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Programming Game AI by Example (Wordware Game Developers Library) Paperback – 1 Oct 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Wordware Publishing Inc. (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556220782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556220784
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"…stands out from the pack by providing industrial-strength solutions to difficult problems, like steering and goal-oriented behavior. Mat guides the reader toward building a foundation robust enough for real games. This book is a must-have for anyone new to the field, and has tips for the seasoned professional as well. I wish I [had] read it eight years ago!"

Jeff Orkin

AI architect, Monolith Productions, No One Lives Forever 2 and F.E.A.R.
"…a nice combination of a lot of really useful information, put together in a way that doesn’t make my brain leak."

Gareth Lewis

Project leader, Lionhead Studios, Black & White 2
"Each chapter of Mat’s book gently introduces the reader to a fundamental game AI technology before expanding the new idea into a fully formed solution replete with extensive code and clearly worded examples. The tone of the book is uncomplicated and accessible to the reader, allowing a novice programmer the opportunity to get to grips with the basics of game AI programming by implementing their own systems direct from theory or expanding upon code examples offered to gain understanding in a sandbox environment. Once individual technologies are fully understood, the book goes on to combine these ideas into several complete game environments allowing the reader to understand the relationships between the interacting systems of an overarching game architecture."

Mike Ducker

AI programmer, Lionhead Studios, Fable
"Using easy-to-follow and well-described examples, this book shows you how to use most of the techniques professional AI programmers use. A great introduction for the beginner and an excellent reference for the more experienced!"

Eric Martel

AI programmer, Ubisoft, Far Cry (XBox)
"Programming Game AI by Example is an excellent book for the game programming neophyte, the intermediate programmer, and even the expert - it doesn’t hurt to go over familiar ground, does it? The book concisely covers all of the important areas, including basic maths and physics through to graph theory and scripting with Lua, to arm any programmer with the tools needed to create some very sophisticated agent behaviours. Unusually for books of the type, Programming Game AI by Example is solid in its software engineering too, with the example code demonstrating game uses of familiar design patterns. I’d have no qualms about recommending Programming Game AI by Example to any programmer. It’s an excellent read and an excellent springboard for ideas."

Chris Keegan

Technical director, Climax Studios (Solent)

About the Author

Mat Buckland is a freelance programmer and writer. He became interested in AI when he coded Waddington’s Monopoly for the ZX Spectrum way back in the ’80s, and over the years his passion for making computers "think" has never faded. He is the author of the book AI Techniques for Game Programming and the founder of ai-junkie.com, a popular web site that specializes in AI tutorials. He is also a member of the AI Interface Standards Committee and co-hosts the AI round table at the European Game Developers Conference.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mr AI on 17 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for hobbiest game developers, and professionals new to AI. It gives a good overview of some of the most interested areas of game AI, and practical solutions to make progress.
It is the first book I've seen that makes a good effort to present solutions that would actually be used in real games. Which surprised me, because Mat's first book on game AI was just like every other title I've read: a blend of hype and unusable technology. With this book he has come on by miles.
I'm AI programmer in the industry, and this is the first book I've seen that I could hand-on-heart recommend for real technology (John Funge's book is also good, but as an overview, not for practical implementation).
There are some bits (such as the scripting chapter) that are squarely aimed outside the industry, but provide superb material for a hobbiest. The majority of the book is filled with technology that covers the very basics of game AI for novice AI developers. And there are some bits (like the goal oriented behaviour chapter) that could actually benefit people working on commercial games.
There are bits I disagreed with, inevitably.
My biggest criticism of the book is its narrow scope. It covers a handful of AI techniques well, but doesn't talk about the tens of other techniques that game AI programmers need to use to get the game out of the door. It also misses lots of techniques used in particular game genres (it is focussed primarily on shooters, although there is a chapter with some small inspiration for sports games). Some of this is because of size, but it means that the book can only act as a taster and not a real reference book.
Mat's writing is chirpy and readable, and so far the code is reasonably correct and useful. I would recommend it if you are a hobbiest game developer, but its probably far beneath you if you already work in AI in the industry.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Darren Wood on 11 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
The book uses source code (C++) and UML diagrams to explain AI techniques that can be found in various games in a simple yet precise manner. Each chapter has a practical Visual C++ project, which can be used as a framework to expand on the ideas presented. I thoroughly recommend this book, not only for AI programmers, but programmers in general, as it re-inforces good software engineering practices in an industry that largely discards them.
Overall, an excellent book. This is how AI should be taught at University.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam S. Ung on 7 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a fantastic resource for AI Game Development. It showed me new techniques on implementing simple agents that displayed intelligent behaviour, without causing the resulting program to be a resource hog on the computer. It teaches 'weak' AI techniques instead of all the 'strong' AI I was taught at university. This makes the book more useful for game development and quite easy to follow. I found the most useful chapters were on building autonomous agents and the chapter devoted to pathfinding. This is not just the usual pathfinding techniques that show you how to get from A to B in the shortest distance, but how to set up your program in order to balance the need of your agents with the capabilities of the CPU, such that your agents wont slow down your program to an unbearable frame-rate, yet still show intelligent behaviour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TG on 8 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, it's a good read as it is so well written. There is an invaluable basic maths/physics primer at the

start (in fact I still refer to that section a year later). Then a nice gentle intro with FSMs (although, on my girlfriends orders, I had to rewrite the tasks given to the Miner's Wife). From there it's Steering Behaviours, Sports AI, Pathfinding etc (all the usual suspects) but the examples for each are superb. I did struggle slightly translating the code

(pseudo-code would have been nice) but that's a minor point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. T. Foster on 3 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book for game AI to get you started, the text reads fine and is easy to follow. The code on the other hand is rather messy, and I agree with the other reviewer that pseudo code would have been a better option - you have to read through all the authors little coding habits to root out what you need.

Still, worth a read because the AI descriptions are very well put together.
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Format: Paperback
I've bought this book along with AI Techniques for game programming - which I only later found are by the same author. It's been the best bang for the buck I've had in a long time.
The book is well written, clear and thorough both in the theory and the application of the various techniques it shows. The author takes pains to explain the math, to keep it simple and down to earth while avoiding oversimplification: math of pathing and steering can be tough even for the well versed, yet mr.Buckland succeeds in making it understandable and clear.
Giving examples and practical applications of the techniques helps a lot in making them "real things" and in allowing the reader to experiment and expand on them to understand better.
He manages to make even the relatively counter intuitive methods of fuzzy logic easy to grip and master.

Two thumbs up, a must have.
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Format: Paperback
This book is must have for all beginner game AI programmers.

The book does not bore you with academic babble about game and AI theory. It gives you many usable tips for implementing an AI that is really used in games. State machines, goal driven agents and fuzzy logic are all explained extensively and accompanied with working examples and source codes (downloadable from authors web page). In my opinion, the book is well written and has a good hands-on attitude. It helped me a lot when I was getting started with game AI programming.

For a seasoned professional the contents of this book might be to beginnerish and the scope of book does not cover very wide field of AI programming. It is still good book to get your AI's up and running.
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