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Games That Design Themselves 162

destinyland writes "MIT's Media Lab is building 'a game that designs its own AI agents by observing the behavior of humans.' Their ultimate goal? 'Collective AI-driven agents that can interact and converse with humans without requiring programming or specialists to hand-craft behavior and dialogue.' With a similar project underway by a University of California professor, we may soon see radically different games that can 'react with human-like adaptability to whatever situation they're thrust into.'"
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Games That Design Themselves

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  • Sooooo... when is the Matrix going into Beta?
  • Ragequit (Score:5, Funny)

    by ComputerDruid ( 1499317 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:25PM (#28883565)

    I can see it now.
    Just before loosing, the AI will suddenly shout "RAGEQUIT" and disconnect, thus denying you points for winning.

  • Me too! (Score:4, Funny)

    by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:32PM (#28883677)

    switch (last_player_action) {
          case QUIT:

                      move_pitiful_player_char(last_player_action.direction, LUDICROUS_SPEED);

                      ai.queue.append(new_action(ACTION_SAY_TO, player, "quit following me!"));

    • Don't you need a "break" statement in there, or will the fall-through not happen when you call exit()?
      • by jerep ( 794296 )

        exit(0); terminates the program, no need for break for the routine never returns.

      • The program usually exits when you call exit(), so no, you don't need the break statement.

      • exit() is a standard C-library function ends** the program, and control flow from the main program ends right there at the call. There are "atexit" hooks which can be called, and memory deallocation etc. will be done by exit().

        In nicer languages than C that have exceptions, you often also have try...finally blocks, where you can guarantee that your cleanup code will be called, even if you call some function which calls exit(). Essentially, it gives you nice atomic/transactional operations, at every level

        • In nicer languages than C that have exceptions, you often also have try...finally blocks, where you can guarantee that your cleanup code will be called, even if you call some function which calls exit().

          C lets you do that, too... You can register a handler with atexit().

          • No, I mentioned atexit, but that's only on program exit. try...finally can be used anywhere you want some work done atomically. The closest C has is setjmp and longjmp, but they're scary enough that I've always avoided them, even though I'm happy enough with assembly, whereas try...finally is very clear and usable.

            • Ah, sorry, I missed that line in your post.

              I spent a semester messing with setjmp and longjmp. We wrote a multitasking kernel that ran in userland using setjmp and longjmp... Boy was that fun to debug.

  • On the subject of interactive characters in games, a great experiment in NPC interaction is Galatea.

    You can play it online at http://parchment.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/parchment.html?story=http://parchment.toolness.com/if-archive/games/zcode/Galatea.zblorb.js [googlecode.com]

    In the game you're an "animate" inspector, you judge robots disguised as humans to see if they pass the turing test.
    The whole game consists of you questioning and interacting with a character called Galatea, who may or may not be an animate.
  • So instead of taking advantages of the AI's known weaknesses to get ahead in the game, we will now have to "train" our digital opponents by using a consistent tactic until they evolve to counter it, then switching to an alternative tactic, and repeating the process at regular intervals.

  • Artificial intelligence came a step closer this weekend when an MIT computer game, which learnt from imitating humans on the Internet [today.com], came within five percent of passing the Turing Test, which the computer passes if people cannot tell between the computer and a human.

    The winning conversation was with competitor LOLBOT:

    "Good morning."
    "STFU N00B"
    "Er, what?"
    "Do you talk like this to everyone?"
    "NO U"
    "Sod this, I'm off for a pint."
    "IT'S OVER 9000!!"

    The human tester said he couldn't believe a computer could be so mind-numbingly stupid.

    LOLBOT has since been released into the wild to post random abuse, hentai manga and titty shots to 4chan, after having been banned from YouTube for commenting in a perspicacious and on-topic manner.

    LOLBOT was also preemptively banned from editing Wikipedia. "We don't consider this sort of thing a suitable use of the encyclopedia," sniffed administrator WikiFiddler451, who said it had nothing to do with his having been one of the human test subjects picked as a computer.

    "This is a marvellous achievement, and shows great progress toward goals I've worked for all my life," said Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, confirming his status as a system failing the Turing test.

    • Recent blogs are pointing out that LOLBOT was given "Excellent" karma on the popular website "Slashdot" automatically.
    • by cmclean ( 230069 )

      LOLBOT has since been released into the wild to post random abuse, hentai manga and titty shots to 4chan

      pffft. Like /b/ would notice the difference. In fact, the quality might go up a bit.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:35PM (#28883719) Homepage

    The idea of an AI that learns from the players sounds great when you're talking about a bot for Multiplayer Shooter 2010 developing tactics and strategies without explicit programming, or an NPC partner in a stealth gaming learning how not to bash their face into walls and then walk off a cliff into lava. Awesome, bring on the learned emergent behavior!

