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Chapter 4. FEAR: A Platform for Experimentation

Key Topics

Game AI generally takes a lot of work to implement—not directly for the AI techniques, but to integrate custom AI, or even middleware, within the game. This is an unavoidable consequence of current engine design, and can be difficult to deal with when starting out in AI development.

This book provides a real game for testing the AI, and not just a toy environment or command prompt. For this, the open source FEAR project is used, integrated with a commercial first-person shooter game engine. Some other game engines use similar frameworks to assist the AI development (but they're not as flexible). FEAR provides some helpful facilities, including the following:

  • World interfaces for the AI to interact with the game engine (physics simulation and logic)

  • Modules that implement AI functionality on their own or by depending on other modules

  • Flexible architectures that enable engineers to assemble arbitrary components together

  • Tools to create animats and their source files using minimal programming

As the combination of these elements and more, FEAR provides an ideal foundation for the examples in this book—and many other prototypes, thanks to its flexibility.

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