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AI Game Programming Wisdom (AI Game Programming Wisdom (W/CD)) Hardcover – April 3, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Rabin is a Principal Software Engineer at Nintendo of America, where he researches new techniques for Nintendo's next generation systems, develops tools, and supports Nintendo developers. Before Nintendo, Steve worked primarily as an AI engineer at several Seattle start-ups including Gas Powered Games,WizBang Software Productions, and Surreal Software. He managed and edited the AI Game Programming Wisdom series of books, as well as the book Introduction to Game Development, and has over a dozen articles published in the Game Programming Gems series. He's spoken at the Game Developers Conference and moderates the AI roundtables. Steve teaches artificial intelligence at both the University of Washington Extension and at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. He earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering and an M.S. in Computer Science, both from the University of Washington

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Product Details

  • Series: AI Game Programming Wisdom (W/CD)
  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Charles River Media; 1 edition (April 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584500778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584500773
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Paolo Gaudiano on June 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because of one particular article on swarm simulations. Once I got the book I was amazed by the breadth of topics and by the quality of the articles. I found myself leafing through the entire book and exploring the CD-ROM.
The book is well written and nicely organized into logical sections. Where space considerations prevented an author from going into great detail, the companion CD-ROM and the list of references gave great opportunities to explore the subject further.
I should also mention that my background is not in gaming, but more in scientific applications and consulting. This book is an excellent reference even for non-gamers. It is sufficiently general in its coverage to allow me to understand the context of each article, and sufficiently detailed that I would feel comfortable implementing any of the algorithms presented.
In all, this is an excellent book that should be equally useful to gaming enthusiasts, programmers, and other technical people looking for a solid reference that covers a number of interesting algorithms, techniques and approaches to some challenging computational problems.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tyler C. Folsom on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Artificial Intelligence" means different things to different people. One useful application is the control of nonplayer characters (NPC) in video games. This is the first book to address this field. Like any collection of papers, it is uneven and does not systematically cover the subject. It should be read in conjunction with a traditional AI text, such as Murphy "Introduction to AI Robotics", Russell and Norvig "Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach", Tom Mitchell "Machine Learning" or perhaps Bruce Blumberg's forthcoming "Synthetic Characters".
I teach AI at DigiPen Institute of Technology and made this one of the required books. It is good in showing which techniques are most useful in games and what you need to consider when designing your AI. Some papers are overly general and some are too specific. That's probably unavoidable, but game programmers can pick and choose the most appropriate ideas. Unfortunately, some of the better introductory articles on A*, finite state machines, flocking and fuzzy logic are not in this book but in "Game Programming Gems".
Once you understand the basics of AI, this book can save some major headaches by helping with the selection of an appropriate architecture. The CD has source code to help you get off to a good start. Reading the appropriate articles will let you anticipate problems before they happen and design around them. Professional game programmers will likely find at least one technique that pays back the cost of the book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amit Patel on July 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to find good information about game programming and design. The trouble is that people working in the industry have an incentive to keep their techniques secret -- they don't want their competitors to learn them. The people who aren't in the industry can write about games but don't have the experience to back it up.
Game AI Programming Wisdom gives us wisdom from people who have worked on real games. Each section is a short explanation of a particular problem (like pathfinding, tactical reasoning, or pattern recognition). Since they're short and independent, you can pick the section that applies to the problem you're trying to solve and read that without having to read everything in order. However, each section is written by a different person, so if you try to read the book straight through you will be distracted by the change in writing styles and level of detail.
I'm quite glad to see this book. It's actually the first game programming/design book that I purchased. (I'm quite picky when it comes to books. I'm sure Amazon doesn't like that.) Most of the game books I see go into low level programming details. This book teaches you the principles and techniques that will be useful for more than the specific problems they cover.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dave Mark on March 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being in the game development business, I am always on the lookout for new and different tricks, techniques and strategies. When most programmers go to the lectures, panels and roundtables at the Game Developers Conference, we are looking to pick up this same sort of material... we share ideas and approaches - but rarely get the chance to get down to the code details to make it easy for us to implement those ideas into our own work. This book makes that possible.
Along the lines of the other "Gems" series of books, this collection is filled with ACTUAL techniques and code chunks that are used by some of the top professionals in the industry. Just flipping through the list of the contributors to the book is like going around the room at one of the AI roundtables at the GDC... in fact, Steve Woodcock and Neil Kirby are 2 of the "3 AI guys" that RUN those roundtables! (The 3rd being Eric Dybsand who has contributed to the "Gems" series but not this title.)
Many books on game development are informative. This one is actually USEFULL. I have personally adopted Steve Rabin's source code from the section "Implementing a State Machine Language" into my own game and it has saved me many hours of development and improved the readability and understandability of my code for the rest of the team. Just that section alone has netted at least a 1000:1 return on the cost of this book. Other sections have given me a different approach on how to handle the economic strategy layer that I could have come upon myself... but was able to implement a lot quicker than if I had done it myself. It was definately worth the price.
Are any of these sections worth the purchase price for YOU? I suppose that depends on how much you value you your time. Once you equate the cost of the book to the man hours you save, it's a no brainer!
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