    But dialogue? Oh lord no, please don't let the AI's learn how to "converse" from players. Because the last thing I need is to have AIs in games screaming "Shitcock!" or calling me a fag a thousand times in a row with computerized speed and efficiency.

    • I still think hand tuned AI when it comes to games matters since processing power is limited, also the real problem comes from having the AI come up with models in order to effectively understand what the opponent is doing. Right now most difficult AI's in games like RTS get special cheats instead of using tactics since "fair" AI's get wooped, AI's in games usually only have reaction time, cheats or outnumbering the player as their advantage.

    • True, and there was a bot for classic Quake (or maybe Q2) that instead of having to be given routes would track where players moved and use those for its routes around the maps.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steelfood ( 895457 )

      I've been wondering about this. After all, the human brain is not much more than a glorified rules engine. We learn by imitation, and we improve through reasoning (calculation). Computers are obviously capable of the latter, but nobody's managed to get the former quite right.

      This is because computers are very precise--or really, as precise as the floating point unit allows them to be. That is to say, they can perfectly duplicate information. This means that their observations are very precise. But they have

  • This one [penny-arcade.com] shouldn't be too hard.

  • Bots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:42PM (#28883841)
    Ask WoW developer, they can't spot most of the bots playing the game.
    • That's not because the bots have such great intelligence though. ;)
    • To be fair, that's a problem with their game design, not their bot-detection mechanism. Many times when I played the game I felt like I myself was a bot. They don't use the term "healbot" for nothing. If a bot can play your game really well (excepting aimbots), then your game probably isn't very fun.
  • Crap (Score:2, Funny)

    by gracesdad ( 1558105 )
    Well, if it learns from me there's gonna be a screen full of Agent Smith's beating off to a screen full of Jessica Alba's.
  • by psbrogna ( 611644 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:48PM (#28883929)
    Does this mean somebody's porting Eliza to Ruby on Rails?!
  • Skynet... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Coldeagle ( 624205 )
    <begin valley girl impression>Did anyone watch the Terminiator TV show, I mean hello! Skynet started as a like a chess game or something. OMG, are they like retarded or something? I for one don't want like a super smart computer thingy nuking me then sending its icky robots after me. Like eww!</valley girl impression>
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm not sure what's worse... that you could write that without collapsing, or that I could actually hear it in a perfect valley girl voice.

      • I'm not sure what's worse... that you could write that without collapsing, or that I could actually hear it in a perfect valley girl voice.

        Worse I think is that I want to ask this Terminator-watching valley girl out.

  • Engineering Project (Score:3, Interesting)

    by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:07PM (#28884187) Journal
    I always thought it would be interesting to create a project like this with a chat engine. Take a major chat engine and have a "Submit to AI" option where the AI would parse the conversation between you and a friend so it can record questions and responses in an overlapping matrix of possibilities and calculate the probability of what the response should be by historical conversations of the same nature. You should get impressive test results with a large enough set of data.
  • Can you imagine how antisocial those bots become if they learn from IRC? Or worse, Usenet?

  • A computer that learns from its opponent to get better every time it plays the game...

    Is it any good at Gloabal Thermounuclear War?
  • So this will be like a wikipedia bot: It represents a modicum of intellect as learned from the internet. It approaches a bell-curve of intelligence meaning it'll have an IQ of 100, which compared to any intelligent person is dumb as hell. I wrote a bot that simulates internet users. It just yells "COCK!!!" at random intervals.
  • A recent proposal from the UC Santa Cruz EIS lab (also mentioned in the article), an Automated Game Designer: http://www.slideshare.net/rndmcnlly/the-intelligent-game-design-game-design-as-a-new-domain-for-automated-discovery-1784151 [slideshare.net] It's not about making a bot that can behave intelligently/interestingly in a restaurant setting... what are the broad applications of that? (As other people have pointed out, the bots may come out pretty demented and flavored like The Internet.) It's about making a game desi
  • Can they make the fraking camera more intelligent? The camera in Ninja Gaiden II killed that game for me. Whee! I get to fight while looking at my character through a fence/railing/screen!
  • Misleading Title (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Malkin ( 133793 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:01PM (#28886129)

    If the AI Agents are learning to mimic human behavior by observing how they play a game, then the game design clearly already exists. Therefore, what is described in the article is certainly not anything even remotely close to "games that design themselves."

    • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
      If the AI gets by any chance better then the human player a horde of Trolls will launch a frontal attack on the forum.
  • Before they get this working properly.

    At least one company already figured out movement. Speech and conversations are probably next.

    http://www.naturalmotion.com/euphoria.htm [naturalmotion.com]

  • Here's what I want to know. Has anyone played Facade and figured out how to get Trip out the door and Grace out of her clothes?

    I mean, let's be realistic here. The first commercial use of this tech is going to be pioneered by the porn industry and I like it! I can see quite a few people playing that game!

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer