Recommended Resources

The AI and Games website and YouTube channel aims to educate and inspire game players, educators and developers on the practices of artificial intelligence within video games.  There are so many fantastic resources out there for aspiring AI developers as well as enthusiasts in order to get a real understanding of the discipline.  But where do you start?  I've done some of the legwork here and point to textbooks, online courses, YouTube channels and more that may prove useful to you.

Naturally, this page will evolve with time as new books and resources become available.  Plus I am but one man, so this is neither a conclusive nor exhaustive list, but I hope it will prove useful to you.


P.S. Affiliated links to and are attached for all relevant textbooks: A purchase from these links helps out AI and Games as I receive a small commission.  If you're interested in buying these texts and Amazon can help you out, that would help me a lot too!


While many would prefer to rely on online materials such as blog posts and videos, a good textbook can set you up handsomely for the months of work ahead.  There is no single textbook that can effectively cover all aspects of artificial intelligence as a medium.  As such I focus on bringing together a collection of useful texts based upon your overall interests, skill level and experience.  Many of the texts recommended below I've used myself in my own studies as an undergraduate and postgraduate student and sit proudly on my bookshelf today.

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach

Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig's textbook is for many undergraduate and postgraduate students the definitive textbook on Artificial Intelligence - myself included.  While I stressed in my introduction that there is no single resource that can effectively cover all of the AI discipline, this is the one that comes closest.  This textbook covers the base principles of intelligent agent theory and problem solving (the basis for our AI 101 Foundations series), followed by a gradual overview of classical search, constraint satisfaction problems, planning system, reasoning over uncertainty, machine learning and much more.  In many respects, this book acts as the introduction to many topics and given you the basic knowledge needed to subsequently dive into more complex material.

As a computer science student interested in artificial intelligence, this is an essential purchase.

Web Materials Available:

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Artificial Intelligence for Games

Ian Millington and John Funge's textbook is less focused on the more theoretical aspects of AI but on the practical.  How do I achieve specific behaviours within games?  It's full of useful examples or walkthroughs of implementations you'll need if you want to create a desired effect within your games.  I would recommend this as a more practical accompaniment to the AI: A Modern Approach textbook.

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Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction

If Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach is the definitive textbook for AI as a general area, then Sutton and Barto's Reinforcement Learning is that for the current state of adaptive learning techniques.  Another popular postgraduate text book, this gives a strong theoretical (and in some cases practical) overview of monte-carlo and temporal difference based learning methods.

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Automated Planning: Theory and Practice

If you're interested in looking specifically at the field of AI planning - which is responsible for the AI of games such as F.E.A.R. and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, then this is the textbook for you.  Written by experts in the field (Dana Nau is one of the researchers that developed SHOP2, which was later adapted in Killzone 2 and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron), this covers the core theory and understanding needed to get to grips with planning AI systems.

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Note: There is also a new version of this textbook Automated Planning and Acting, which I have not yet read.

Procedural Content Generation in Games

Written by three of the most active researchers in the field, this book gives a broad theoretical overview of how to approach procedural content generation and some of the tools and techniques used for generation levels, landscapes, rules and in-game quests.

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This book also works well alongside the Procedural Generation in Game Design, which I link to below.


Procedural Generation in Game Design

If you want something a little more pragmatic, then Tanya Short and Tarn Adams text on procedural generation acts as more of a cautionary tale.  How do we resolve design problems in games through use of PCG?  The first text is academic, the second text is more practice based.  Both are pretty useful to have around!

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