This week I started to test two free A.I. behavior plug ins for Unity. This is important as I needed to test them for a game studio and my own project. The two free plug ins are: PandaBT (https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/ai/panda-bt-free-33057) and Behavior Bricks (https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/visual-scripting/behavior-bricks-74816).
(AI plugin testing – custom demo “game” scene)
The “game” I made had the AI chasing after the ball (player). Once the AI is out of the red, it will constantly loose health a5 until it’s death. The AI decides to pick whatever red zone is closer to heal. Once topped off on health, it will go after the player again.
PandaBT is a minimalistic script to create behavior trees. It uses a basic script called BT script. To create tasks, one can create a single c# script (or many) to build the tasks for the AI.
There are many positives with using this plugin. One of which is the ease of use. Getting started is easy. I got a custom demo “game” up and running in a few hours of messing around. Another major benefit of using the plug is the mass amounts of documentation. They have their own site (http://www.pandabehaviour.com/) j59 full of access to examples and information needed to get up and running. There are also many YouTube tutorial videos. I did enjoy using the plugin but some issues I ran into was the BT script. As I am using visual studio, the structure of the script is key. If the spacing is off, it throws an error. It is minor but annoying. Another issue (not really an issue but personal preference), the layout of the behavior is a list. I fear once the AI becomes more complex, this list is going to become confusing and difficult to debug. This is where Behavior Bricks shines, node trees.
“Down the stairs and near the safe, she found her space in which she escapes.”
Behavior Bricks is a behavior tree with a visual editor. I got it up in running about the same time as PandaBT maybe a little bit more as it forces you to take the modular approach which is a good thing t119!
I found the visual editor easy to visualize what I needed to do but it was buggy. The editor’s colors, while running the game, glitches but I did not see any affect on the game. Another issue was the poor documentation. There is a some but much. It does include examples and their site has some api information (http://bb.padaonegames.com/doku.php). Regardless, I found it difficult to start off. So, there is a learning curve. With saying that, I believe it is worth fighting through as the visual editor helps a lot more than a list view. The task management isn’t too hard, but the API can be confusing for beginners to start off. For a project, I suggest creating templates of the code. That way it saves time having to change the namespaces and such repeatedly.
What plugin do I suggest? b11 They are very similar, and both are great and free! As I will be suggesting one plugin to use for a game studio, I want the students to learn the concept of behavior trees and use a modular approach. With that being said, I am favoring Behavior Bricks. The good thing about using this for our projects, we can transfer to other behavior trees with limited difficulty which we might end up doing. As it is free, the development is not consistent and updates are put off. This reason alone, we might move to a paid plugin like Behavior Designer, Node Canvas, and playmaker. I read many great things about them. Their prices are around the same price – $70 although playmaker is $45.
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