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on 1 November 2004
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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