Practice Makes Perfect
Game AI development is—or soon will be—more a matter of experience than knowledge. There's no doubt that practice is the primary ingredient for becoming a successful AI developer. This book focuses on the practical perspective for this very reason.
The applicability of each AI technique is mentioned during its introduction. Also, the description of every problem includes a comprehensive description of the kind of solution required. To emphasize the versatility of the techniques in a practical fashion, exercises are provided with each part. Hints are available on the web site, along with some solutions.
About a dozen techniques presented in this book—including variations—and more than 20 problems are mentioned or dealt with. Apart from a few minor exceptions, each technique can be applied to every problem. That leaves approximately 240 combinations to experiment with. Readers are invited to solve the problems they are most interested in as an educational venture and submit them for appraisal by other readers. We intend to collect each of the resulting animats (although the hardest part will probably be to find original names for them all!). You can find more information about contributing and each of the possible combinations on the web site at http://AiGameDev.com/.
Game AI Specialists Forum
Readers can access an online forum at http://AiGameDev.com/. There are no prerequisites for posting messages except the background knowledge from this book. As such, the discussion is expected to reach intermediate to advanced levels of AI in computer games.
Readers are encouraged to share their experiences throughout this book, regarding both practical and theoretical issues. The forum also provides a means for interaction about the exercises. There are other unrelated public forums for game AI developers, such as GameDev.net, the comp.ai.games newsgroup, and even the AI-Depot.com message boards.