Artificial Intelligence And Video Games: How A New AI System From Michigan State University Makes Games Better

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Can AI change the way people game? TUEBOR

A researcher from Michigan State University has created an artificial intelligence system that will let video games adapt to a player’s behavior to make games more challenging. Traditional AI systems are restricted to instructions but this new system, created by assistant professor Arend Hintze, gets more intelligent as gamers play and the system gathers more data.

“Players these days experience either pre-scripted AI where the opponent either follows a predefined set of actions, or responds in a very predictable ‘You do A I will respond with B’ fashion,” Hintze told iDigitalTimes. “As a consequence players often prefer human opponents which are spontaneous, erratic, and less predictable.”

One of the benefits for the player is that the game will continuously change and, therefore, will continue to make the game challenging and entertaining.

“We use Darwinian evolution to optimize the AI, while the game is being played, which hopefully leads to arms races betweens players and AI, which will present players with new challenges all the time,” said Hintze. “Keep in mind that changes don’t necessarily happen from one game to the other, but more from "Monday to Wednesday”, but that adds a lot of replay ability without us designing/scripting new opponents all the time.”

Hintze is working with an independent video game studio called Strength in Numbers Studios to implement the AI system into a game called TUEBOR.

“The AI we integrate into TUEBOR will be different in that way. Instead of using what is called a decision tree, we use a "digital Brain" that has memory, integrates information, makes decisions more like humans, and has the ability to be less predictable and spontaneous,” said Hintze. “The technically most (if not all) other AI systems are deterministic, our AI is probabilistic.”

According to Reschke, using the new AI system will provide its video game studio the opportunity to innovate.

“From a game developer standpoint it allows us to create more dynamic levels and enemy characters to play against,” Scott Reschke, CEO of Strength in Numbers Studios, Inc. told iDigitalTimes. “This adds to replay value, and overall enjoyment of the game. Knowing that we can educate our AI to learn patterns and behaviors to make better decisions to create a greater challenge for our players is incredible. An additional benefit is having our friendly NPCs also be ‘smarter’ to help the players out instead of creating game-breaking problems. Win-win.”

For users who check out TUEBOR and realize it’s not their cup of tea or they want to step away, there is an option to play without the evolved AI.

“Like every other computer game, TUEBOR contains conventional story elements that make TUEBOR the game it is, the evolving AI is not changing the story or the game mechanics,” said Hintze. “Every time you play the game, we hope that it feels as if you play the game with a new set of friends. You can also just turn evolved AI off, and play conventional AI, we don’t force the player to do anything.”

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