AI for Herding Sheep


  • Peter Cowling University of Bradford
  • Christian Gmeinwieser University of Bradford



NPC Coordination, Path planning, Case Study, Behavior modeling


Shepherding with a dog presents an interesting challenge for artificial intelligence, with multiple intelligent systems assessing and interacting with each other in order to achieve a variety of goals. We present a solution to this problem, which consists of a dog AI making use of influence mapping, state machines and A* pathfinding to respond intelligently to real-life shepherding commands issued by a high-level shepherd AI steering the flock of sheep through waypoints on a variety of maps by using pathfinding and influence maps. The role of the AI shepherd can also be taken by a human player (using either a point and click or voice recognition interface) for matches against the artificial shepherd which proved to be a worthy opponent for human testers. The system was evaluated through user testing and provided a high degree of realism and engaging gameplay relying heavily on the workings of the presented AI components.




How to Cite

Cowling, P., & Gmeinwieser, C. (2010). AI for Herding Sheep. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, 6(1), 2-7.