Sunday, October 27, 2013

Game AI Pro: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals

A couple of brief snippets that provides an introduction to my chapter on developing a framework for building a behavioral model that can be be used for engineering virtual animals or really any in game agent.

A Control-Based Architecture for Animal Behavior

Many games include creatures or animals that exhibit the illusion of life while interacting with the game player and with the world around them. This illusion breaks when a creature does something that seems out of character or unnatural – and these types of breaks in the illusion are unfortunately all too common. Thus we need to provide the ability for our characters to exhibit believable behavior that is purposeful, while being robust enough to appear fully life-like.

... if our behavior is going to be believable then it needs to be more than just the output from a behavior tree or other AI architecture. It requires a system which can deliver the appropriate interactions regardless of the ever-changing situation in-game. If purposeful behavior is going to be believable then it must produce consistent results regardless of varying environmental conditions. This is something that real-world creatures typically handle without much thought, but for an AI character it can be quite hard.

... this chapter provides an introduction to aspects of controller theory that can be used to implement a behavioral system for life-like animals.

Sample Sources/Inspiration

[Hediger 1955], Heini Hediger, Studies of the Psychology and Behavior of Animals. New York: Criterion Books.
[James 1890 ], William James, The Principles of Psychology.,New York: Dover Publications.
[Lorenz 1981], Konrad Lorenz, “The Foundations of Ethology.” New York: Simon and Schuster.
[Powers 1989], William Powers, Behavior: The Control of Perception. New Canaan: Benchmark Publications.
[Ramsey 2009-A] Michael Ramsey, “A Unified Spatial Representation for Navigation Systems.” Proceedings of the Fifth AAAI Artificial Intelligence And Interactive Digital Conference, 2009,
[Ramsey 2009-B] Michael Ramsey, “A Practical Spatial Architecture for Animal and Agent Navigation.” Game Programming Gems 8, edited by Adam Lake. Boston:Charles River Media, 2010.
[Ramsey 2011] Michael Ramsey, “An Egocentric Motion Management System.” Game Engine Gems 2, edited by Eric Lengyel,
[Toda 1982] Masanao Toda, Man, Robot and Society:Models and Speculations. Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, 1982.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Wargaming books, old and new

Interestingly enough since my post about my new AI project - Declaration of Empire(DOE), I've received inquiries asking which books I've found useful in the development of DOE. Instead of listing a bunch of books - here's a picture of some books that have influenced my endeavors both directly as well as simply providing motivation from the early 1960's and 1970's (some of these are reprints courtesy of John Curry's wargaming history efforts - highly recommended).

DOE will include a write-up that includes sources of inspiration for the project. More books to come.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Tribute to Stellar Conquest via Declaration of Empire

I've been a wargamer my entire life. I enjoy CRT's, shifts, grain analysis, establishing defensive lines, etc. So here's my long overdue tribute to what I consider one of the best games from the 1970's.  I've been putting together this little AI project (Declaration of Empire) as a side project while I develop the technology for a chapter I provided for Game AI Pro: Collected Wisdom of AI Professionals. It's a tribute to Stellar Conquest (Metagaming 1979).

In short it's "A game in which four alien societies invade an unknown section of the galaxy. Each player accepts control of an expeditionary force, which they will grow into an interstellar empire."

While the Declaration of Empire (DOE) has similarities to Stellar Conquest, DOE's AI is quite interesting in that while developing it over the 2013 summer, I've used my accumulated archive of every Stellar Conquest article since the early 1970's to craft the underlying strategies. These articles coupled with some technology that I've developed for the AI engine simply entitled Noumena, make for a game that is challenging and (I'm happy to say) yields a number of late game surprises.

While DOE is being written on a Windows system, it should be fairly straight forward to recompile DOE for either MacOS or Linux with the eventual availability of DOE on Android and IPad tablets. I haven't worked out the distribution method for the initial desktop releases, but it should be reasonable if not almost free.