Programming Believable Characters for Computer Games (Game Development Series) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/6/30
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Computer games have evolved from simple, little programs to major Hollywood-type productions. And today's player expectations have kept pace with this evolution - they expect truly believable gaming environments with complex stories, characters, and action. To achieve this quality, developers need to incorporate the most cutting-edge tools and techniques available. Programming Believable Characters for Computer Games is written to provide such a resource. It takes current research in artificial intelligence and games and presents both the concepts and architectures through practical programming examples. The book focuses on the higher-level AI needed to develop interesting and believable, non-player characters that can learn and express emotions. With an emphasis on pathfinding, decision trees, finite-state machines, rule-based systems, and goal-oriented action planning, it addresses the current topics in game development. Throughout the book, programmers work through the step-by-step creation of a 3D animated autonomous character. Each chapter covers the theory of the topic and then applies it through practical hands-on exercises. The creation process works from design, modeling, and animation to the development of the artificial brain, which includes techniques for learning, socializing, communicating, navigating, and adapting to its environment. This is a comprehensive resource that brings current games research into the hands of programmers.
I'll start by telling you that this is not a book for beginners, though oddly, it seems to try and be one at times. But then, when you're digging into some of the technologies Penny Baillie-de Byl talks about in Programming Believable Characters for Computer Games, the idea that it could be a beginner book flies out the window. (To Baillie-de Byl's credit, however, she's the first person I've found in over a decade capable of explaining artificial neural networks on anything approaching a layman's level.)
I don't think this should need a synopsis, but just in case: it's about programming NPCs. I bet you figured that out from the title. Baillie-de Byl goes through a number of possible ways to program NPCs, covering everything from the most simplistic (finite state machines and the like) to the most complex (behavioral neural networks, etc.). Needless to say, in such a relatively slim volume, nothing gets covered in a great deal of depth; this is more of a sourcebook than it is an in-depth study. But Baillie-de Byl does offer some coding examples, and a CD-ROM full of more of them, so you can work after class on your own if you feel so inclined.
I will say that one pipe dream I was hoping I'd find here did not materialize-- that mythical, long-searched-for improvement on the A* algorithm. Unfortunately, you'll have to find your cold fusion elsewhere folks. But otherwise, it's worth looking into if you plan on doing any RPG, RTS, or sim programming. ***
OpenGL examples simply allow the various examples in the book to be compiled and run on machines other than the PC.
The previous reviewer really needs to get a grip and realise developers DO develop on other systems...including OpenGL but its the information presented on character development that's of interest here.
I've not read this book yet, but have ordered it on the strength of the content discussed. Unfortunatly I can't enter a null rating so have given it 5 stars to negate the previous negative review.
A very interesting book if you want to study the various existent AI techniches and apply them at game development.