Personal tools
You are here: Home Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences Instructional Games Lesson 11: Track B Summaries

Lesson 11: Track B Summaries

Document Actions
  • Content View
  • Bookmarks
  • CourseFeed
Schedule   ::   Lesson 11   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries

Takahashi, D.; Game Sequel Takes Leaps in AI Technology

Reading summary/quotes:

Takahashi talks about the artificial intellegince in The Sims II. He also talks about how the original AI worked, and then how the new AI works, and what makes for a good AI.

This article describes the successes EA has achieved with the new SIMS game in terms of creating realistic characters through a complex Artificial Intelligence system.

The concept of 'emergence' is interesting; that of the actions of the AI being “based on the history of the characters' relationships and their own artificial, or pre-programmed, intelligence.” A lot of how people act is based on past experience. People know what it feels like to hit a thumb with a hammer. People can also surmise that if a thumb is hit with a rock, an anvil, a large dresser, that it will feel similar. The situation is remembered and people act accordingly. It seems that an AI that could remember and act based on those memories, would be closer that something just acting based on 'preprogramming'. Preprogramming is only good if the programmer can think of every possible interaction between two objects in the game. While this may be obtainable in IF (though it's much harder than it looks), it becomes almost impossible in a game with more than 50-100 objects.

“For EA programmers, a character appears to possess intelligence if it behaves intelligently.” That seems like a simple statement, but Dean is saying that a character doesn't have to be intelligent, just act like it. The two can be mutually exclusive. None of our 'ghosts' are intelligent, but if they can act intelligent, you might be able to fool the player.

“The characters act the way they do because that is what naturally unfolds. It's a quality dubbed ``emergence,'' based on the history of the characters' relationships and their own artificial, or preprogrammed, intelligence.” (p. 1)
“The point of all this, says Maxis general manager Neil Young, is to advance computer games to the next level and to push EA toward the goal that it was founded upon: ``Can a computer game make you cry?''” (p. 3)

Related articles/class discussions:

  • Aldrich chapter on the AI system in Virtual Leader
  • Kirriemuir-UseofCompGamesClass
    • Tews-ArchetypesonAcid
  • Gender differences in game play
  • AI systems

Discussion points/questions:

  • Can a game make you cry?


Moeller, R., McAllister, K.; Introduction

Reading summary/quotes:

This is the introduction of a journal with a collection of articles about the gaming industry and how to analyze games within that industry.

The authors talk about the importance of critiquing versus reviewing games. The authors talk about how this volume of Works and Days will talk about games and three different areas; media convergence, politics, and social engineering. The authors discuss each area briefly.

I like the authors call for not just game reviews, but critiques. Reviewing is just a way to tell you what is in a game, how to play it, who might like to buy it. But critiquing requires a higher level of expertise on the side of the critic. The critic must interpret “in light not only of other, similar works, but also of the larger cultural and historical context in which it appears.” When a work is critiqued, it increases understanding.

“There are, of course, numerous ways to narrate the rise of the computer gaming industry in world culture, but most of the contributors to this volume acknowledge a materialistic perspective because the modes of production never slide out of their purview.” (p. 6)
I get a real sense that the editors see games not as a silly pastime, or a way for somebody else to make money, rather a powerful medium for culture, an art form, and an insight to human nature. They are obviously quite passionate about video games.

Related articles/class discussions:

  • Koster-Ch9GamesContext
  • Amarica’s Army
    • NatResearch-ModelSim

Discussion points/questions:

  • Media influence on gaming industry
  • Analysis of games
  • Army and games
Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 11: Track B Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
Online Degree Program
Utah State University offers an online masters degree program (MS & MEd) in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. Click below to find out more.