Teaching Game AI as an Undergraduate Course in Computational Media

  • Adam M. Smith University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Daniel Shapiro University of California, Santa Cruz


We need to teach AI to students in and outside of traditional computer science degree programs, including those designer-engineer hybrid students who will design and implement games or engage in technical games research later. The need to rethink AI curriculum is pressing in a design education context because AI powers many emerging practical techniques such as drama management, procedural content generation, player modeling, and machine playtesting. In this paper, we describe a 5-year experimental effort to teach a Game AI course structured around a broad and expanding set of roles AI can play in game design (e.g., Adversary and Actor, as well as Design Assistant and Storyteller). This course sets up computer science and computer game design students to transform practices in the game industry as well as create new forms of media that were previously unreachable. Our students gained mastery over the relevant techniques and further demonstrated (via novel prototype systems) many new roles for AI along the way.

EAAI Symposium: Full Papers