Premium Tutorials

A Guide to Creating Rich and Varied Behaviors (F.E.A.R. 2 AI Analysis)
Premium Tutorial March 31st, 2011

A Guide to Creating Rich and Varied Behaviors (F.E.A.R. 2 AI Analysis)

With single player campaigns of first-person shooters expected to last 10h, it's important for the enemy soldiers to exhibit diverse behaviors. You don't want your players getting bored! When there are many enemies on screen, and multiple waves descend on the player's position, this can particularly be a problem. How do you add more variety and diversity to the AI's combat behaviors?

Level Design and AI Integration: Methods and Tools
Premium Tutorial March 21st, 2011

Level Design and AI Integration: Methods and Tools

As Jay Wilbur once said, "Level Design is where the rubber hits the road." No matter how great your programming or how well designed your NPC behaviors, a level designer can make your work look like the most terrible or amazing AI ever built!

Influence Maps from A to Z: Representation, Algorithm and Parameters
Premium Tutorial March 13th, 2011

Influence Maps from A to Z: Representation, Algorithm and Parameters

An AI's decisions are only as good as the information it gets, so for things like tactical and strategic reasoning influence maps are a critical component. They help not only at the individual level for picking positions, but also deciding where to attack or build bases. In fact, it's safe to say the more you use influence maps at all levels of your game AI the better it will be overall!

Building Your Own AI Director for Fun and Pacing
Premium Tutorial March 5th, 2011

Building Your Own AI Director for Fun and Pacing

Increasingly, emergence is not enough to build compelling gameplay experiences. You need some kind of monitoring of the player's behavior, allowing you to controlling the game's flow towards states that you know to be fun. That's where AI Directors come in, providing a layer of adaptive logic that improves upon near-random experiences.

Techniques for Procedural Generation of Levels and Gameplay
Premium Tutorial October 12th, 2010

Techniques for Procedural Generation of Levels and Gameplay

While many games use procedural generation of geometry to reduce the workload of artists, more developers are experimenting with procedural levels for gameplay reasons. This is something that classic games on older platforms did regularly, however as Soren Johnson (Lead AI & Gameplay on CIVILIZATION 4) said recently: “I'm afraid it's becoming a bit of a lost art.”

Debug Rendering and Visualization Frameworks for AI & Gameplay
Premium Tutorial May 15th, 2010

Debug Rendering and Visualization Frameworks for AI & Gameplay

Fixing bugs remains one of the most time consuming tasks for game developers, and no matter how careful you are with architectural choices or automated testing, problems will creep in at the worst possible time! In terms of AI, decision making processes are often quite complex, and as such, debugging AI often requires significant help from debug visualization.

Programming Utility Systems for Single Decisions in Practice
Premium Tutorial April 26th, 2010

Programming Utility Systems for Single Decisions in Practice

AI programmers have been applying variations of utility systems for decades, and in many cases the problems are so simple it's not worth thinking twice about! However, it's extremely useful to spot utility-based decisions patterns in your code so you can use common techniques when trying to extend your AI — or simply prevent problems later on in the project.

Finite State Machines, Hierarchical Graphs and Beyond...
Premium Tutorial March 22nd, 2010

Finite State Machines, Hierarchical Graphs and Beyond...

Finite state machines (FSM) are used very often in games, more so than any other approach. But is the graph representation more useful than the control technique itself? How can we leverage that without the usual disadvantages?

Understanding Decision Boundaries: How to Preempt Bugs and Increase the Realism of Behaviors
Premium Tutorial February 18th, 2010

Understanding Decision Boundaries: How to Preempt Bugs and Increase ...

Building an AI that doesn't oscillate or ignore important events can be quite a challenge in practice. However, looking the AI from a different perspective can often offer some new design insights on such problems, for example by considering points in-between behaviors. Watch this design masterclass about decision boundaries and find out why it was called "mind-opening" by multiple attendees!

Behaviors By Example: Patrolling and Hiding in Cover
Premium Tutorial January 27th, 2010

Behaviors By Example: Patrolling and Hiding in Cover

Building behaviors for a game or simulation is an incremental process involving both the building blocks at the C++ level, and the way they are combined to create the AI. A key part of this process is reviewing and improving the code and the behaviors — and figuring out what the next iteration should be.