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Artificial Intelligence for Games (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3D Technology) [Hardcover]

Ian Millington
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Artificial Intelligence for Games Artificial Intelligence for Games 4.0 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

28 July 2006 0124977820 978-0124977822 Har/DVD

Creating robust artificial intelligence is one of the greatest challenges for game developers. The commercial success of a game is often dependent upon the quality of the AI, yet the engineering of AI is often begun late in the development process and is frequently misunderstood.

In this book, Ian Millington brings extensive professional experience to the problem of improving the quality of AI in games. 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 as an integral part of game play.

He describes numerous examples from real games and explores the underlying ideas through detailed case studies. He goes further to introduce many techniques little used by developers today. The book's CD-ROM contains a library of C++ source code and demonstration programs, and provides access to a website with a complete commercial source code library of AI algorithms and techniques.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press; Har/DVD edition (28 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0124977820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0124977822
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 19 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,029,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Ian Millington crosses the boundary between academic and professional game AI with his book Artificial Intelligence for Games. Most books either lack academic rigor or are rigorous with algorithms that won't work under the CPU constraints imposed by modern games. This book walks a line between the two and does it well. It explains algorithms rigorously while also discussing appropriate implementation details such as scheduling AI over time and using the right data structures. I will be using this book for my Game AI course." -Jessica D. Bayliss, Ph.D., Rochester Institute of Technology

"This is the first serious attempt to create a comprehensive reference for all game AI practices, terminology, and know-how. Works like this are badly needed by the maturing video games industry. Systematic yet accessible, it is a must-have for any student or professional." -Marcin Chady, Ph.D., Radical Entertainment

"This book promises to be the closest I've seen to what is needed in the field. I would highly recommend it for people in the industry." -John Laird, University of Michigan

"Ian Millington's book is a comprehensive reference to the most widely used techniques in game AI today. Any game developer working on AI will learn something from this book, and game producers should make sure their AI programmers have a copy." -Dr. Ian Lane Davis, Mad Doc Software

About the Author

Ian Millington is a partner of IPR Ventures, a consulting company developing next-generation AI technologies for entertainment, modeling, and simulation. Previously he founded Mindlathe Ltd, the largest specialist AI middleware company in computer games, working with on a huge range of game genres and technologies. He has a long background in AI, including PhD research in complexity theory and natural computing. He has published academic and professional papers and articles on topics ranging from paleontology to hypertext.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book excellent. CD no problems. 22 Jan 2007
I think the book covered enough for me to get a real interest in AI in general. I would recommend this to others who are wondering about the techniques used in games. In regards to the CD problems and lack of .exe, I'll admit I had some initial compilation problems. Ian could have added some further instructions on setup but hey! So here's how I got around it in Windows XP Pro:

1) Download Python from [...] (Current stable Windows version is 2.5, though any version after 2.3 is good). Install at 'C:\Pythonxx' for simplicity (xx is the version number).

2) Download SCons from [...] (Current stable Windows version is scons-0.96.1.win32.exe). Run the .exe and it will install in the Python directory you created.

3) Click Start->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Environment Variables. Under System Variables find the variable named 'Path' and edit on ';C:\Pythonxx' (Again xx is the Python folder name). OkK to all that and you are nearly there.

4) Open up a Windows Command Prompt from the Start->All Programs->Accessories.

5) Locate the build folder of the AI4G code through the prompt and enter 'scons'. That should be it.

Providing you have a valid compiler and have followed the steps above there should be a whole bunch of .exe files in the bin folder that is created in the AI4G folder. BTW I compiled from the latest source on Ians website [...]
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag 24 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very thorough overview of AI techniques used for computer games. Artificial Intelligence in the game context is not particularly similar to academic research in the subject: the goal is not to explore how computers can understand their environment, analyse and make decisions, but rather how to create an environment that is suitable challenging and stimulating for human players. The game environment also has its own peculiar requirements on realtime response and possibly limited memory footprint. This book is a very practical introduction, each algorithm is presented as easily readable pseudocode with a complexity analysis, and there is an accompanying website and CD with actual C++ code.
The author makes a commendable effort to cover as much of possible applications and frequently comments on what methods in his experience have proven to be useful and effective and which are more effort to implement than they turn out to be useful. It is a sad note on the culture of computer gaming that the majority of the methods and algorithms are focussed on the motion of military units in war games and how to make these as realistic as possible.

I found the book a very useful introduction to the area.

