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Artificial Intelligence for Computer Games: An Introduction [Hardcover]

John David Funge
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

29 July 2004 1568812086 978-1568812083
Learn to make games that are more fun and engaging! Building on fundamental principles of Artificial Intelligence, Funge explains how to create Non-Player Characters (NPCs) with progressively more sophisticated capabilities. Starting with the basic capability of acting in the game world, the book explains how to develop NPCs who can perceive, remember what they perceive, and then continue in the game play to think about the effects of possible actions, and finally learn from their experience. Funge considers the system architecture and explains how to implement potential behaviors (both reactive and deliberate) for intelligent and responsive NPCs allowing for games that are more fun and engaging. Emphasizing enduring design principles, Funge covers the basics of Game AI and provides a clear, easy to read introduction that beginning programmers and game designers will enjoy.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press (29 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568812086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568812083
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,242,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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)
First Sentence
Computer games, or perhaps more accurately, video games, began with the invention of "Tennis for Two" in 1958. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Short Gem 1 Nov 2004
By Mr AI
Format:Hardcover
This is a solid book covering a broad range of ground in a small space.
The first thing you notice is the size: at under 150 pages it is one of the smallest books in my technical bookshelf. In such a brief book (which still manages to contain lots of figures and source code snippets), you can't possibly hope to cover the subject in any depth, and Funge explicitly says that isn't his intent.
Instead he leads you through an overview of what AI means in a game context, and a broad summary of the techniques that are useful to learn. The bibliography provides a good set of references for learning more.
What is good about this book is that it shows you sensible things: John isn't making this stuff up, and the clear progressing is very helpful.
Perhaps the only criticism from a content point of view is his fascination with 'higher-level' AI that isn't used very much (or even at all) in current generation games: John has a consulting company that is trying to sell this kind of technology to games developers. This leaves many of the 'bread and butter' techniques under-represented, perhaps. But not enough to detract from the status of this book as an excellent practical overview.
I would recommend this book for developers who need to understand what AI is and how games can benefit from it.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the real thing 7 Sep 2004
By unaffiliated - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the best introduction to AI and computer games available. It's the first book in this area to combine knowledge of academic AI with knowledge of practical computer game development. Most books either are overly academic, with little practical relevance, or overly practical, with little academic substance. In contrast, this book presents a unified approach that begins with simple agents and works up to more complex agents that function in game worlds. The author emphasises enduring design principles, rather than enumerating a list of the latest gee-whiz techniques, which quickly date. The prose is refreshingly straightforward, and the author clearly explains all the concepts. This book is an ideal introduction, and is suitable for youngsters interesting in programming and making games, and also would make a good introductory textbook for a university game AI course. I have been working in the computer games industry for 20 years, yet still found new ideas in the later chapters.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A manual of basic techniques 5 Oct 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Artificial Intelligence For Computer Games by John David Funge is a solid, straightforward instructional text of basic artificial intelligence theory, the principles from which it derives, and how it is practically applied to program challenging and creative NPC behavior in popular computer games. Black-and-white diagrams and boolean logic symbols help drive the precepts home, though Artificial Intelligence For Computer Games does not contain any computer code per se - this is a manual of basic techniques that can generalize to any programming system. An absolute must-read for anyone striving to program or refine their own games.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The real title should include "intro" 22 Jan 2006
By Benjamin C. Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The first thing I noticed when I got it up was how thin it was. It reminded me of the small reference O'reilly books. Props for having a hardcover though. I think that it is really called "Artificial Intelligence for Computer Game An Introduction", but you would only know that by seeing it on the first page as that isn't on the cover, side or back.

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.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginners 28 July 2005
By G. Pugliese - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Well the reviewer above who said the book was worth 5 bucks totally missed the point of the book. This was not the typical 400-plus-page book chock full of code examples that could be dropped into an app and used as code modules. This book is specifically for those who would like a relatively quick, comprehensive overview of a lot of the main areas that computer game AI involves. None are gone into extremely deeply, but they don't need to be - that's not the point of the book.

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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction into AI programming in computer games. 26 May 2013
By igor ilyin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book gives an overview of current state of academic researches in the sphere of AI and describes in details specifics of implementation of AI in computer games.It manages to avoid both complications of math theory and deep details of game programming. Useful both for specialists in AI and for game developers as finds relevant intersection of both areas.
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