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Mechanical AI Made In LittleBigPlanet 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-make-a-quake-3-LBP-port dept.
Laurens writes "Despite slow sales of LittleBigPlanet in the USA, you might have heard of the calculator made within the game, but now that has been topped. I found a fully-functioning AI machine which plays Tic-Tac-Toe against the player. Considering that you can't actually program in LBP, this feat is impressive; it is a machine which has mechanical AND and OR ports made of pistons and proximity detectors, a physically moving Program Counter, and hundreds of wires. The level is called 'Tic Tac Toe' and is by author Cristel." Another player created a similarly amazing level that is a recreation of John Conway's Game of Life.
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Mechanical AI Made In LittleBigPlanet

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  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @01:54AM (#26181885)

    I find it very interesting, and somewhat ironic, that the most powerful home gaming console in history has people programing in mechanical gates.

    Very cool indeed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hardness (990225)
      And LBP is the only way that the Hypervisor (the babysitter OS in the PS3) will let you access the full 3D capabilities of the system for homebrew development! (Of course, Sony owns anything you make...)
      • And LBP is the only way that the Hypervisor (the babysitter OS in the PS3) will let you access the full 3D capabilities of the system for homebrew development!

        (Of course, Sony owns anything you make...)

        I just made a baby. Glad I don't have to support him.

      • by kyrre (197103)

        Yeah. Except for a unknown game called Unreal 3 [unrealtournament3.com]. The Playstation 3 version support mods.

    • I find it very interesting, and somewhat ironic, that the most powerful home gaming console in history has people programing in mechanical gates.

      Very cool indeed.

      Unless you were trying to make a joke, I'm not sure if you understand the difference between how games are made for the PS3 (by developers/producers) and how a user-level-creator within a specific game is being playfully used to expand the frontier of possibilities of that construct.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I find it very interesting, and somewhat ironic, that the most powerful home gaming console in history has people programing in mechanical gates.

        Very cool indeed.

        Unless you were trying to make a joke, I'm not sure if you understand the difference between how games are made for the PS3 (by developers/producers) and how a user-level-creator within a specific game is being playfully used to expand the frontier of possibilities of that construct.

        What the hell are you talking about? What exactly do you think he doesn't understand?

      • by Antity-H (535635) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @07:31AM (#26182965) Homepage

        It seems the irony of using an amazingly powerful digital computer to emulate a simple mechanical computer is completely lost on you ...

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          YO DAWG, we heard you like computers so we put a Turing engine in your Turing engine so you can compute while you compute.

    • by StreetStealth (980200) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:12AM (#26182203) Journal

      The minor resurgence of interest in mechanical computers brought about by LBP is pretty cool, but I think Media Molecule could really latch onto this and offer some excellent DLC for the advanced users.

      Mechanical computers are fun to watch, but they require lots of level space as well as complex physics simulation to perform even the most basic operations. Here's where an expansion pack could pick this trend up and run with it: Add the ability to build little breadboards with transistors. Now there's no physics overhead, and just imagine the stuff you could wire up!

      • Here's where an expansion pack could pick this trend up and run with it: Add the ability to build little breadboards with transistors. Now there's no physics overhead, and just imagine the stuff you could wire up!

        That would remove all the charm of these hacks. What's really cool about such mechanical machines is that they demonstrate computer science in a visual manner. Even we professionals who know that computers != electronics are wowed to death when we see a mechanical computer large enough to watch its operation and see its inner workings. (Even if it is virtual.) Imagine what it's like for those not familiar with computer science? Such a massive computational machine is beyond their belief, even if it performs a simple task. It hearkens back to 60's scifi where computers are monstrously large creations that have incredible brain power. It's pretty cool stuff!

        Replace all the mechanics and physics with a few virtual circuit boards and you remove all the charm. The levels stop being machines of wonder and go straight back to their black boxes. To the average user, a circuit board in the game is nothing but a fancy script.

      • by Antity-H (535635)

        Would it be possible to make the Antikythera http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism [wikipedia.org] in LBP ?

