Game AI Roundup Week #1 2008: 3 Stories, 1 Demo, 2 Audio

Alex J. Champandard on January 5, 2008

On this first Saturday of the new year, there are some really good Smart Links for you, including some multi-media entertainment. Be sure to contact me if you have any news or tips for next week!

Remember there’s a mini-blog over at (RSS) with game AI news from the web as it happens.

Game AI Roundup

Poker-Playing Bots Are Closing In

CBC recently had a radio show about the University of Alberta’s Polaris poker playing agent, including an interview with Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer. Polaris recently lost against two of the best human players in the world, but it’s only a matter of time before they can bluff better too!

Podcast 1:’s extract of the CBC radio show.

Taking Co-Op Games Further with AI

Jim Rossignol over at Computer and Video Games writes an interesting article about the future of cooperative games, and notably how artificial intelligence can help the process of designing co-op games:

“With a second character on hand, often controlled by smart AI during a single player session, there’s an option for player two to drop in and play through a level with their chum. It’s not just a case of adding a model for player two, it’s a matter of making the second character absolutely integral to how the game works. How long, we wonder, before the big shots like Half-Life 2 have a second playable protagonist?”

Chess Game with AI in 5k of Javascript!

Chess Java-Script

Don’t forget to view the source!

Self-Playing Games

Eruditio Loginquitas writes about automated testing and interactive verification of game design:

“The game developers just run the game for hundreds of thousands of times and even upwards of 1.5 million times to “teach” the game improved strategies. What they found was intriguing. Those games benefited from playing with people, with human-assisted learning.”

There’s an interesting reference to a white paper at the bottom of the post, which I posted in the forum for a future issue of the Thursday theory column. (Just sign-up and introduce yourself to see the papers.)

Artificial Stupidity and Level Designers

A podcast over at triggered an discussion about the use of scripting in level design. In particular, a level in Halo 3 that could have used a little more polish. I wrote about it in an editorial yesterday also.

Podcast 1: Anger, Sadness and Envy Episode 4: The Storm

Be sure to read the comments of OldNick’s blog post.

Biologically Inspired AI for Games

Biologically Inspired Artificial Intelligence for Games

I noticed via Daniel Livingstone that the book Biologically Inspired Artificial Intelligence for Computer Games
, which covers game AI from a computational intelligence perspective. The book includes coverage of neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, artificial immune systems, and swarms.

This book has been in the pipeline for a while now; I wrote a tentative foreword about it three years ago! But it’s great to finally see the book (almost) on the shelves. Stay tuned to for a review of this book in the near future hopefully!

Stay tuned next week for more game AI links from the web!

Discussion 1 Comments

Andrew on January 5th, 2008

Interestingly; [quote]How long, we wonder, before the big shots like Half-Life 2 have a second playable protagonist?[/quote] It already had co-op in Half Life 1's Dreamcast "Half Life: Decay" - playable by two humans who needed to co-operate, and also contained the only case of playing as the "bad guys" - you could play a set of special vortigaunt levels. Nevermind Sven Co-op which allowed players to join in groups and play the singleplayer maps :) It would be good if you had an allied associate with "good enough" AI to follow as a player would, but it'd be difficult not to script a lot of it due to the amount of jumping, duct crawling and other problems such as linking the correct animations up (especailly for going through ducts!). If it was made to be an inherantly co-op experience, well, we'd get Gears Of War like games, which are fine - you are always with at least 1 other NPC, and the story revolves around team conflict. Half Life 2 however actually forces you away from NPC's at various times, for plot and difficulty to code reasons (like the aforementioned ducts and jumping things). The article was neat - and some good developer notes on the difficulty and problems revolving around co-op, but some examples (like Sven co-op from the modding side) are missed, and not much is said why perhaps it works well in Gears of War and Rainbow 6: Las Vegas, but not so much in other games, which could feasibly have them in, like Half Life.

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