Back in July 2005, O’Reilly Publishing published a new kind of AI book. This time, the authors David M Bourg and Glenn Seemann focused on game developers needs. Thus, AI for Game Developers is pretty free of useless academic discussion stuff-and focuses on things that one can use more-less immediately:
The book starts off with diverse primitive chase/evade algorithms. Full C++ sample programs are available on the books web site-the book is all in C++, but I had no mayor problems understanding the code with my mediocre C skills. Bresenham’s line algorithm, line-of-sight-chasing and intercepting are all explained in a pretty simple way that doesn’t require calculus-single-stepping the algorithms in your mind usually is enough.
Once the concept of chasing becomes clear, the book moves on to flocking and path finding. These chapters cover enough to let you directly implement the techniques to a game. A+ path finding is covered in an own chapter…
Scripted systems and rule based AI come next. There is nothing negative to say here either. However, the presentation of Bayesian Systems/probability was a bit too short for my taste. Finally, genetic algorithms and neural networks are covered-these chapters continue the general good style of the text. Each of the methods comes with a few optimization hints and other information about performance,… bottlenecks. This is especially helpful for Palm OS programmers-400MhZ isn’t all that much…
The book itself is manufactured in a sturdy fashion. It survived a month in my bag without mayor dents or pages tearing out-people who know me understand what a feat this is. A Parker 45 X was used for underlining words-the paper didn’t leak out too much to the other side.
Overall, this makes a good read. If you are new to game programming, you will get a quick start. If you are interested in a look at the broad fields of AI, this will show you a bit of everything. The text is clear and doesn’t need any higher understanding of mathematics (although you need some basic trig once to understand an optional note). Of course, none of the chapters is covered to a full extent-but if you know that something is there, it is easy to find out more. A good read-available for 27$ on Amazon!