AI Concepts / Books

Hey everyone,

Actually, I’m a software developper and I dont have any experience in game programming, so i need some materials.
Is there any good books about AI? I mean one with many concepts that you can use to build a specific AI?

I dont have any problem to code my ideas, but the problem is that I’m not use to any concept usefull for games like Platinium Rift. I just discover scent algorythm, but that seems hard to confugure (I’m around top 120 right now).

Do you guys build a grah of each possibely step? (like in a maze)
Do you use area algorytm?
Or only shortest path?

I you could just give me some keywords, ideas that would be great. I don’t need code, just some how-to-ideas that are widespread in the world of game.

I have a more theoretical background than games development - so there may be game-specific approaches I am missing - AI is basically making decisions automatically - so there are various ways to approach this in games:

  • With infinite time and resources, we can play all possible games and pick the best path
    – But you don’t have this and the state space for most interesting games is prohibitively large, not to mention the limited time you have each turn.
  • To choose a good algorithm, you have to think about the type of game you are looking at:
    – Is the game zero-sum? i.e. do all players compete for a fixed pool of resources
    – Is there any element of randomness in the environment?
    – etc.
  • In addition to choosing a good algorithm, the big pay-offs are usually in devising a good representation of the game to minimise the search space/time and tweaking the algorithm for the particular game.

Things you might want to look up:

  • Minimax/Maximin
  • Monte Carlo Search
  • Simulated Annealing
  • The concept of an ‘any-time algorithm’
  • Evaluation function (for estimating the value of a particular configuration of the board)
  • Some systems use multiple simpler AI with specific tasks (strategy, tactics, resource gathering, etc) and combine the votes each turn, can’t remember the technical name for this.

NB - some games are so simple that they can be played ‘perfectly’ with a fixed set of rules e.g. tictactoe, connect four, checkers - I remember reading somewhere that these have been ‘solved’ in the sense that you can always win just by not making a mistake. I am not sure if you have to go first in these cases.


Here is a free class where you can learn more about AI, taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig.

Norvig was previously the head of Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center, and is now the Director of Research at Google.

He is the co-author of: “Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach”, ISBN: 0-13-604259-7

used in many university level AI classes: