Spring 2009 CAP 4053 AI for Game Programming

MW 1:30PM - 2:45PM in ENG2 room 105

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 1/12/09): Mondays 3-5pm and Tuesdays 3-4pm

TAs: Sebastian Risi (primary) and Adam Campbell
TA Office Hours: TBD

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 7 Class introduction, AI & the Video Game Industry

January 12 Game Engines for AI

January 14 Mathematical Foundations

January 19 No class: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 21 The Perception and Action Loop

January 26 Sensor Computations

January 28 Internal State, Finite State Machines, and Scripting

January 30 Pathfinding and Search

February 2 Board Games and Game Tree Search

February 4 Neural Networks and Backpropagation

February 9 Evolutionary Computation

February 11 Evolutionary Computation 2

February 16 Neuroevolution

February 18 Midterm

February 23 NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (NEAT)

February 25 Real-time Neuroevolution and NeuroEvolving Robotic Operatives (NERO)

March 2 More NERO

March 4 Coevolution and multiagent learning

March 9 No class: Spring break

March 11 No class: Spring break

March 16 Coevolution and multiagent learning 2 and Traditional vs. Cutting-edge Contrasts and Hybrid Techniques

March 18 Project Discussion and Game Design Issues

March 23 Coordinate Systems, Perspectives, and Control; Mitigating Computational Complexity

March 25 Game proposals 1

March 30 Game proposals 2

April 1 Interactive Evolution and AI for Content Generation, AI in Multiplayer Games and Massive Multiplayer Online Worlds

April 6 Game Industry Perspectives

April 8 Galactic Arms Race

April 10 Artificial Life

April 13 ?

April 15 ?

April 20 Presentations

April 22 Presentations

April 27 Closing Remarks and Discussion

Final: May 4th
1pm-3:50pm Complete Finals Schedule