Spring 2010 CAP 4053 AI for Game Programming: Syllabus

MW 9:30AM - 10:45AM in COMM room 116

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Stanley

Email: kstanley@cs.ucf.edu
Website: http://www.cs.ucf.edu/~kstanley
EPlex Research Group: http://eplex.cs.ucf.edu
Office: Harris 332

Office Hours (starting 1/11/10): Mondays 11am-12pm and Tuesdays 3-4pm

TA: Derick Janssen
TA Office: HEC 308 "The Cave"
TA Office Hours: MW 1:30-2:30
Derick's email: zorakbane@yahoo.com

Link to Homework Assignments and Lectures


Programming Game AI by Example by Mat Buckland, Wordware Publishing, Inc. (2004)

AI Techniques for Game Programming by Mat Buckland, Course Technology PTR (2002)

Software and Source Code

Demo code for Programming Game AI by Example is available at http://www.wordware.com/files/ai. The "Buckland" files contain the code.

Any version of NEAT can be used for the class homework assignmentsts. A number of versions are available here: http://www.cs.ucf.edu/~kstanley/#software

The latest clean version written by myself is rtNEAT, available here. A stripped down version of my non-real-time code is neatVS.zip, refitted for easy compiling by Jared Johnson..


The video game industry is a major consumer of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It is one of the few areas of computer science wherein regular consumers routinely interact with cutting edge techniques. Video game consumers are demanding AI innovation to make games more interesting and fun. The course introduces a broad range of AI techniques for games, contrasting recent cutting-edge approaches with more traditional ones. Both video games and turn-based games (i.e. board games) are covered from a variety of perspectives. Topics range from standard techniques such as scripting and path-finding to recent innovations like reinforcement learning and real-time neuroevolution. Industry needs and priorities are also addressed. The course focuses on practical application and hands-on experience, culminating in a final project. Thus, students will leave equipped to apply the latest approaches to real games.

Grading Policy

Three project-based homework assignments (60% of grade)

Two exams testing comprehensive knowledge (40% of grade)

Late assignments lose 10% the first day late, 40% the second, and are not accepted after that.


All of the work that you turn in or present must be your own. Cheating, plagiarism, and any other form of academic dishonesty will be penalized. The minimum penalty for cheating will include:

Plagiarism and paraphrasing are forms of cheating. Plagiarism is the presentation of others' ideas and writings as your own. Paraphrasing is taking someone else's sentence, changing a few words, and then presenting it as your own. Both are unacceptable in this class.

Important Students may not turn in code from either of Mat Buckland's book with the exception of Mat Buckland's NEAT, engine code (i.e. code not specifying AI algorithms), or otherwise specified by Dr. Stanley. Turning in book code will be penalized as plagiarism.


January 11 Class introduction, AI & the Video Game Industry

January 13 Game Engines for AI

January 18 No class: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 20 Mathematical Foundations

January 25 The Perception and Action Loop

January 27 Sensor Computations

February 1 Internal State, Finite State Machines, and Scripting

February 3 Pathfinding and Search

February 8 Advanced Pathfinding, Board Games and Game Tree Search

February 10 Neural Networks and Backpropagation

February 15 Evolutionary Computation

February 17 Evolutionary Computation 2

February 22 Neuroevolution

February 24 Midterm

March 1 NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (NEAT)

March 3 Real-time Neuroevolution and NeuroEvolving Robotic Operatives (NERO)

March 8 No class: Spring break

March 10 No class: Spring break

March 15 More NERO

March 17 Coevolution and multiagent learning

March 22 Project Discussion and Game Design Issues

March 24 Coordinate Systems, Perspectives, and Control; Mitigating Computational Complexity

March 29 Game proposals 1

March 31 Game proposals 2

April 5 Interactive Evolution and AI for Content Generation, AI in Multiplayer Games and Massive Multiplayer Online Worlds

April 7 Game Industry Perspectives

April 12 Galactic Arms Race : Online Multiplayer Automated Content Evolution from UCF

April 14 Artificial Life

April 19 Final Exam in Class

April 21 TBD

April 26 Presentations

Final: April 30th
7am-9:50am - Presentations Continue Complete Finals Schedule