Artificial intelligence is that integral element in the game design process which brings life into a project. Commonly referred to as AI, artificial intelligence allows the programmer to transform his or her game characters from static objects into living actors capable of accomplishing whatever lifelike, or perhaps not so lifelike, actions the developer wishes. In the Unity game engine, developers are presented with many built-in tools and options for AI development. However, many of the more important features such as pathfinding and navmeshes are only available to developers who have purchased a pro license for Unity; and although there are other options which can be purchased for use in the indie version of Unity, many of these are very expensive, especially for small development teams. There are, however, two viable options for those who wish to implement artificial intelligence into their Unity projects without requiring a pro license or an extensive budget. These two Unity plug-ins are known as RAIN Indie and the A* Pathfinding Project.
A* Pathfinding Project
The A* Pathfinding Project is a free pathfinding plug-in for Unity 3d which does not require a Unity Pro license. It focuses primarily on pathfinding using an optimized version of the A* algorithm, a popular pathfinding algorithm. Some of the more prominent features include grid graphs, navmesh graphs, path smoothing, and multi-threading.
Though the A* Pathfinding Project is free, there is a pro license that can be purchased for $100. However, even though it adds many features, including recasting of navmeshes, the pro version is not required for commercial usage. The free version contains plenty of features and can be used in commercial projects, making it an ideal choice for the independent development team.
If you would like to read more about the A* Pathfinding Project for Unity 3D, visit the creator’s website here.
Does your artificial intelligence require more than just pathfinding? RAIN Indie is an artificial intelligence creation suite created by Rival Theory for Unity 3D. Not only does RAIN Indie include automated pathfinding tools, it also includes an entire set of tools for designing and programming the perfect and detailed AI. If programming is not your thing, no problem! RAIN Indie has a built in graphical user interface which allows you to create the mind of your AI through a behavioral tree and other tools by simply using the interface, without writing a single line of code.
One of the most appealing aspects of RAIN Indie is the licensing structure. To put it simply, there isn’t one. RAIN Indie is completely free and it works fully on Unity Indie. The creator’s do not even offer a pro license, because all the features are included in the free version for commercial usage.
Interested in using RAIN Indie in your project? Visit Rival Theory’s website here.
The A* Pathfinding Project and RAIN Indie are two viable options for implementing both simple and complex artificial intelligence into a Unity project. Whether they are used separately or in conjunction with each other, these free plug-ins will give small or independent development teams the ability to create triple-A game intelligence for free without complicated licenses and agreements or the necessity royalties.