AI Part 3: AI and Video Games

Artificial Intelligence (in this case, bots) played an important role in video games ever since the start of gaming history. The game, "Pong", one of the earliest arcade video games, featured an AI controlling the paddle on the opponent's side. Pac-man, another example of early video games, also had AI controlled enemy (Ghosts). So what exactly does AI do to video games? AI controlled bots, mobs and NPCs can make a difference between a well designed game and poorly designed one. Rather than learn how best to beat human players, AI in video games is designed to enhance human players’ gaming experience. The most common role for AI in video games is controlling non-player characters (NPCs). Designers often use tricks to make these NPCs look intelligent. One of the most widely used tricks, called the Finite State Machine (FSM) algorithm, was introduced to video game design in the 1990s. In a FSM, a designer generalizes all possible situations that an AI could encounter, and then programs a specific reaction for each situation. Basically, a FSM AI would promptly react to the human player’s action with its pre-programmed behavior. For example, in a shooting game, AI would attack when human player shows up and then retreat when its own health level is too low. 

The advance of Artificial Intelligence greatly influences video games and our gaming experiences. 



Original Post

Hi Justin,

I've always wondered how it is that the non-player characters in video games make their decisions, and now it makes more sense! However, it still amazes me how complex game designers can make the artificial intelligence in NPC's so that their actions look as normal and as human as possible, and not planned ahead based on the exact scenario. It's incredible!

Here's a good website if you want to look at how AI in video games has evolved:


Good luck!

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