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Customer Review

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book, with some significant gaps., 17 Jan. 2005
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This review is from: Programming Game AI by Example (Wordware Game Developers Library) (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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jun 2010 09:30:29 BDT
GD Campbell says:
I'm a touch sceptical about whether I'll get a response when the review was posted 5 years ago! :)

Thank you for the review, it helped me to decide on whether or not to purchase. I was wondering though, do you recommend any books to build upon what is started in this book?

As I said above, I'm sceptical of receiving a response, but thanks for any advice you can give.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2010 17:40:05 BDT
Mr AI says:
I didn't even know that these comments on reviews are here! Well, glad I got to reply before another 5 years go by.

Well, there's a book by John Funge and Ian Millington called "Artificial Intelligence for Games" that covers a much broader range of techniques Artificial Intelligence for Games. You might also want to join Alex Champandard's Game AI website, which has excellent resources (I don't much rate his book, however).

Posted on 8 Sep 2010 21:47:45 BDT
GD Campbell says:
Wow, thanks. I'd kinda given up hope of receiving a reply. The other book you mentioned looks like it could offer a good progression from this book. And I'm looking into the website right now. Thanks again for replying and offering your advice.
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