28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A great book, with some significant gaps.
, 17 Jan. 2005
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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