        • by _xeno_ (155264) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:15AM (#26183761) Homepage Journal

          No. That involves gears. These mechanical computers don't use gears, and there's a good reason for that - the physics simulation doesn't quite work for gears.

          The way it works is that when the game has decided that an object has been sufficiently crushed by another object, it just deletes it in a puff of smoke. (It's a kind of neat effect.) Creating gears, sadly, causes them to crush each other as the game tries to figure out how to make them spin. They have pre-crafted gears and I tried to make a simple set of three gears turned by giving power to one gear - and it worked for like three seconds before the game decided one of the gears had been crushed and deleted it.

          For added nuisance, it's next to impossible to "anchor" the gears dead-center since you're using a PS3 controller. You can turn on a grid to try and help you, but it doesn't help that much.

          • by fictionpuss (1136565) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @12:50PM (#26184313)

            You can get gears to work reliably if you scale them all down by one grid unit to allow centering. If you scale them by different amounts though, the teeth will grind in that effect you mentioned.

          • Gears do, in fact work, its just a lot of trial and error. The cogs that you can win in the game work, but I wanted to create my own gears for an elevator design. Basically I have this elevator that looks a bit like a spine. There are nubs that stick out the sides that fit inbetween the gear teeth, which pushes the spine upwards. I made a gear by just winging the angles and it worked on my first try. There are some parts where it gets a little rough and shaky, but it does work. If those rough parts lasted
        • I'm not sure you could make that device. When I saw the video last week, the first thing I thought of was whether or not it would be possible to create in LBP. However, I imagine that there are several layers of gears within that box, more than the seven layers the game lets you use. Maybe not, though. Either way, you'd need some kind of blueprint to start with.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cyb3rdemon (1098575)
        GMod by itself is already so much better than this. With Wiremod, it's incomparable (a radar or an automatic turret are one of the easier machines to make. With skill, you could make an AI robot or a car that converts to a boat on water.) For those who don't know, GMod is a modification for Half-Life 2 that allows you to spawn and manipulate the game's objects, and use motors, constraints, and other tools to make contraptions, vehicles, puzzles, and random fun stuff. Wiremod is an extension of GMod that giv
  • by wasmoke (1055116) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @01:55AM (#26181893)
    I can see it now:
    Posted by JConnor on April 21, 2011, @08:45PM
    Another Mechanical AI Made In LittleBigPlanet
    John writes
    "This new AI, playfully named Skynet, was created to help students in Africa reach for the sky and learn to play checkers. Support this effort by downloading the fun new application."
  • The Game of Life thing is awesome. Now he just needs to use it to simulate a Turing machine [rendell-attic.org]. Then the universe can implode.
    • by tolan-b (230077)

      I was going to post about this myself, I wonder if there's a limit on the number of components you can put in an LBP level (probably) and if so, whether you can put enough components to create a large enough Game of Life board to fit a Turing complete pattern in... (probably not, but I want to believe ;)

      • Re:Hooray for Life (Score:4, Informative)

        by ais523 (1172701) <ais523(524\)(525)x)@bham.ac.uk> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @12:24PM (#26184151)
        It's impossible to fit in a Turing-complete pattern without infinite space; any finite amount of space is not enough. Although the pattern itself could be finitely large, it would try to modify things outside its own location as part of its processing. (Access to an infinite amount of memory is one of the things required for Turing-completeness; that's why the term "bounded-storage machine" exists, referring to something like a real-world computer which is Turing-complete except for limits on its storage.)
  • by FredMenace (835698) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @02:06AM (#26181951)

    This reminds me of things people did with Marathon 10 years ago, for example:
    http://webwonks.org/Marathon/Forge/Harper/Clock.html [webwonks.org]

  • by Protonk (599901) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @02:44AM (#26182091) Homepage
    They make me feel better about the level of discourse here at /.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    All of this was done very extensively within concentrated groups of use-map-settings Starcraft map makers. There was one calc map capable of simple math and even algebra. There were also chess, custom user built skill sets and spells that were tagged to your controllable character. this was in no way part of the original game. There was one which my friend made that you could paint pictures, make animated minimap clips, stage firework displays, and even play short movies drawn with sprites and explosions se

