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Chapter 10. Steering Behaviors for Obstacle Avoidance

Key Topics

A world interface for movement allows any AI solution to be developed. It's generally a good idea to start with a simple solution for three main reasons. First, the validity of the interface specification in a practical fashion is checked. Second, it will provide a reference prototype in no time. Third, there will always be a working demo to show the producers and other team members.

Steering behaviors can be applied to solve the navigation problem reactively [Reynolds99]. A wide variety of different steering behaviors exist, capable of controlling creatures individually or as part of a group. Steering behaviors take the form of relatively simple equations, one of which we're particularly interested in: obstacle avoidance.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • The concepts behind steering behaviors, borrowed from artificial life

  • A slight modification of the obstacle-avoidance algorithm to match our requirements and fit into the framework

  • The solution in practice and theory, including a discussion of the pros and cons

This approach produces a surprisingly capable animat, which can avoid walls and steer around smoothly.

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