Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

“A computer learning on its own to play complicated video games like Breakout (see video below), in which you have to break down a wall by bouncing a ball off it. After exploring the game by playing it, the computer discovered advanced strategies that few humans know about, such as digging a hole to bounce the ball along the back side of the wall.”

http://news.sciencemag.org/

Via Slashdot.

Perfection versus Mortality in Games and Simulation

The New Cultural Form: Perfection versus Mortality in Games and Simulation at Rensselaer
Becoming (2007), Silvia Ruzanka+Ben Chang

Willy Nilly’s Surf Shack offers a cure for the idealized virtual world of Second Life. The online shop, a project of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Associate Professor of Arts Ben Chang and collaborators, endows otherwise flawless avatars with real-world foils like clumsiness. A project allowing avatars to visibly age over time is in the works.

The shop is one of several projects Chang uses to explore humanity in technology. Chang, an electronic artist and recently appointed co-director of the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer, sees the dialogue between perfection and mortality as an important influence in the growing world of games and simulation.

“There’s this transcendence that technology promises us. At its extreme is the notion of immortality that — with artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality — you could download your consciousness and take yourself out of the limitations of the physical body,” said Chang. “But at the same time, that’s what makes us human: our frailty and our mortality.”

Link @ Rensselaer

Have You Talked With Your Game Lately?

Game Developers Push Limits Of Linguistic Interactivity

Gaming engineers are tinkering with a new technology known as “Chatbot” in an effort to tackle one of “the last uncracked problems” in video-game design: How to let gamers verbally communicate with their in-game characters.

The new Sherlock Holmes video game “221b” will attempt to utilize the new software to allow players to verbally interrogate witnesses in the game, where victory is incumbent on cajoling the right answers out of suspicious digital characters.

“It’s our role to predict what you might know at that point in the game and the questions you might ask,” explained Rollo Carpenter of the digital developing company Existor to BBC News.

… Carpenter is an award-winning program designer who specializes in creating software that mimics real-life human conversation.

Instead of traditional approaches to digital interactivity which involve the game making lists of possible questions and answers, his technology allows game characters to make a “fuzzy interpretation” of what the player says to them in order to come up with an appropriate answer.

… Another expert in gaming technology, Dr. Mike Reddy of the University of Wales, has long been interested in the use of human language with artificial intelligence.

Dr. Reddy, who teaches game development and artificial intelligence, points to a novel technique used by creators of the Nintendo DS game “Scribblenauts.”

“In this game, the player evokes objects and characters by typing or writing their name,” he told BBC News.

The player can simply type in a word like “tractor” or “airplane” to cue the game to send out the object of choice. Things get interesting when the various objects have to be linked together to solve problems.

RedOrbit – 27 December 2009

See also:
ELIZA
Chatterbots
Natural language processing
Turing test

StarCraft AI Competition

StarCraft AI Competition

The Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz will be hosting a StarCraft competition:

This competition enables academic researchers to evaluate their AI systems in a robust commercial RTS environment. The final matches will be held live with commentary. Exhibition matches will also be held between skilled human players and the top performing bots.

Getting Started

The competition will use StarCraft Brood War 1.16.1. Get it here

Bots for StarCraft can be developed using the Broodwar API, which provides hooks into StarCraft and enables the development of custom AI for StarCraft. A C++ interface enables developers to query the current state of the game and issue orders to units.

  • Instructions for setting up the environment are available here.
  • An introduction to the Broodwar API is available here.
  • Instructions for building a bot that communicates with a remote process are available here.
  • There is also a FAQ listing common issues.

Tournament rules are available here

[Full article: StarCraft AI Competition]

Via SlashDot