2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Wow..., Jul 5, 2023
This book is amazing. I am only 3 chapters into it and I have learned a TON of useful information. This book definitely lives up to it's name, '...by example', as it provides ample and thorough examples that can be used immediately in your own code. Pick this book up. Great job Mat.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Give some life to your game agents!, Jun 30, 2023
If you are intererested in coding intelligente agent that can move around, flock, swarm, hunt and flee or follow a basic sort of strategic behaviour this text is an excellent choice. It offers practical examples examples of all of the above in the context of a simple soccer game and a search & destroy game called raven. Don 't expect 3D and fancy graphics. All games and concepts are 2D and the graphics is rudimentary at best, but that serves the puropose of keeping teh complexity of the book to manageable levels and the focus on AI programming. There is ton of example code to study and play with, and the little theory in the book basically is just an explanation of the code that the author has written. I would have liked to see more space dedicated to theory, and clearer and more genral explanations instead of "here is the code that.." but oh well better too much practice than too much theory.. and after all the book title makes it clear that this is a hands-on kind of text.
Definitely a must have book for the aspiring AI programmer or hobbist. Code is C++ but you don' t need to be a C++ guru, knowing the basics will serve you fine. Only one warning: you won 't get much out of this book is you don't spent a lot of time tinkering with the code presented and trying to extend it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
One of a kind book, Jun 28, 2023
I have read many game development books, and this is definitely one of the best ones out there. Just by flipping through the pages, you can see right away how much care Mr. Buckland has taken in writing this book. There are a plethora of diagrams and code examples, and the layout and organization is excellent. The balance between theory and implementation is just right. The writing style is concise and the book covers a lot of material, yet it is enjoyable and painless to read. Personally I also like the fact that the book is physically compact so it fits easily on my desk :)
By far though, my favorite aspect of the book is the "real-life" examples he gives. It's easy to skim over all the theory without really "absorbing" the material, but when you see the concrete examples, it jogs your brain and gets you thinking about how to actually apply it. For example, when discussing the basic idea of "states", he doesn't just make up a contrived example and leave it at that; he gives several examples from actual types of games. For example, a Quake style bot might implement FindArmor, FindHealth, SeekCover, and RunAway. Even the weapons may implement mini state machines like Move, TouchObject, and Die.
Digging deeper into the actual content of the book, it covers all of the practical topics an AI programmer should know, such as FSMs, pathing, group behavior, scripting, fuzzy logic, etc. All topics are explained in enough detail that you can incorporate them comfortably in your game, and if you want to learn more, you have a solid foundation to build on. As it says in the book, being an AI programmer isn't just about memorizing a handful of techniques, but also about how to apply them in combination. So, the book covers two concrete examples: a soccer game and a simple shooter game called Raven. To further your understanding, each section also contains some suggested practice exercises, like "Write code to update their sensory system so that a bot is able to sense when it is being shot at." Finally, as a bonus, this book also talks about UML class diagrams in the appendix, which is very useful to know if you don't already.
It doesn't talk about genetic algorithms or neural networks, but that seems like a good decision because those topics rarely come up in practical AI. If you want to learn more about those, Mr. Buckland has written another book called "AI Techniques for Game Programming".
Incidentally, notice that my review, plus all the reviews before mine, all contain the word "best". This is no accident- this book is a gem, and should be required reading for anyone looking to get into game AI.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best, Jun 15, 2023
I buy A LOT of computer books, and this is by far one of the best and currently the most prized and favorite in my collection.
Mat Buckland does an excellent job making the book fun and easy to read, without skipping on content. This book is loaded with excellent AI programming tools and tips but it doesn't weigh you down. I was able to read it cover to cover and every page made me itch to sit down and begin coding right away.
A must have for a begginer in AI programming or a AI programmer who is looking for some new ideas or touch ups on the basics.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Best game book I ever read so far, Mar 8, 2023
I am not a game programmer, just a fan wishing to build my own game someday :)
I read the first two chapter, finite state machine and stearing, and then I ran the code downloaded from website. I was astonished that these effect can be so easily and professionally implemented. And don't get me wrong. These technique doesn't require much simplification and imagination as some graphic effect does. They're actually based on mathmatical and intuitive way.
After read 10+ directX related books(which is useless to me), I highly recommend this book and Alexandrescu's modern c++ design. With them, it won't be too hard to get started.