The main thing that drags down my rating is the annoyingly frequent proof-reading errors--particularly insidious as the spelling and grammar is all but perfect, presumably thanks to automated help. Instead entirely wrong words have been substituted, often completely inverting the meaning of the text, so that "convex" becomes "concave", "iteration" becomes "algorithm", etc.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book excellent. CD not so 13 Oct 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Huge book crammed with nearly every basic AI technique you'll need for games. The use of PseudoCode is a great idea. I've had the book for a few days and it's amazing how easy it is to dip into. If you liked the AI Game Programming Wisdom books but found you missed some of the base structure this book is perfect.

The big downside is the CD. After the use of pseudocode to bypass any language bias the code on the CD is C++ (ok, that's fair) ***but*** there are no exes.

Instead I found myself downloading and installing scons and Python before getting 'compile' errors. The supporting website isn't yet activated so this might be the first thing addressed but, for now, it's a bit of an oversight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressed, this is well worth it. 18 Aug 2006
By Adam Larson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been fascinated with AI for a long time, so I was excited to see this book. I own 3 other AI books, and all of them are really good. This book explains things in a way that is easy to understand. The author doesn't use any C++ in the book every algorithm is done in pseudo-code to make it easy to implement using any language. It is a definitive guide to the basic and not so basic AI techniques. The aicore that the author provides on the CD is well documented and is very helpful.

The book covers:

Steering behaviors


Decision Making

State Machines

Fuzzy Logic


Learning Behaviors


Teaching characters

And a break down of how a typical AI design is done in different types of games.

Just to give you a notion I am about 12 hours into this book. So I may add or change this as I get further along, but overall this is a must have book.

There are a few things that I personally don't like. One is no .exe are on the cd so everything has to be built. This is a new book, so maybe the author will build them and place them on his website. I would also like to see some solutions for Visual Studio on the cd. The author says several times he tries and makes the code as platform independent as possible, but It would be nice to have prebuilt .exe files at least so I can see the demo's in action.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Concepts Made Easy 17 Jun 2008
By Kevin Vitale - Published on
Understand that the pseudo-code approach this book takes is what makes it such a standout from the rest of the crowd. The author is technically thorough and the syntax is straightforward enough to use in any language needed. Moreover, it frees the author to discuss AI in abstract terms which, in the end, proves to be much more valuable content. C++ source code puts the pseudo-code discussions into practice for those looking for real-world examples.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book as a follow up to Mat Buckland's "Programming Game AI by Example" (Nov., 2004)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent C++ Source for AI 26 July 2008
By J. Wrenholt - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very solid book on AI for games.

The C++ source code provided with the book is excellent. While the examples are visually unexciting, they demonstrate the power of the book's principles without the clutter that a complete graphics game would require. I was able to compile and build all the examples on the CD in one evening. The code demonstrates many of the best practices of C++ programming and design patterns.

The author builds up a nice AI engine as you progress through the book. The C++ code from the CD (or web-site) is well commented and ties exactly into the pseudocode in the book.

Millington goes into considerable detail as he reveals the power of Artificial Intelligence for Games. He carefully explains each step including the math and physics required to carry out the execution. It is obvious that he has a great deal of experience in writing computer games. He shows you a clear solid way of doing things and then discussed the strengths and weaknesses by comparing it to other techniques and addressing possible optimizations.

To read and understand this book takes time and hard work. Artificial Intelligence is a large and complex topic in math and computer science programs. The author has brought many nuggets of wisdom from that branch of research and made them understandable and useful for game programmers. Not an easy job, but Millington is one of the best at explaining difficult concepts in a clear and straight forward way.

The other reviewer's that are knocking this book because of the code, don't know what they are talking about. The code is excellent and what makes this a 5-star pick.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great academic approach of AI 15 Sep 2008
By Albert - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is really good and is different from other ones in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Millington explains difficult stuff in an easy and readable way. I like the academic approach of the book, I used it during my last year in college and it turned out really useful. If you want implementation details you have the source code in c++. The use of pseudocode is the best idea when writing these sort of books.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of AI for game development 13 Feb 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've owned this book in hardcover for some time, and it's been such a valuable resource that I recently purchased the Kindle version so that I could refer to it directly on my computer via the Kindle Reader for Windows.

This book contains excellent coverage of steering behaviors, navigation and path planning, behavior trees and state machines, and goal-oriented action planning. Essentially everything we needed for our current project. Following the descriptions and mentally working through the pseudo-code examples, I have been able to create relatively high-performance and flexible implementations of all of the aforementioned components in the C# programming language for use in the Unity game engine.

I've owned a few other books on artificial intelligence for games, and this one is the most detailed and practical of them all. I definitely recommend picking up this book for anyone with an interest in the subject.
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