The content of This Book
This book is fundamentally about making better games. It focuses on doing this by making the computer opponents smarter, more capable, and more human. This is an area of knowledge that has only been getting attention in any meaningful sense for the past decade or so.
As this book goes to press, developers can look around and find the game industry exploding with activity, reaching out to new audiences, and evolving like never before. As new consoles and PC platforms flood the market, developers find themselves faced with an abundance of riches in terms of memory, CPU speeds,
connectivity options, and video resolutions. These new capabilities provide the game developer with endless possibilities—and endless decisions for trade-offs and focus. Should the new game step up video resolution another notch, or should we focus on making the collisions more realistic? What about speed—can
we do what we want to do with the standard machines in a year and a half when we’re ready to hit the market? How can we make our product different from our competitor’s down the street?
Great game AI is one obvious way to make your game stand out from the crowd, and the flood of books and articles on the subject bears this out. Good quality game AI is no longer something to be done as long as it doesn’t hurt the framerate—it’s now a vital part of the design process and one which can make or break sales, just like graphics or sound. Developers are doing everything they can to investigate new AI technologies that they can assimilate to help build better, smarter game AIs. They want to explore new ideas that might take AIs to the next generation, an era in which games don’t just provide an interesting opponent but one in which they can talk to the player, interact with legions of online adventurers, and learn from game to game to be a more cunning and twisted opponent the next time around.
Of course, these new AIs have to help make the game sell better, too. That’s always the bottom line—if a game doesn’t sell, it doesn’t really matter how good its AI is.