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Behavioral Mathematics for Game AI by Dave Mark

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8. Marginal Utility

In Chapter 7, we discussed how objects or actions can have relative merits that may differ from their values. Different items have different utilities to different people or even in different situations. However, going a bit further, the same item may have a different utility to the same person at a different time. This complicates our calculations significantly. We cannot simply count on something having a particular utility any time we encounter it. We experience a constant ebb and flow in the relative utilities of those items. How, then, can we use utility in our calculations? If the utility is always changing, what is something really worth? That is the struggle with trying to quantify utilities.

For instance, when I ...

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