Why Your Game AI Needs Modular Behaviors

Alex J. Champandard on May 28, 2007

In the latest generation of games, the complexity of behaviors is still increasing from a design perspective. Accordingly, the code and data needed to implement these is also becoming harder to manage.

Modular behaviors provide the basics for any solution to the problem:

  • The amount of work to be done in reduced by promoting re-use.

  • The workflow is more manageable as labor is easier to divide up.

  • Less content is necessary to implement simple behavior designs.

  • More advanced designs for behavior become manageable.

AI engines are often designed to enable these features, and using modularity is a good way to achieve that.

Halo AI BehaviorsA subset of all the behaviors for Halo 2.

In practice, you’ll notice behavior modularity when making a game with the following signs.

  1. Behaviors can be applied to any game entity that supports the required functionality.

  2. It’s easy for programmers to add new behaviors to the engine.

  3. Designers or scripters can easily reuse other existing behaviors.

  4. Behaviors can be reused in multiple levels, different actors.

So, let’s get into more technical details, what do these modular behaviors look like?

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