University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Foundations of Game AI

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Artificial Intelligence

DESCRIPTION The Foundations of Game AI (FGAI) study-unit is aimed to teach students how to make use of AI techniques in Games and help them understand why it is becoming so important in that industry. It will teach them how to move virtual characters through different landscapes in a smart way (collision avoidance, steering, etc.), path finding (Dijkstra, A*, Open worlds, etc.), decision making (State Machines, Fuzzy Logic, etc.) together with Tactical and Strategic AI.

The study-unit will be supplemented with a tutorial on basic game programming using a game engine (Such as Unity 3D or any other engine). The study-unit will not only introduce the concepts but it will also expose students to real world situations where they are used and they will be requested to implement such techniques. At the end of the study-unit, students will be capable of creating games for different platforms.

Study-unit Aims:

- Introduce students to programming a good game taking into considerations advanced Artificial Intelligence techniques;
- Give an overview of the whole process and help them understand how it works;
- Make use of real game development tools;
- Help them understand why advanced Artificial Intelligence techniques are important in the Game Domain and how they are used;
- Apply their knowledge of Artificial Intelligence to the domain of Games.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Understand how to design game Artificial Intelligence taking into consideration different game genres;
- Apply such a technology to other application areas such as simulations;
- Understand the implications and trade-offs of constructing a complex AI system for games;
- Understand how to implement advanced AI techniques in games.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Transfer the newly acquired knowledge to other situations;
- Give practical examples of how advanced AI techniques can be used in game development;
- Learn to design a good game having different AI techniques and which can be implemented on different platforms.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- J Schell, The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses (2008), Morgan Kaufmann, ISBN 0123694965.
- R Koster, A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2004), Paraglyph Press, ISBN 1932111972.
- A Reed, Learning XNA 4.0: Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone 7 (2010), O'Reilly Media, ISBN 1449394620.
- P Zirkle and J Hogue, iPhone Game Development: Developing 2D & 3D games in Objective-C (2009), O'Reilly Media, ISBN 0596159854.
- V Silva, Pro Android Games (2009), Apress, ISBN 1430226471, Packt Publishing, ISBN 1849690545.
- R Creighton, Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginner's Guide (2010 M Buckland, Programming Game AI by Example (2004), Jones & Bartlett Publishers, ISBN 1556220782.

Various online resources

ADDITIONAL NOTES Students taking this study-unit should have a technical background in AI.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Project Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Alexiei Dingli (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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