For so long, the computer gaming industry was concerned with making their products look and sound better - and for good reason. There have been many instructional books and articles that have paced the advances in graphics and sound technology. Game AI, however, has only recently come into the primary focus as the next frontier of game advancement and the resources available to AI programmers have been few and far between.
After spending time on game AI message boards, I have seen the endless torrent of people asking the simplest questions about game AI in general. I have also seen those who have a grasp of the basic tools but are unsure how to apply them in their situation. Also present are those who are looking for a better way to model larger problems but are faced with a wide array of academic, non-practical research and theories. "AI Game Development" caters to all of those people... from those that are learning the basics up through those that want to apply just that extra "nudge" to their projects. It fills a valuable need in the game development community to provide that "go to" tome to allow even the beginner to make steps in adding true interactive gameplay into his or her products.
So often people find a tool and look for a way to use it in their game. They fail to stand back and look at their problem and then select the correct tool, or combination of tools, for the job. Mr. Champandard has supplied the reader with reasonable examples and, more importantly, ways of thinking about and dissecting their problem so as to choose that correct tool.
Rather than a disjointed collection of tips and tricks, this book provides a smooth, overarching treatment of the concepts behind the AI. It explains why and what rather than how. Alex has a disciplined, outlined style that breaks down a very complex, multi-faceted subject into separate but connected stepping stones. Each one can be mentally processed alone, but always with the awareness that is a part of the whole series. The reader is not bombarded with pages of code, but is supplied with the reasons to make the code that way.
All in all, "AI Game Development" is an excellent piece of work from a very knowledgeable source and should be on the shelf of every game AI programmer. After all, as AI programmers, we ARE trying to build enemies, not targets!