Posts Tagged ‘AI’

Watch this AI learn to drive inside Grand Theft Auto V

You might have heard that some folks making self-driving cars used Grand Theft Auto V to help train their AIs. You might have wondered what that looks like. You… might not learn that watching this Twitch livestream of an AI learning to drive in GTA V. The compubrain, named Charles, is less advanced, though Charles sounds fancy in creator Harrison ‘Sentdex’ Kinsley’s description: “a convolutional neural network that learns to drive through deep learning.” Charles often ends up atop highway barriers, ramming walls, or battered in ludicrous police chases. This makes Charles no less fun to watch. Read the rest of this entry »

Why F.E.A.R.’s AI is still the best in first-person shooters

The shadows on the wall tell me they’re coming. Two of them, both with assault rifles swinging idly at their hips. If I’m quick enough, I’m sure I can take them both out in one go. I peek out of cover as they round the corner, and let my stake gun sing, pinning the first enemy to the wall with 10mm steel projectiles. But at the sound of gunfire the other one legs it back the way he came, hunkers down in cover, and yells for reinforcements down his radio.

This five-second episode tells you a lot about the attention to detail in F.E.A.R., a 12-year-old game with AI that puts many modern-day shooters to shame. Its army of clone soldiers feel smarter than any enemy I’ve faced in an FPS since, and remain razor-sharp to this day. Read the rest of this entry »

Blitzkrieg 3 claims world’s first RTS neural net, Boris

Mind the pumpkin patch, you hooligans!

Ah, the hallowed neural net! For decades, video game developers have tried to create a digital brain, trap it in a box, and teach it to wage war on humans. The first game I remember claiming to have a neural net was Derek Smart’s Battlecruiser 3000AD and now, twenty years later, Blitzkrieg 3 [official site] says it’s got one. Developers Nival claim that their artificial intelligence, named General Boris, “is capable of playing at the top player’s level while not using any hidden information about the enemy.” He has a name but no heart. What monsters Nival are. Read the rest of this entry »

Hooray! I Lived Long Enough To See The Future!

A thing I often feel a little wistful about is knowing I won’t live long enough to see even the beginning of the human colonisation of other planets. As missions to Mars look increasingly likely, it’s still going to be decades before a proper manned trip takes place, and even more before we start building there. I’m really hopeful it’s something my son gets to see, but it’ll be long after I’m feeding the soil. However, yesterday I had a moment of realising I have lived to see some science fiction from my childhood.

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Electric Dreams, Part 5: Waking Up

Welcome to the last part of Electric Dreams, a series about the many possibilities for tomorrow’s games, and the technology that might make it happen. Over the course of the series we’ve talked about a lot of different futures for the games industry: an endless graphics race; an exciting world of research; promising experiments in the industry; and a demographic of dreamers. These futures aren’t exclusive from one another. One of my favourite bits of games writing, by George Buckenham, is a list of Rules for Making Games. Rule number 5 simply says “Which future of games is correct? All of them.” Let’s see if we can squeeze in two more futures before we come to a close on this series: my own, and yours.

Writing this series has been an interesting opportunity for me. While I’ve been giving my view of the world of research, and the ways the games industry could change, it’s also come at a time when I’m examining my own reasons for staying in it. As we’ve discussed in previous parts, the power of research funding also comes paired with a lot of baggage and other responsibilities, and while games researchers might be more free than big developers to explore new ideas, we’re still constrained by funding agencies and government visions. If I want to pursue my own ideas about games, if I want to focus on whether my work actually benefits games rather than some abstract notion of ‘the economy’ or ‘science’, academia may not be the best place to do it. But this raises a more difficult question: where else is there?

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Electric Dreams, Part 4: The Lost Art Of Dreaming

Electric Dreams is a five-part series about AI, academic research and video games, and how together they’re shaping the industry. Part one on the lost future of AI is here.

The more we play games, the more we forget how much time it took us to learn the mysterious toolbox of language and skills that they require. Mostly we think of this toolbox as being full of things that enable us to do new things, like circle-strafing or that sixth sense that tells you to stuff ladders and paperclips into your pants in an adventure game, but in truth a lot of it actually controls what we think and do. If you’ve ever sat down to watch someone less familiar with games play something, you’ve probably witnessed something along these lines. They’ll do things that you instinctively know aren’t possible – trying to open doors that we know are part of the scenery, or repeating an action in an adventure game when we know it’s always going to have the same outcome. Sometimes when I play with someone new to games, they’ll ask me ‘How did you know that was the solution?’ and the answer is simply because I’ve been here before. On the surface it looks like skill, but in reality it’s a sign that we’ve learned to be obedient. A lifetime of playing games has taught us to be followers, and it is now a major factor in slowing down innovation and experimentation in games.

So far in Electric Dreams we’ve discussed how innovation and artificial intelligence in particular has stalled somewhat, but now it’s time to look to the future, and talk about how to start it up again. In this article I want to turn the spotlight on you, RPS readers, and talk about a culture shift I’d like to see happen to games. A shift from knowing that things aren’t possible, to wondering if they could be. A chance to start dreaming again, to ask big questions so that people have a reason to go and find answers. I think we can do it, but you might need to forget everything you’ve ever learned about games to make it happen.

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Electric Dreams, Part 3: Alien Ideas For Player Expectations

Whether or not it’s taken over the industry yet, artificial intelligence and other experimental ideas have been on the mind of people in games lately. So far in Electric Dreams we’ve focused on why it’s so hard to get innovative and risky new ideas into games, but some games seem to manage to push the limits further than others. We’re going to look at a couple of games trying to do this, how they manage player perception, and talk about a new kind of game development that might help risky ideas find their ways into games.

A few years ago I found myself at a London games event talking to someone from Creative Assembly. They had a new project, an incredibly secret new project, that they were all very excited about. All they would tell me was that it involved some kind of creature, and that they had worked so hard on the AI for it that people invited to play would spend long periods in a single room, fascinated by this animal, trying to understand how it behaved and how they could exploit it. It was the game that was to become Alien: Isolation, and even long before it was announced everyone at Creative Assembly knew that this game was selling one thing above all else: intelligence.

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