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Artificial Intelligence for Computer Games: An Introduction Hardcover – Jul 29 2004
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"He presents advanced AI research in a way that is meaningful to the working game AI programmer." -Craig Reynolds, Slashdot, January 2005
About the Author
John Funge is a co-founder and leading scientist at a new Silicon Valley based company focusing on AI effects for computer entertainment. John previously worked at Sony Computer Entertainment America's (SCEA) research lab. Before that John was a member of Intel's Microcomputer Research Lab (MRL). He received a B.Sc. in Mathematics from King's College London in 1990, an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Oxford University in 1991, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 1998. John is the author of numerous technical papers and his first book "AI for Games and Animation: A Cognirive Modeling Approach" is one of the first to take a serious look at AI techniques in the context of computer games and animation. His current research interests include computer games, machine learning, knowledge representation, and new democratic methods.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Before getting into the book I have to mention the code. You get your first glimpse of code on page seventeen where a class header is shown. The class name is tgGameState. Any guess what "tg" stands for? Neither do I. He tries to save on space by having functions with partial words like "inline getNumCharacters()", but the follows it with a pointless comment // Get the number of characters. In appendix B (Programming) it says that code is written to be as easy to understand as possible and is therefore not that efficient. If he had wanted to go for readability he would have expanded the function names, removed the pointless comment, and ditched all the inlines and not of even mentioned the constructor, deconstructor (which aren't defined in the book anyway) etc. It would have been much better to use sudo code.
Onto the actual book. My mention of the reference O'reilly books wasn't just to point out the size. This book really does feel like a jumping off point for AI in computer games. topics are briefly mentioned, but never really gone into depth and to make it sound complicated greek symbols are used when showing a formula. I would have appreciated five or six footnotes per pages telling where to get more information, but most of the time there wasn't (but there was a lot in the back). The first two chapters where more of a crash course in game design. So by the time I was on chapter three and on page 33 you can tell that was nervous that i was 1/3 through the book and really hadn't gotten into any sort of real AI stuff. but it picks up from there. There are a lot of hints for how to integrate AI into games. For example a Non-player controller (NPC) could have an arrow drawn on its chest (where it thinks the player is) and other visuals indicating its internal state. One neat idea was that your NPC could have several decision making units that could be swapped out. When really close to the player the most CPU intensive one would be used and when far away in the locked room the "stand still" one could be used. Perception, Mood, Remembering, Searching, some basic physics were all touched upon. In chapter 7 it gets very close to mentioning/talking about genetic algorithms, but alas it was not to be.
The title really should have had "an introduction" in it. I expected it to be bigger with more in-depth explanations that didn't leave me hanging. On the plus side I found out the name of the orc on the cover is named "Fluffy". For an easy read that is fairly high level on this topic this book isn't that bad, but you probably want to compliment it will others.
The book did seem short when I first saw it, but there's a surprising amount of content here. For me it was a perfect intro to game AI and a great book to start with for anyone who would like to learn more about the subject.
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