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AI Games

Computer Scientists Invents Game-Developing Computer AI 103

MojoKid writes "Over the past few years, short game writing 'jams' have become a popular way to bring developers together in a conference with a single overarching theme. These competitions are typically 24-48 hours long and involve a great deal of caffeine, frantic coding, and creative design. The 28th Ludum Dare conference held from December 13 — 16 of this past year was one such game jam — but in this case, it had an unusual participant: Angelina. Angelina is a computer AI designed by Mike Cook of Goldsmiths, London University. His long-term goal is to discover whether an AI can complete tasks that are generally perceived as creative. The long-term goal is to create an AI that can 'design meaningful, intelligent and enjoyable games completely autonomously.' Angelina's entry into Ludum Dare, dubbed 'To That Sect'" is a simple 3D title that looks like it hails from the Wolfenstein era. Angelina's initial game is simple, but in reality Angelina is an AI that can understand the use of metaphor and build thematically appropriate content, which is pretty impressive. As future versions of the AI improve, the end result could be an artificial intelligence that 'understands' human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match."
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Computer Scientists Invents Game-Developing Computer AI

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  • What's that smell? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by narcc ( 412956 )

    Smells like bullshit to me. What do you think?

    • Sensationalistic headline. If you do this /seriously/, then show off a big sample of AI-generated games and let game developers and game players review them
      • Did you check out the link? See the game? Yes, it's entirely possible that an AI wrote this game. That said, it's kind of a crappy game. It's very short, and doesn't have much in the way of emotional involvement. I'm still excited to see what the future holds...
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:58AM (#45876399)

          Agreed. It's entirely possible to create a program that will create a game, complete with a story, boss stages and the lot. In fact, if the army of developers who shaped Angelina was big enough, she could be developed to create games of any genre (be it FPS, RTS, RPG, arcade, etc). However, that will not make Angelina any more intelligent than the default calculator provided by our respective OSes.

          Now, show us Angelina making decisions to autonomously change the genre, story, bosses, etc, in a way that fulfills Dennett'esque or Sartre'esque imagination theories and we can start calling it AI. Till then these stories only serve as a means of impressing the uninitiated - which is definitely important if the field of AI is to get the attention it deserves.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Oh, so EA have had a copy for several years ?

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday January 06, 2014 @08:02AM (#45877083) Homepage Journal

          did you read the fucking article?

          "While the theme of the game (You Only Get One) was a pre-coded template, Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track." and did a shitty job at doing it.

          add some theming ai to nethack and *boom* infinitely more "ai" than this(though both are just content generators, not game designers, and content generators for games are old hat).

          • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
            Dwarf fortress world generator is pretty nifty. You can go into legends and see the history of every creature ever created in the world from birth to death. Some of them don't die, and you'll have some ancient vampire show up in your fortress. Then he has an "accident" involving lava. Many fun things in Dwarf Fortress involve lava in some way. It doesn't take much to tell a story. You just need to add Imagination.
          • by mcvos ( 645701 )

            "While the theme of the game (You Only Get One) was a pre-coded template, Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track." and did a shitty job at doing it.

            That's not very interesting. What would interest me is AI that shapes and modifies the game while you play it, based on your taste and play style.

            • That's not very interesting. What would interest me is AI that shapes and modifies the game while you play it, based on your taste and play style.

              Having read some dungeon/game/whatever master guides for some roleplaying games for fun, I've noticed the part that gets paid most attention to is the "how to keep the players fenced in the area you've prepared" section. Conclusion: adapting to unexpected actions by players would require a superhuman AI, at least in the opinion of people who make games for a livi

              • The way you describe it, the result sounds like "I have no mouth, and I must scream" (the story; I don't know the game).
              • by mcvos ( 645701 )

                Having read some dungeon/game/whatever master guides for some roleplaying games for fun, I've noticed the part that gets paid most attention to is the "how to keep the players fenced in the area you've prepared" section.

