Welcome to the Artificial Intelligence and Games book. This book aims to be the first comprehensive textbook on the application and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in, and for, games. Our hope is that the book will be used by educators and students of graduate or advanced undergraduate courses on game AI as well as game AI practitioners at large.
First Public Draft
The first draft of the book is available here!
If you spot any typos or inaccurate information, disagree with parts of the text or you have suggestions for papers we should discuss or exercises (and readings) we should include please contact us via email at gameaibook [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com.
We would appreciate your feedback on this first draft by no later than June 20, 2017 so that we meet the publication deadlines.
Introduction Artificial Intelligence (AI) has seen an immense progress in recent years. This progress is a result of a vibrant and thriving research field that features an increasing number of important research areas. The success stories of AI can be experienced in our daily lives and also evidenced though its many practical applications. AI nowadays can understand images and speech, detect emotion, drive cars, search the web, support creative design, and play games, among many other tasks; for some of these tasks machines have reached human-level status. In addition to the algorithmic innovation, the progress is often attributed to increasing computational power or to hardware advancements. There is, however, a difference between what machines can do well and what humans are good at. In the early days of AI we envisaged computational systems that deliver aspects of human intelligence and achieve humanlevel problem solving or decision making skills. While these problems can be difficult for most of us they were presented to machines as a set of formal mathematical notions within rather narrow and controlled spaces. The properties of these domains collectively allowed AI to succeed. Naturally, games—especially board games—have been a popular domain for early AI attempts as they are formal and highly constrained yet complex decision making environments. Over the years the focus of much AI research has shifted to tasks that appear simple for us to do, such as remembering a face or recognizing our friend’s voice over the phone. AI researchers have been asking questions such as: How can AI detect and express emotion? How can AI educate people, be creative or artistically novel? How can AI play a game it has not seen before? How can AI learn from minimal amount of trials? How can AI feel guilt?. All these questions pose serious challenges to AI and correspond to tasks that are not easy for us to formalize or define objectively. Unsurprisingly, tasks that require relatively low cognitive effort from us often turn out to be much harder for machines to tackle. Again, games have provided a popular domain to tackle such tasks as they feature aspects of subjective nature that cannot be formalized easily. These include, for instance, the experience of play or the creative process of game design. Games have been helping AI to grow and advance since its birth. Games not only pose interesting and complex problems for AI to solve—e.g. playing a game well; they also offer a canvas for creativity and expression which is experienced by users (people or even machines!). Thus, arguably, games is a rare domain where science (problem solving) meets art and interaction: these ingredients traditionally made games a unique and favorite domain for the study of AI. But it is not only AI that is advanced through games; it is also games that are advanced through AI research. We argue that AI has been helping games to get better in several fronts: in the way we play them, in the way we understand their inner functionalities, in the way we design them, in the way we understand play, interaction and creativity. This book is dedicated to the healthy relationship between games and AI and the numerous ways both games and AI have been challenged, but nevertheless, advanced through this relationship.
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