Game A.I Pro - Conan Bourke

Game A.I Pro - Conan Bourke

Game A.I Pro - Conan Bourke

Recently, Conan Bourke who teaches Programming at AIE, co-wrote an article as part of a collection of works published on game programming and artificial Intelligence. We caught up with Conan and asked him to share his experience with us.

What was the name of the publication you contributed to, and (in basic terms) what is it all about?

The book is “Game AI Pro: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals” and it is a collection of articles on artificial intelligence (AI) for game programmers. The book is full of techniques used by game developers around the world, some that are a core of many AAA games today, and others that are cutting edge, giving an insight into the future of AI in games.

Who were some of the people that collaborated on the book?

The 54 collaborators for the book are mostly members of the “AI Game Programmers Guild”, people who have all worked on AI for published games, or who work in academic fields furthering the technologies used in game AI. Edited by Steve Rabin, principal software engineer at Nintendo of America, other collaborators have worked on AI for games such as Max Payne, Thief, Supreme Commander, Master of Orion, FIFA, Killzone and Crysis.

In a nutshell, what was your article about?

Written together with my friend Tomasz Bednarz, research scientist and project lead at CSIRO, our chapter “Introduction to GPGPU for AI” introduces the idea of running AI code on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) rather than traditionally on the CPU. GPGPU stands for “General Purpose Programming on the GPU” and is a technique that allows you to run all kinds of code on the GPU rather than just graphics code. Inside a computer the GPU has very quickly become one of the most powerful components, but not all games need cutting edge visuals, so the GPU goes to waste. Using it for AI allows us to make games with hundreds to thousands of artificial characters running about our game worlds making for far more interesting experiences.

Why were your findings significant? What does this mean for the future?

Imagine an RTS game with thousands upon thousands of units, rather than just a few dozen or hundred at most! An FPS game where instead of just a few guys running at you on a small section of a level you could have large landscapes with gunfights happening between dozens of AI characters on both sides, with more charging over the hills! When you’re no longer limited by how much processing you can do at 60 frames-per-second you can have more and more “stuff” happening in games, and that’s the kind of thinking the article tries to open up.

Where can we get this book so we can read it all?
You can get your very own copy of the book at www.gameaipro.com but be warned! The book is written by experts in their field and is not for the feint of heart!