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Trahloc (842734)
      Sounds awesome, would have been great if you provided a link instead of doing the whole cranky "get off my lawn" routine.
    • by Tokerat (150341)
      Any possibility of posting some of this on YouTube? Sounds fun...
    • The topic title is key here. A mechanial device was built. Starcraft was nothing more than editing triggers and hit points to create scenerios.
    • All of this was done very extensively within concentrated groups of use-map-settings Starcraft map makers. There was one calc map capable of simple math and even algebra. There were also chess, custom user built skill sets and spells that were tagged to your controllable character. this was in no way part of the original game. There was one which my friend made that you could paint pictures, make animated minimap clips, stage firework displays, and even play short movies drawn with sprites and explosions set together pixle by pixle.

      All these things were controlled by simple move, kill, spawn, and count triggers which were all linked to areas the player would position a controlable unit to start whatever programed trigger set was needed. we had hidden computation areas of the maps where creatures would spawn and die and move to work the trigger math out. we used a simple center view trigger to prevent these from being viewable(lagged like nuts with thousands of creatures spawning and being moved etc.

      this is cool and all but its not really NEW news.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church%E2%80%93Turing_thesis [wikipedia.org]

  • And will the next version play a nice game of chess?

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @03:41AM (#26182317) Homepage

    Brings back memories of wiring up 7400 series TTL gates with a wire-wrap gun. I wonder how they developed the thing. It would be amusing to write a back-end for a VHDL compiler or a logic simulator to generate logic in LittleBigMan devices. Probably easier than trying to debug the thing inside the game.

    Danny Hillis once made a Tic-tac-toe machine out of Tinkertoys and string. I've seen the thing. I'm amazed that it worked. He once told me that it didn't work very well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by waferbuster (580266)
      Years ago, I read a book called "The Adolescence of P1," which included mention of how to teach matchboxes to play tic-tac-toe. The protagonist ran with this, and ended up developing an artificial intelligence.

      Anyway, the idea of teaching matchboxes to play tic-tac-toe was in an article in Scientific American.

      article describing how it's done [davincigames.it]
      • Wow. That has to be the first reference to that book I've ever seen. My father (an electrical engineering professor) bought it for me, especially relevant considering my chosen profession and real name ;-) Anyway, I've been thinking recently about writing a platform for my kids to tinker with. We have a Wii, and I've got the homebrew dev kit, along with the nous to make it work (I develop software for a living). What I want to do is put something together where people can author stuff, easily, in (possibl
  • When I was a kid, I started designing a Tic Tac Toe game using only mechanical relays. I abandoned the effort when I realized the thousands of relays required to make it play well would be prohibitively expensive. While writing a good Tic Tac Toe in LISP is relatively easy, doing it using discrete components is a major time sink.
  • If the level knew not to play, and instead offered a chess match.
  • Is this really AI? Or is it more just a mechanical computer built inside of an electronic computer?

    I was under the impression that AI involved being intelligent, and not simply computing moves in Tic-Tac-Toe (or chess, etc).
    • by nawcom (941663)

      Is this really AI? Or is it more just a mechanical computer built inside of an electronic computer? I was under the impression that AI involved being intelligent, and not simply computing moves in Tic-Tac-Toe (or chess, etc).

      It computes the correct moves to choose from just like how your brain does that same thing when you play the game. Do you compute your moves or are you simply "intelligent" enough to do so? Intelligence isn't a physical object. This mechanical contraption has intelligence at playing tic-tac-toe, and as a nonliving contraption, its intelligence is simply artificial.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence#Deduction.2C_reasoning.2C_problem_solving [wikipedia.org]
      Even though tic-tac-toe is a simple game, it requ

    • It's my understanding that no "AI" is intelligent.
  • You know, if you could create a level which allows you to create a level inside it (in a way that lets users send a recorded data stream) you could get around the level banning.

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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