AI Techniques for Game Programming Paperback – Oct 14 2002
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"Game programming is without a doubt the most intellectually challenging field of computer science in the world. However, we would be fooling ourselves if we said that we are 'serious' people! Writing (and reading) a game programming book, should be an exciting adventure for both the author and the reader." Andre LaMothe, Series Editor
About the Author
Mat Buckland studied Computer Science at London University, then spent many years as a Risk Management Consultant. He went on to work for a developer producing games for Gremlin Software. He now works as a freelance programmer and AI consultant. Mat has been interested in evolutionary computing and AI in general since he first read about these techniques back in the early '80s. He is the author of the ai-junkie.com Web Site, which provides tutorials and advice on evolutionary algorithms.
Top Customer Reviews
The examples in the book are great. Each chapter takes you through a different small project that helps you to understand what is going on, as well as how it can be applied to games. And, as a bonus, the projects are actually interesting! I really got a kick out of showing my versions of them to people. I was able to code each of them myself in a day or two as I went, but the author's full source code and executables are included if you just want to take a look as you read.
If you are already pretty familiar with windows programming, you probably won't need to read the first two chapters, but they answered a lot of questions for me, and really I felt like the author knew what I was thinking. Later on in the book, there is a review of transforms and matrix math that I found to be a really good reference and refresher.
As a side note, the author wanted to title this book "Genetic Algorithms and Neural Networks for Game Programming," but his publisher didn't think it was 'snappy' enough. He's very active in the forums on his website, and he and others there have been a great help to me.
This book fits the bill perfectly. It is well written, humorous, clear and patient. The examples are interesting enough that you can see how they would be useful for solving other problems, not necessarily game related.
One caveat: if you don't have a decent intro to basic Win32 API programming, get Charles Petzold's Programming Win32 book and get busy. Yes, the first two chapters of AI Techniques are a Win32 refresher (which was good for me because I last wrote Win32 3 years ago...I now do Java only), but I'm pretty sure if you haven't seen it before you'll be lost.
BTW, just to give you an idea how clear the concepts were presented, I've recoded Chapters 3 and 5 as properly OOPed (MVC, etc) Java applications. Just MHO, but Java is a much better platform for this stuff. ...
Some extra stuff: The two first chapters explains windows programming. Wow!! In about 70 easily degistable pages you get the hang of windows programming!
What is great about the other two sections (genetic algÂ's and neural nets) is that they are explained in a very down-to-earth manner, with workable code-examples in every chapter.
What is preventing me from giving it five stars is that it initially makes a point of being written so easily that an idiot can understand it, and that a witty author and a casual style of writing will more readily impregnent the information in the readers mind. Well, the author TRIES to write in a casual way that will appeal to the average targeted reader (I assume male, 18 to 30 years of age), but unfortunately that effort only manifests itself in very occasional jokes trying to punch a hole through the otherwise stiff and professional language. Still, the material is very easily presented (even for a swedish reader), and much more casually written than virtually any book on AI so far; its just that the general tone and vocabulary is a bit more dull than it had to be.
Well, regardless of this criticism, this is the best book for anybody who wants to get a clear grasp of AI, and be able to implement it in code. BUY IT!!
I'm was also surprised by how much fun this book makes GAs and NNs. I assumed it was going to be hard work but the author has a knack for making everything seem so easy. Learning about these techniques has also given me a whole new perspective on some AI related issues.
...In a nutshell, if you want to learn about GAs and NNs then this is a great book which will fill you with excitement and help you approach AI problems in new and interesting ways.
Most recent customer reviews
The code is rather old (written in C/C++) but it is easy to understand and well explained.
It is a shame that the book has not been updated.
I really don't see why so many people freak out and pretend to be all upset because it covers use of the GDI at the beginning. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2003 by cowsarenotevil
The author demonstrates that it is possible to write about a subject as complex and academic as AI without boring your audience to tears. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2003
This is the only good book in what is a completely dreadful series. Andre LaMothe is regarded by so many as a publishing/editing/authoring god when it comes to programming books,... Read morePublished on July 15 2003 by Rob Sadedin
When I started reading this book, I was thinking why the stuff was familiar to me. Oops, it 's just a beginner guide to the Windows Programming. Read morePublished on June 18 2003 by Franz Wong
I would be lying if I said anything more than I was very disappointed. I had been waiting for this book to get published for a long time. Read morePublished on April 6 2003
This book is a well written introduction to Genetic algorithms and Neural Networks, without the usual dependence on high level math. Read morePublished on March 8 2003
A much needed book for game programmers, in particular those like me who are need to be told 'simply' and in a language that can be understood. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2003
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