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Egocentric AI processing for computer entertainment: a real-time process manager for games

Ian Wright, James Marshall, Egocentric AI processing for computer entertainment: a real-time process manager for games. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Intelligent Games and Simulation (GAME-ON 2000). November 2000. PDF, 173 Kbytes.

Abstract

A general-purpose, real-time Process Manager (PM) designed to control the execution of yAIy processes in many different kinds of computer game is presented. It is viewed as a first step towards standardising AI execution for games, which is a prerequisite for AI hardware acceleration. The PM supports yegocentricy AI processing, which is an approach that favours believability over accuracy of simulation when constructing a virtual world for entertainment purposes. The PM can maintain, from the point of view of a human player, the yegoy, a constant frame-rate at the expense of AI processing under variable AI loads. A game that uses the Process Manager will appear to run smoothly even if the time required to fully process currently active objects exceeds the time available to update and draw a single frame. The PM user can specify a global upper time limit for AI processing, and the PM will attempt to ensure that this limit is never exceeded. A fuzzy upper limit and graceful degradation of AI performance replaces a sharp cut-off point for loss of frame rate. In consequence, the PM reduces the need for manual optimisation of AI code and thereby facilitates the implementation of more populated and interaction-rich virtual worlds. The PM also supports (a) simulated, multi-threaded AI process execution, (b) specification of the run-time frequency of AI processes, (c) suspendable and sliceable ybehavioursetsy, (d) automatic process interleaving and activation delay to minimise per-frame CPU load, and (e) user-specified conditions that define the relative yimportancey of AI processes that is used to determine which processes to postpone under high loads. The design of the PM, its useful properties, and a prototype implementation on Sony Computer Entertainmentys PlayStation2 hardware is described. Results from testing the Process Manager in a simple problem domain are analysed.

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