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alternative to scripting

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a lot of people talk about scripting being the best way to produce ai for games. i was wondering if a more differentiated approach could be used: use scripts for dialogs and the whole game flow and use DLLs(or LIBs) for path-finding and all that heavy algorithmic things? ideas? suggestions? pros and cons?

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This type of decisions have always depended in your needs. All of these approaches have been made in commercial games.

If the AI you are going to program is very very demanding you should not use scripting due to the CPU. But if its very simple and you want it to be flexible, then just use scripting. This is a very relative thing.

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Not really related - but a lot of games use a declarative event triggering system as an alternative to scripts. It might make your level designers more productive (depending on their skill level). It's certainly easier for non-programmers.

On the downside, declarative event triggers are not as flexible as scripts. But you can always combine them with scripts - some games do that too.

Mark

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I'd say that if you can ever go with a data-driven system, such as simple triggers/responses, rather than scripts, then do it. They're easier to debug and easier to develop user-friendly tools for. Dialogues are usually ripe for a data-driven design since they tend to just be text displays and maybe choices of triggers. Scripting should probably be saved for when you really need the extra power, and not viewed as a solution to everything. But there are few games where scripting won't be useful for something.

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