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Programming Game AI By Example (Wordware Game Developers Library) 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1556220784
ISBN-10: 1556220782
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Programming Game AI by Example stands out from the pack by providing industrial-strength solutions to difficult problems, like steering and goal-oriented behavior. Mat guides the reader toward building a foundation robust enough for real games. This book is a must-have for anyone new to the field, and has tips for the seasoned professional as well. I wish I had read it eight years ago!"
---Jeff Orkin, AI architect, Monolith Productions, No One Lives Forever 2 and F.E.A.R

"...a nice combination of a lot of really useful information, put together in a way that doesn’t make my brain leak."
---Gareth Lewis, Project leader, Lionhead Studios, Black & White 2

"Each chapter of Mat’s book gently introduces the reader to a fundamental game AI technology before expanding the new idea into a fully formed solution replete with extensive code and clearly worded examples. The tone of the book is uncomplicated and accessible to the reader, allowing a novice programmer the opportunity to get to grips with the basics of game AI programming by implementing their own systems direct from theory or expanding upon code examples offered to gain understanding in a sandbox environment. Once individual technologies are fully understood, the book goes on to combine these ideas into several complete game environments allowing the reader to understand the relationships between the interacting systems of an overarching game architecture."
---Mike Ducker, AI programmer, Lionhead Studios, Fable

"Using easy-to-follow and well-described examples, this book shows you how to use most of the techniques professional AI programmers use. A great introduction for the beginner and an excellent reference for the more experienced!"
---Eric Martel, AI programmer, Ubisoft, Far Cry (XBox)

"Programming Game AI by Example is an excellent book for the game programming neophyte, the intermediate programmer, and even the expert - it doesn’t hurt to go over familiar ground, does it? The book concisely covers all of the important areas, including basic maths and physics through to graph theory and scripting with Lua, to arm any programmer with the tools needed to create some very sophisticated agent behaviours. Unusually for books of the type, Programming Game AI by Example is solid in its software engineering too, with the example code demonstrating game uses of familiar design patterns. I’d have no qualms about recommending Programming Game AI by Example to any programmer. It’s an excellent read and an excellent springboard for ideas."
---Chris Keegan, Technical director, Climax Studios (Solent)

About the Author

Mat Buckland is a freelance programmer and writer. He became interested in AI when he coded Waddington’s Monopoly for the ZX Spectrum way back in the ’80s, and over the years his passion for making computers "think" has never faded. He is the author of the book AI Techniques for Game Programming and the founder of ai-junkie.com, a popular web site that specializes in AI tutorials. He is also a member of the AI Interface Standards Committee and co-hosts the AI round table at the European Game Developers Conference.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wordware Game Developers Library
  • Paperback: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 1 edition (September 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556220782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556220784
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By vrkaya on October 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is simply one of the best AI texts that I have ever seen. The author has the ability (as those others who have visited his website will attest - [...] ) to take complex topics and break them down into simple, logical steps that make sense even to novice programmers such as myself.

Throughout this book, he does that time and time again. He gives thorough examples and describes them very well. These are not "baby" examples that serve only to highlight this or that point - he delivers real, working examples that you could plug right into your own game or simulation. Take Chapter 4, for example. It is an elegant sports simulation of a Soccer match. This single chapter is worth the price of the entire book, in my opinion.

The examples are cool. The code is modern and efficient. The techniques are those in use today.

For years, I would buy a book on AI Programming, only to find that techniques were only hinted at and not fully explained. It was like, with those authors, they were keeping some mysterious trade-secrets all to themselves.

This author doesn't do that. He is confident enough to give you everything you need to know to program your own AI. Be it a Finite State Machine, an intricate sports simulation, or fuzzy logic - just to name a few of the topics you will find in this book. If you have his other book, you know that he is also adept at Neural Nets and GA.

So, my advice is biased because I have read this book and I love it. I think you will, too. Buy this book. You won't regret it.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many game development books, and this is definitely one of the best ones out there. Just by flipping through the pages, you can see right away how much care Mr. Buckland has taken in writing this book. There are a plethora of diagrams and code examples, and the layout and organization is excellent. The balance between theory and implementation is just right. The writing style is concise and the book covers a lot of material, yet it is enjoyable and painless to read. Personally I also like the fact that the book is physically compact so it fits easily on my desk :)

By far though, my favorite aspect of the book is the "real-life" examples he gives. It's easy to skim over all the theory without really "absorbing" the material, but when you see the concrete examples, it jogs your brain and gets you thinking about how to actually apply it. For example, when discussing the basic idea of "states", he doesn't just make up a contrived example and leave it at that; he gives several examples from actual types of games. For example, a Quake style bot might implement FindArmor, FindHealth, SeekCover, and RunAway. Even the weapons may implement mini state machines like Move, TouchObject, and Die.

Digging deeper into the actual content of the book, it covers all of the practical topics an AI programmer should know, such as FSMs, pathing, group behavior, scripting, fuzzy logic, etc. All topics are explained in enough detail that you can incorporate them comfortably in your game, and if you want to learn more, you have a solid foundation to build on. As it says in the book, being an AI programmer isn't just about memorizing a handful of techniques, but also about how to apply them in combination.
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Format: Paperback
Misleading Title

This book has a misleading title. I think this book should be called "Fundamentals of Game Development" instead of Programming Game AI by Example. Sure the book delivers on what it promises, as so many reviewers have already mentioned, but I believe that his book teaches you something that no other book that at least I am aware of teaches - good software practices coupled with actual game development.

There are dozens of books available in the market today claiming to teach you Game Architecture. I will not name the exact titles of such books but you know what I am talking about. I have read so many such books only to find myself becoming a graphics programmer. Not that I didn't want to become a graphics programmer, but even after learning all that stuff, there was "something" missing. That something turns out to be design patterns related to game development. In other words, how to combine various game components together into a working game. The last place I expected to learn it in such an elegant and easy to understand manner was in an AI book.

It's my sincere belief that this is the best book on game development available in the market. Read that again, not just AI but Game Development. Thats right, no matter which of the numerous disciplines of game development you wish to specialize in, no matter which platform or technologies you want to develop for, you need this book. Period.

The book starts off with the most relevant mathematics chapter that I have found in any game development book. Maybe I'm stupid, but this was the only book that explained to me what a radian was!
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