpose and usage.
As I have learnt from this book, artificial intelligence is about making computers able to perform some thinking tasks that human and animals are capable of. This includes superhuman abilities in solving many arithmetic, sorting, searching and decision making problems. This book shows how it can be achieved revealing a range of techniques to the reader.
The book is split into five parts: introduction for AI in games, the substance of the AI (movement, pathfinding, decision making, tactical and strategic reasoning, learning), technologies and ways of implementation that enable the AI to do its job and finally designing game AI.
I think this book could be aimed at a wide range of readers but is most suitable for those looking for solid understanding of game AI and comprehensive reference to techniques used in top studios. The book helps to gain a deep and thorough view on modeling complex emotional states, triggers, and behaviors. To get the most from the book, you have to manage some time to read it and to understand its contents. If you need a quick AI solutions repository you should probably find another book related to a particular technology or computer language.
The book is associated with a website that contains a library of C++ source code covering the techniques found in the book. Hopefully the C++ code used in samples is relatively easy to read and includes many comments. There are also demonstration programs compiled as EXE files.
Besides many technical solutions to AI related issues I have also learnt from this book a few high-level things. For instance I have learnt that creating good AI is all about matching the right behaviors to the right algorithms and that often, a very simple technique used well can have better results then implementing complex the AI in the game.
This book is an open minder or a view broadener on many aspects related to the AI in games. It can also serve as a great example of good analysis, desing and prototyping examples of more or less complex algorithms which are about to use in specific projects. This is a very valuable title for any computer science professional dealing with Artificial Intelligence (for games).
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Posted September 18, 2011
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