                What kind of RPGs are those? Most GM advice is all about being flexible and figuring out what kind of game and play style the players enjoy most. Fencing them in has generally been considered one of the worst, frustrating and most destructive things a GM can do. And the fact that so many CRPGs do exactly that, frustrates me to no end. And that's exactly why I'd like to see games with an active GM AI making the game more flexible and dynamic. I don't doubt this is extremely hard, but I'd still like to see so

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This story isn't bullshit, and might make for mildly interesting cocktail party chat, but it isn't really newsworthy.

      As future versions of the AI improve, the end result could be an artificial intelligence that "understands" human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match.

      This probably does qualify as bullshit, and it was only was only added because the author thought the story itself isn't strong enough to stand without it. Tech writers have to fill quotas. The problem with this peroration isn't just that it's stupid and wrong—it is—the problem is that it gives people the wrong expectations for what AI can do. AI has already had significant payoff

      • Simple rule -- AI can be great for utility, and so far has always sucked for entertainment or any depth so likely always will. DART, various Google algorithms and many others are example of the former, all examples I know of confirm the latter. Except Eliza maybe, good fun can be had if you take it for what it is.

    • "Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track."

      Yep. Bullshit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Smells like delicious lotuses [] to me.

    • I sure hope not, I'm writing a thesis on it next month! ;) This version of ANGELINA is a new step in the research, as I've just started a new grant to tide me over for the end of my PhD. The main aims were: 1. Implementing the system in Unity (to be more flexible and use the editor's extensibility) 2. Building a more general system so I won't have to reimplement it every 12 months as I did during my PhD 3. Making ANGELINA less dependent on specific input types and able to take generic phrases or themes, s
    • I went to college with the the guy. He has been working on this for coming up on 4 years now. The games I've seen so far are simple platformers reminiscent of the first Mario games, but everything has to start somewhere. That 3D Ludum Dare entry is a step up. It's all very legitimate, but I don't see it generating an RPG any time soon. Simple Mario/Doom clones though are bread and butter.
  • Today, "We are gunna do this it's gunna be rad." Tomorrow, "Shit, making AIs is really fucked up."
  • I'd just like to see more offerings from the engine. It seems a bit similar to procedurally generated dungeons that have been around since Rogue, but with an interesting twist. Perhaps nothing groundbreaking, but kind of weird and interesting.
  • Cloudberry Kingdom (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:51AM (#45876379)
    Cloudberry Kingdom, Spelunky, and many rogue-likes all do this on a smaller level, but are always constrained by parameters. While they seek to create an AI that will take on more of the tasks, it will still have to be fed parameters created by an author, so unless this AI can create itself, how can it be called truly creative? Rather it is just procedural generation. It may be worth doing but calling it creative is hyperbolic.
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      I agree that the word "creative" is usually questionable, but in my mind procedural generation of game content (levels, characters, dialog, trees, ...) versus procedural generation of game rules is an interesting difference. There is definitely some gray area between them, but I think they aren't identical either.

      One practical difference is that doing rule-generation well seems harder. There are some very good level generators, but I have yet to see a truly impressive rule-generation system. There are a num []

  • Angelina's first game may be very simple, but it is conceptually quite something. For example it is interesting to read in the words of Angelina how she picked the music. So, let us not focus on how "meh" this first outing is but rather think of it as an interesting first step. By 2020 a hypotetical Angelina v6 should already be much farther evolved.
  • Someone needs to establish a proper global AI committee to assess all these silly attempts and classify their relevance in the field. This is clearly an attempt to get headlined more than to really contribute to the field. We have yet to create properly working algorithm that aids software to initiate creative processes without human (or other) intervention. Or am I wrong here?
  • an artificial intelligence that 'understands' human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match."

    Is there any species on earth that understands human storytelling (besides humans)? I don't understand how this is a metric of success.

