A.I. System in Arcade Games

The first arcade games were built on discrete logic

and were strictly based on competition between the

players. Therefore, there wasn’t any A.I. system.

Heuristic algorithms have been used in the arcade

games. The common method of controlling an NPC in the

game was by scripting.

‘Path finding’ is another common A.I. system that has

been used in the real time strategy games. ‘Path

finding’ works by calculating how to get an NPC from

one place to another after considering the terrain and


Games like Quake and Pursuit based all the enemy

actions on particular stored patterns. The space

invaders further refined this movement, by adding

in-game events which were dependent on the hash


This resulted in more varied and complex enemy


Pac-Man incorporated this technology, at the same time

jazzing it up by providing different personalities for

each ghosts.

Although the ghost movements in Pac-Man felt random,

it was a cleverly scripted and well disguised action.

The 1990’s saw the emergence of finite state machines.

The arcade racing games were powered by a ‘rubber

banding’ A.I. system.

If the computer controlled the opponents “fall

behind”, they received a superb boost allowing them to

catch up.

The system too, works the other way around, enabling

the human players to catch up if they fall behind. The

arcade shooting games should ideally have a large rule

base which is basically the list of NPC options like

attack long range, call for help, flee etc.

The trick lies in using a random factor to choose from

this base factor. This has displayed an enhanced

feeling of intellect and developed the fun factor.

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