Use of Artificial Intelligence Methods in Computer Games

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has been developing over several years. In the early years for AI it has started off as experiments and scientific research, to it now being an inevitable part of our daily life. The use of artificial intelligence in computer games has also been developing tremendously over the past years and is now more widely being used throughout the industry. This essay will investigate the advancements of artificial intelligence used in computer games and, will also explore a range of artificial intelligence methods that have been used and the simple theory behind them. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the presentation of intelligence shown by computers or something that is computerized in which is alike to human intelligence. Artificial intelligence is used in many ways that is incorporated into our day-to-day lives. For example, AI is used very much for security in banks and homes, smartphone/ electrical devices and driverless vehicles that we now see being used more often – these use similar methods of artificial intelligence as used in computer games.

In large numbers of computer games, artificial intelligence is mainly seen being deployed in non-player characters (NPCs - a character not controlled by a player but controlled by computerization). Non-player characters are showing human-like characteristics more and more as time goes on. Many games have shown this when some of their NPCs are able to communicate with each other rather than each being programmed to work independently as a whole. They are able to decide whether certain situations in the game are more important than others. They are also able to act based on their programmed/learnt judgment. Funge (2004, p.13). Advancements game designers have started to use in computer games are Finite State Machine (FSM) algorithms to improve non-player character’s intelligence. FSM would usually do this by making an immediate decision to react to the human player’s action with programmed commands. This works by the machine having a limited number of states; therefore, depending on which state the machine is in, it would behave in accordance to that.

Non-player characters tend to also use Fuzzy logic to make decisions. The idea behind fuzzy logic is that it doesn’t just recognise as something as being true or false, but instead puts a scale on how true or false something is. NPC’s also use AI path finding which is an algorithm that is used to find the shortest path between two points. These two methods allow the non-player character to choose more accurate decisions based on the situation and gives excitement to the player as the NPC will make more of an unpredictable action.

Many artificial intelligence methods started off being used in games like Chess which is an abstract strategy game. Many sports games like ‘Pong’ and ‘Tennis-for-two’ also introduced the idea of infusing artificial intelligence into their game-play. Popular games such as; Black and White as well as Halo, are well known to use artificial intelligence methods and techniques. These games are probably the first games that started to develop the phenomenon of using AI as it appeared to be more challenging and interesting to play. Example where artificial intelligence methods have been used is in a computer program titled "AlphaGo" that plays an intense computerized version of the Japanese board game "GO" against a human opponent. The aim of the game is to conquer a greater part of the board than the opposing player. The player would have a choice of positions on the board to choose from and, Monte Carlo Search Tree would generate these positions and build a conclusion as to which position on the board is the best for success.