Last week, RPGnet released the second of my iPhone games, an adaptation of Reiner Knizia’s High Society. To celebrate its release, I’ve opted today to continue my series of articles talking about adapting tabletop games to computers with a look at artificial intelligence and how the computer players in High Society “think”.
The State of the Art
So, how do you make a computer think like a human player? Today, it’s still somewhat hard to tell a computer to emulate the intuitive, off-the-cuff things that a player might do when playing a game. Surprisingly it’s even hard to write a good algorithm that thoroughly examines gameplay and makes a best choice; what a human does without even thinking has to be painfully programmed decision-by-decision into an Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Even with all of that, you’re not necessarily going to have a good AI. Becauase there are some things that humans will do better than computers, the only way to really make computers reliable is to make sure they take advantage of the things they do better than humans.