    • by eyenot ( 102141 ) <> on Monday January 06, 2014 @05:00AM (#45876525) Homepage

      In A World
      where one programmer

      *keys clicking*
      *CRT fixed-width reflecting on eyeglass lens*
      *sudden black screen and gasp*

      who relates more closely to computers than to people

      *boy and a girl walking side by side*
      GIRL: "think you'll come to the party tonight?"
      GUY: "do you think computers like Titanic?"
      GIRL: "excuse me?"
      GUY: "I can show you the world!"

      decides enough is enough

      GIRL: "I don't think we can see each other."
      GUY: "do you think computers have feelings?"

      *people dying*

      and retreats into his basement to create his own entire world

      *guy guzzling 2-liter*

      GUY: "I'm going to add the airborn mine cart explosion that can send a dwarf flying through the air and landing in another mine cart today"
      OTHER GUY: "you got rent?"

      follow us into a world where reality is all topsy-turvy

      GUY: "The computer isn't just playing the game. The computer is LEARNING."

      *record scratch*

      OTHER GUY: "You're telling it what to do."
      GUY: "Yeah but I'm telling it it's called do_learn(token).... what? Jeez, shut up!"

      and where dreams become reality

      GUY: "I can actually make the game program itself, now."
      GIRL: "Wow, that's so cool. What's that symbol mean?"
      GUY: "Oh, it looks like the game thought it would be a good idea to make itself be about elephants humping with a quest goal of finding a lost abacus."
      GIRL: "I have to go. I hear my mom. LET ME GO."

      this spring, get ready, to re-define your entire sense of what creativity means

      OTHER GUY: "You can't have a flight sim that's about penguins and walruses absorbing blocks of gelatin through their bellies and shooting skyscrapers out of their mouths"
      GUY: "It -- it wasn't me. It was THE GAME!"
      OTHER GUY: "Yeah but it's stupid."

      from the same people that brought you Unsolvable Sokoban, Endless Sudoku, and Eliza

      GUY: "It's like it's thinking. It's really thinking."
      OTHER GUY: "No, it's like you've been awake for 68 hours"
      GUY *hoarsely* "Ith tho amathiiiiiinnnnng"

      Starring that guy who played Corky from Growing Pains or whatever the fuck that was

      GUY: "I'm just like normal people you know."
      GIRL: "Normal people don't think randomly splashing paint on a canvas is creativity."
      GUY: "I'm just like Manhattan people you know."

      And that girl that never mind

      And the other guy who's more successful in life because he isn't completely deranged

      OTHER GUY *drooling and staring at tv static*

      Rated R for:
      * conceptual challenges
      * a complete lack of experimental control
      * we're pretending being retarded is normal
      * the film was computer generated. creators cannot be held liable for what might appear in front of you.

  • [moderate this one to flame-bait, it would be honest]

    god, shut up. you obviously don't know what you read because you can't even qualify your verbs and shit or whatever. just shut up.

    oh, hey, idiot: procedurally generated games have been out forever. there you go. the game was developed by "ai". fuck, what a fucktarded article.

    • by eyenot ( 102141 )

      Thomas Kuhn would just point out that shifting your paradigm in and out of frame and babbling on about AI while you basically lower your standards of what "creative" means is fucking STUPID

      fucking stupid premise, fucking stupid article, fucking stupid stupid.

      god, what autistic mish-mash are we going to be exposed to next

      probably some article about how autism is the new normal. hipsters haven't had enough of that shit, yet. you have to have precisely 3.14 articles of that topic every year or "life" isn't de

    • If I read the article correctly, the impressive part is not that the game takes place in a generated maze, but rather that the AI created from scratch a game, however simple, that takes place inside that world. That step which involves working with concepts is far from trivial.
      • by abies ( 607076 )

        Yes, it would be impressive, but that's not a case.
        "While the theme of the game (You Only Get One) was a pre-coded template, Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track. "

        If you add 'randomly' before 'chose', you will get a feeling how big breakthrough in AI development it is...

