Game AI

Final Project

CS 4731

You are to implement the camera control AI in the Bares99 or Cavazza02 paper. The camera control algorithms should be integrated into the gameplay of your game concept so that camera control becomes a part of the engagement of the game (as opposed to a service for making it easier to play the game or a gimick).

CS 8803

You are to implement the AI in (almost) any course reading. Alternatively, you may choose other topics that are not covered in course readings (including your own graduate research topic) if you get a priori instructor approval. The AI that you select should be integrated into the gameplay of your game concept so that the AI becomes a part of the engagement of the game (as opposed to a gimick or a tool).


  • Teams formed: No later than September 23
  • Project approval: No later than September 30
  • Pitch materials: Submitted on or before October 7
  • Project pitches: October 7 and 9
  • Project critiques: Due October 16
  • Status reports: Due November 11
  • Final project deliverable: December 12
  • Final project demonstration: December 12
  • Final assessment report: Due December 12

Project Pitches

Notes from class on pitching game development projects.

First, note that the game concept is sold in the first 10 seconds. This is like a movie pitch, which might go something like this: "It's like _______________ but _______________". You need a hook, a one-liner or gameplay mechanic that captures the attention and/or imagination.

12 elements of a game pitch

  1. Working title
  2. High concept - "a pulse-pounding horror-thriller combining X, Y, and Z in a horrifying story about a couple being preyed upon by a mysterious cult."
  3. Target platform(s)
  4. Target audience - children (give ranges), adults, men, women, puzzle-lovers, hard-core gamers, novices, experts, etc.
  5. Game description - story, UI, play mechanics, audio-visuals. The goal here is to make people see what it will be like to play the game. Use mock-ups, storyboards, machinima. Steal from existing media/games if appropriate.
  6. Sample interactive sequence - Answer the question "what is the game?" This is the first and foremost question on your sponsor's minds. What will it be like to play the game? Here is where you begin to talk about technology as well.
  7. Scope - How large and/or long is the game?
  8. Features - What will make the game cool, unique, worth the purchase price? Tie this back into the high concept.
  9. Competitive analysis - Compare and contrast with similar products on the market. As unique as your game might be, some games will share some (if not all) features. This is okay, but you need to have a story about how your product will stand out against the competition.
  10. Development plan - Convince them that it is technically feasible with your manpower and resource constraints.
  11. Budget and schedule - An elaboration of the above.
  12. Biographies - How is your team uniquely suited to complete the project?

A final note on project pitching: K.I.S.S. Your goal is to "sell the sizzle, not the steak," so be energetic and persuasive, and have fun.

Team Pitching Schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 7 Thursday, Oct. 9
A Team
A Maze Ing

Project Critiques

Each team will be assigned to "monitor" another team. Your goal, in this role, is to act as a company potentially interested in funding the other team. Thus, for this assignment, you must evaluate the degree to which the pitching team made a compelling case for their game project.

After pitches have been given, your team will write a short report on the other team you are monitoring. Your report should cover the 12 points above (except the last 2) and should provide an assessment of the degree to which the pitch made a compelling case -- what went right and what went wrong. You should also provide constructive feedback on how that other team can improve their project concept.

To this, add an additional class-specific category: integration of AI into gameplay. In this portion of your critique, address (a) the degree to which you think AI is central to gameplay, (b) how you think it could be made more central, and (c) what technical challenges you think the other team might face. Basically, I am asking you to comment on the central question of the course and how well the other team has lived up to that. In my grading, I will be taking this portion of your critique very seriously.

You will be graded according to the thoughtfulness that you approach this task. Keep in mind, someone else will be critiquing you -- wouldn't you want good advice and actionable feedback to make your project better?

Team Critiquing Assignments

To find out which team your will be critiquing, check the chart below. Look up your team name in the first column, and then scan across to the second column. The team in the second column will be the one you will need to watch carefully during the pitching. Take notes to help prepare the report.

Team To be critiqued
RedA Maze Ing
BlueA Team
A TeamIndigo
A Maze IngYellow


Final Papers (8803 only)


  • 4 pages (not including screenshots)
  • Use the formatting templates (aaai.doc or aaai.tex). Download it here or through t-square
  • Try to conform to the formatting template, but don't worry if you have to violate it.
  • Suggested organization for your paper below. You should address the question listed in the suggested outline.

Suggested outline

  1. Introduction
    • What is the problem: incorporate AI into a game as a central gameplay device. Feel free to elaborate on how you would like to present this.
    • What is your high concept for the game?
    • Briefly, what is the the role of AI in your game and what AI, and how does it relate to the high concept and the problem statement
  2. Related Work
    • What games are similar? How is your system different?
    • What paper inspired you AI?
    • How is your AI different from that system?
    • What are other papers that describe similar types of AI?
    • Are there any other papers that inspired your system? What are they and how did they inspire your system?
  3. Design
    • What is your game?
    • How does it work?
    • AI implementation and integration.
    • System architecture diagrams, if necessary.
  4. Example
    • Describe the user experience?
    • Possibly describe a sample walkthrough, pointing out how the AI impacts the player's experience.
    • Screenshots
  5. Analysis and Discussion
    • Be objective: do you feel that you were able to meet your objective of incorporating your AI system into a game as a primary game play mechanic?
    • If you feel you fell short of your original goal, being honest about it will not negatively affect your grade if you did not meet your objective if (a) you can provide a rational justification for why it was impossible, and (b) the reason for not achieving your objective was NOT a result of ineffective teamwork or programming problems.
    • Give evidence.
    • Were you able to do something that, if developed into a full game, could not be duplicated with simpler game AI techniques (A*, state machines, scripting, hard-coding, etc.)?
  6. Conclusions
    • In the context of the AI technique you chose, was it worthwhile to attempt a sophisticated AI to engage the player?
    • What is your justification for this opinion, and what is the evidence?
    • Would you use this AI technique for other game designs or game concepts?


Final assessments

The final assessments are the last of three components of your critique grade. As before, the final assessment is your evaluation of the other team that you critiqued previously. Your final assessment should be approximately a page, including thoughtful analysis of the following components:

  • AI implementation - Do you think the other team achieved a level of AI sophistication necessary for their game design? If not, was it reasonable to make the change to their final solution?
  • Playability - Is there a working demo? Does it include enough gameplay to demonstrate the need for AI? Is it "playable," meaning it is more than just an AI demo? Note that "fun" should not be a criteria for success, but it should be noted if the other team does achieve some degree of enjoyability or engagement.
  • Integration of AI into gameplay - Is the AI central to gameplay, or do you feel that it is an extra feature? Does the gameplay require AI, or could it have been scripted or faked?