I’ve been thinking it’s time to cobble another IOS app up for sale, not just fiddle around with open source client apps (which is a lot of the IOS work I’ve been doing lately). So I found a board game idea that I liked, and thought I’d make a stab of doing it – maybe using some of the new IOS5 features for a multiplayer turn-based game.
As I got into the game, noodling on the design and how the interaction would work, I came to the realization that I really would like to have a reasonable single player game as well, and that I didn’t have a clue about how to do board-game AI to make a good game experience.
After looking around through a pile of game AI books, I came across “Artificial Intelligence for Games, Second Edition“. Heavy book, hardback – some $80 if you pick it up outside of Amazon’s discount mechanisms. It looked good after a glance-through and minimal reading, so I took it home to dig in depth. I’m really glad I did!
This book does an excellent job of describing the AI algorithms in pseudo good and good ole english, as opposed to many which seem to be littered with mostly un-parse-able fragments of C++. They reference a number of modern games, but rather than catalog “these used this type of AI, the others didn’t” (which I saw in a number of books), they took some time to explain the tradeoffs in choosing the AI mechanism in the game, even if they didn’t have the “why” of the game designer to pull from.
I liked it enough to put up a review on Amazon, and hey – I’m writing this too. If you’re looking for a good overview of AI algorithms and how they work, I recommend the book.