Game AI

Instructor: Joshua A. McCoy


Office: E2 261

Office Hours: MF 2:00-3:00p


TA: Bryan Blackford


Office: E2-480

Office Hours: 11:00a-noon Wednesdays


Lecture: MWF 12:30PM-01:40PM in Merrill 102


Game AI is a collection of technical approaches and design techniques for creating opponents, non-player characters, and environments that respond to the player and the emerging dynamics of the game, appear to make interesting decisions, support the illusion of life, and provide engaging gameplay challenges and opportunities. Unlike traditional AI research, which typically aims to model aspects of human intelligence or provide optimal engineering solutions for tasks that would appear to require human intelligence, game AI is concerned with supporting engaging and fun player experience. This class surveys the major themes and approaches in contemporary game AI, providing students opportunities to experiment with these approaches through programming assignments and projects.


  • Project 1: 20%

  • 2 assignments: 15%

  • Final project: 25%

  • Midterm: 20%

  • Final: 20%


The textbook for this course is:

Artificial Intelligence for Games, Second Edition

by Ian Millington and John Funge.

ISBN: 978-0123747310

The first several readings will be posted online until the book becomes available in the campus bookstore.

Course Communication: Piazza

Class information and discussion will be held at Piazza:

Project Resources

Ms Pac-Man vs Ghosts League


September 27

Introduction ODP  PDF

Reading: 19-35

Week 1

September 30

Decision Trees ODP PDF

Reading: 293-309

October 2

Decision Trees Continued

Finite State Machines ODP PDF

Reading: 309-333

October 4

Finite State Machines Continued

Reading: 309-333

Week 2

October 7

Project 1 assigned.

October 9

Behavior Trees ODP PDF

Reading: 334-371

October 11

Behavior Trees Continued

Week 3

October 14

Behavior Trees Continued

October 16

Steering Behavior Lecture by Craig Reynolds PDF


October 18

Game-o-Matic Lecture by Bryan Blackford

AI and Music Composition Lecture by Daniel Brown PDF

Reading: 395-401

Week 4

October 21

Project 1 Q&A

Perspectives on current uses of AI in video games.

October 23

Markov Processes ODP PDF

Reading: 395-401

October 25

Markov Proceses Continued

Steering Continued

Week 5

October 28

Path Planning ODP PDF

Reading: 197-255

October 30

Path Planning Continued ODP PDF

November 1

Project 1 Due

Project 2 Proposal Assigned

Midterm Review

Midterm Review Guide

Week 6

November 4


November 6

Midterm Answers

Project 2 Proposal Information

Project 2 Group Formation

November 8

Advanced Path Planning ODP PDF

Project 2 Proposal Due

Week 7

November 11

Veteran's Day (no class)

November 13

Path Planning in Current Games

Goal-Oriented Action Planning

Reading: 401-425

November 15

Goal-Oriented Action Planning Continued.

Week 8

November 18

Rule-Based and Expert Systems ODP PDF

Reading: 427-459

Project 2 Proposal Revisions Due

November 20

Workshop Day

Strike Day - You can attend class via google hangout.

November 22

Project 2 Checkpoint Reports

Week 9

November 25

Planning: STRIPS and A* GOAP ODP PDF

November 27

Planning: Hierarchical Task Networks ODP PDF

Reading: SHOP2: An HTN Planning System sections 1 through 3.3.1

November 29

Thanksgiving Break (no class)

Week 10

December 2

Assignment 2 assigned: GoogleDoc

Interactive Storytelling and Case-Based Reasoning by Bryan Blackford

December 4

Project 2 Final Reports Day 1

December 6

Project 2 Due

Project 2 Final Reports Day 2

Finals Week

December 9

Review Session for Final

Assignment 2 Due

December 10

Final Examination at 7:30-10:30p

DRC Statement

If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a disability, please get an Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and submit it to the instructor in person outside of class (e.g., office hours) within the first two weeks of the quarter. Contact DRC at 459-2089 (voice), 459-4806 (TTY), or for more information on the requirements and/or process.

Instructors and Assistants