        And no, it is not a good first step towards something. Being able to google texture based on some keywords has nothing to do with being able to create game code. Or with being 'creative' in any sense

  • here I was thinking they could use Windows RT because MS can't seem to give it away. ;) until next galaxy note 3 acheter [] Galaxy note 3 [].
  • "Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track."

    fHueColour = iFloatRand(0.0f,360.0f);
    Texture_Wall = iIntRand(0,10);
    Music = iIntRand(0,5);
    GameMode = iIntRand(0,10);

    Ai, or, just basic random number generation?
    Theres probably alot more under the hood. But, unless we can see how the code is written, it just looks like a random number based world generator to me.

    • Haha. It'll only resort to randomness if it can't find a justification for something else. To give you an idea, let's take the music example. ANGELINA has the term 'founder'. It uses a database of words and emotions a colleague of mine built up, called Metaphor Magnet, to find emotions people express towards this concept. One of the top ones of 'charmed' - as in, people feel charmed by founders. This is probably because of the relationship with cults and sects, as seen in the title. Once it has that emoti
  • by Akratist ( 1080775 ) on Monday January 06, 2014 @08:41AM (#45877161)
    I dunno if anyone else remembers it, but back in the 80s, Adventure Construction Set shipped with an option to generate an adventure from scratch, including the creation of new content (which, IIRC, was basically choosing some random values for things and rolling them into a new object). I obviously am not comparing the two -- this sounds considerably more advanced -- but the idea sounds the same and the results were probably about as interesting. That the AI relied on a pre-defined dictionary list of what is telling, too. Eventually, the understanding of consciousness will progress to the point where we can understand and analyze it in detail, but any AI is going to be dependent on that understanding before it is a true, complete, game production system.
    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      Sounds like the game of zangband I once played where I got some +insane multi-hued plate armor about 10min into the game and proceeded to blast the daylights out of anything I saw for the next 24 levels while watching them scratch away at my armor in vain...

  • I somehow enjoy reading about computer AI.
  • what side do you want?

    1. United States
    2. Russia
    3. United Kingdom
    4. France
    5. China
    6. India
    7. Pakistan
    8. North Korea
    9. Israel

    • FWIW I don't recall that the last four on that list (India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel) have thermonuclear bombs (which would be fusion-based generally) but rather more limited, but still devastating, fission-only warheads. The fusion bombs can be roughly 1000 times as powerful as the fission only predecessors. And wasn't North Korea's yield something like 2-3 kilotons? Our 1945 first try firecrackers were clocking in at 15-20kt yields. Nuclear tech is tricky business.
  • Now all we need is AI to play shovelware games for us.

  • I'm Mike, the chap behind this research. I'm glad to see a healthy dose of skepticism in the comments here! I just wanted to clear up a few points: first, I'm not claiming to have designed anything world-changing, this is just another step in the very early days of a very, very long road. Over the next few years I hope to get ANGELINA inventing game mechanics, designing graphical styles, commentating on its own developments, and producing a wider variety of games than ever before. But I hope you'll all stil
  • This causes amazing ideas to race through my head. Imagine a much more mature version of this - one that could take input and even pull from other resources. For example, try to imagine a system that understands surfaces and textures, and even has access to the internet (or a built-in library) to derive work from. You tell the program to create a 3D castle similar to one in Scotland. It pulls information (either provided or on it's own) and from that it can create procedural textures, 3D surfaces to map
  • Judging from the game description, Angelina has already created something light years more creative than anything Michael Bay has ever done.

  • "Angelina chose the color of the walls, the textures, the ambient sound track" So all it did was randomly choose a few things. Completely stupid. That isn't "AI" by any stretch.
  • I could see how games like CoD, Wolfenstien, Doom, Diablo, even side quests in D&D-style games like WoW and DDO could be generated by an AI. Go back through gaming history, though, and you'll find titles with stories SOOOO far out there that it's amazing that even a human though of it: Ultima 5,6,7,& 7 part 2, Starflight, some of the Sierra titles - specifically, Kings Quest III & IV, the Space Quest and Hero's Quest in which sarcasm and style plays an important role in the story-telling. I thin
  • Stephen Thaler's creativity machine [] is proof of the potential of machine creativity.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva