- Series: AI Game Programming Wisdom (W/CD) (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 699 pages
- Publisher: Charles River Media; 1 edition (February 20, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584505230
- ISBN-13: 978-1584505235
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,282,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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AI Game Programming Wisdom 4 (AI Game Programming Wisdom (W/CD)) 1st Edition
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AI Game Programming Wisdom 2 is structured very much the same as the first book in the series. The articles are broken into similar sections, with the addition of a new section on finite-state-machines and splitting the section on learning into two. Having already covered the A* algorithm, its various optimizations, and navigation meshes in the previous books those topics are virtually absent here (though they may be buried as a secondary topic in some of the path-finding articles). I thought that the series had exhausted discussion of finite-state machines, but the editors managed to include a couple of interesting articles. The demand for more realistic AI behavior in character-based games in growing. And while a full simulation of emotions and human characteristics is unteneable, at the moment, there are some interesting ideas in the Learning section of the book e.g. "Motivational Graphs: A New Architecture for Complex Behavior Simulation.".
I can't say that this book is indispensible from an implementation perspective. Most of the articles are simply too vague - though there are notable exceptions throughout the entire series of books. What I found most useful in these articles was that they stimulated thought and helped to generate discussion among the programmers and designers at work.
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!