Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior

Chad Birch has an interesting look at the "Ghost AI" used in the classic Pac-Man arcade game. It's a surprisingly complex system given the simple nature of the game (not to mention that the original game ROM is smaller than today's average cell-phone photo.) Here's a sample of the work that went into crafting the personalities of the individual ghosts:

The orange ghost, “Clyde”, is the last to leave the ghost house, and does not exit at all in the first level until over a third of the dots have been eaten. Clyde’s English personality description is pokey, whereas the Japanese description is お惚け, otoboke or “feigning ignorance”. As is typical, the Japanese version is more accurate, since Clyde’s targeting method can give the impression that he is just “doing his own thing”, without concerning himself with Pac-Man at all. 

Read the entire Pac-Man analysis over at Game Internals.

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