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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Experimental Video Game Evolves Its Own Content 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the ontogeny-recapitulates-giant-lasers dept.
Ken Stanley writes "Just as interest in user-generated content in video games is heating up, a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida has released an experimental multiplayer game in which content items compete with each other in an evolutionary arms race to satisfy the players. As a result, particle system-based weapons, which are the evolving class of content, continually invent their own new behaviors based on what users liked in the past. Does the resulting experience in this game, called Galactic Arms Race, suggest that evolutionary algorithms may be the key to automated content generation in future multiplayer gaming and MMOs?"
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Experimental Video Game Evolves Its Own Content

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  • Re:Dynamic world (Score:4, Informative)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @10:27AM (#28622969)

    I agree with you and also would like to see more games with automatically created and evolving content. Unfortunately, game studios still seem to shy away from dynamic content because the behavior of dynamic systems is generally hard to predict. Some might fear that the game world suddenly becomes unstable and drops into chaos. But the game studios could hire more people with a strong physics/dynamic systems modeling background to deal with these problems.

      Another problem is that games with good dynamic content have a very high replay value, whereas it seems that most game studios would prefer people to buy a new game or expansion pack right after they have finished the old one---or even earlier, as one might infer from the sloppiness with which later levels are often designed in comparison to the first few levels.

  • NEAT (Score:4, Informative)

    by theinvisibleguy (982464) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @10:28AM (#28622985)
    This game has come a long way since I saw a demo version in my AI class at UCF, the techniques have a lot of potential to be utilized in other video games as well for dynamic content creation. The NEAT algorithm (NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies is really cool too, in fact I believe it's open source and can be found at Professor Ken Stanley's UCF website.
  • Re:Dynamic world (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @10:29AM (#28623011)

    Too many other players will interfere with things like that.

    What happens with other players start interacting with your two towns?
    It'll simply boil down to how many people are supporting each town to what degree.

    Taking over cities? Considering the number of people with the pvp bear mounts for killing the faction leaders, if there was anything useful to gain you'd have even more raids going into cities to take it over for a brief period before another group comes through.
    Most likely that'll just disrupt game play for a lot of uninvolved people.

    Though some more dynamic content would definitely be appreciated, implementing things as grand as you're talking about would be horrendous on an existing game in both time involved and negative impact on the game for other people.

  • Re:Dynamic world (Score:4, Informative)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @11:12AM (#28623691) Journal

    Balance is absolutely the challenge, but that's the case with every game.

    Fricking WoW has been trying to balance it's handful of character classes for years now, and they're not getting anywhere. There is always a "most powerful" class/spec combo which all the hardcore people are using, and every major patch sees some class get nerfed or buffed.

    Does that mean WoW isn't a successful game?

  • Re:Dynamic world (Score:5, Informative)

    by ReverendLoki (663861) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @11:31AM (#28624001)

    This is something Guild Wars tried to address in their approach. By making gaming areas instanced and meet-up areas MMO, a player's actions can effect the game world on a slightly grander scale. The state of the instance is decided based upon the previous actions of those entering it.

    The thing is, I feel they didn't capitalize on this opportunity nearly enough...

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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