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From Chess and Atari to StarCraft and Beyond: How Game AI is Driving the World of AI

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper reviews the field of Game AI, which not only deals with creating agents that can play a certain game, but also with areas as diverse as creating game content automatically, game analytics, or player modelling. While Game AI was for a long time not very well recognized by the larger scientific community, it has established itself as a research area for developing and testing the most advanced forms of AI algorithms and articles covering advances in mastering video games such as StarCraft 2 and Quake III appear in the most prestigious journals. Because of the growth of the field, a single review cannot cover it completely. Therefore, we put a focus on important recent developments, including that advances in Game AI are starting to be extended to areas outside of games, such as robotics or the synthesis of chemicals. In this article, we review the algorithms and methods that have paved the way for these breakthroughs, report on the other important areas of Game AI research, and also point out exciting directions for the future of Game AI.


Bootstrapping from Game Tree Search

Neural Information Processing Systems

In this paper we introduce a new algorithm for updating the parameters of a heuristic evaluation function, by updating the heuristic towards the values computed by an alpha-beta search. Our algorithm differs from previous approaches to learning from search, such as Samuels checkers player and the TD-Leaf algorithm, in two key ways. First, we update all nodes in the search tree, rather than a single node. Second, we use the outcome of a deep search, instead of the outcome of a subsequent search, as the training signal for the evaluation function. We implemented our algorithm in a chess program Meep, using a linear heuristic function.


On the Measure of Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

To make deliberate progress towards more intelligent and more human-like artificial systems, we need to be following an appropriate feedback signal: we need to be able to define and evaluate intelligence in a way that enables comparisons between two systems, as well as comparisons with humans. Over the past hundred years, there has been an abundance of attempts to define and measure intelligence, across both the fields of psychology and AI. We summarize and critically assess these definitions and evaluation approaches, while making apparent the two historical conceptions of intelligence that have implicitly guided them. We note that in practice, the contemporary AI community still gravitates towards benchmarking intelligence by comparing the skill exhibited by AIs and humans at specific tasks such as board games and video games. We argue that solely measuring skill at any given task falls short of measuring intelligence, because skill is heavily modulated by prior knowledge and experience: unlimited priors or unlimited training data allow experimenters to "buy" arbitrary levels of skills for a system, in a way that masks the system's own generalization power. We then articulate a new formal definition of intelligence based on Algorithmic Information Theory, describing intelligence as skill-acquisition efficiency and highlighting the concepts of scope, generalization difficulty, priors, and experience. Using this definition, we propose a set of guidelines for what a general AI benchmark should look like. Finally, we present a benchmark closely following these guidelines, the Abstraction and Reasoning Corpus (ARC), built upon an explicit set of priors designed to be as close as possible to innate human priors. We argue that ARC can be used to measure a human-like form of general fluid intelligence and that it enables fair general intelligence comparisons between AI systems and humans.


Automatic Critical Mechanic Discovery in Video Games

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We present a system that automatically discovers critical mechanics in a variety of video games within the General Video Game Artificial Intelligence (GVG-AI) framework using a combination of game description parsing and playtrace information. Critical mechanics are defined as the mechanics most necessary to trigger in order to perform well in the game. In a user study, human-identified mechanics are compared against system-identified mechanics to verify alignment between humans and the system. The results of the study demonstrate that our method is able to match humans with high consistency. Our system is further validated by comparing MCTS agents augmented with critical mechanic information against baseline MCTS agents on 4 games in GVG-AI. The augmented agents show a significant performance improvement over their baseline counterparts for all 4 tested games, demonstrating that knowledge of system-identified mechanics are responsible for improved performance.


Learning-Based Video Game Development in MLP@UoM: An Overview

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Learning-Based Video Game Development in MLP@UoM: An Overview * Ke Chen, Senior Member, IEEE Department of Computer Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, U.K. Email: Ke.Chen@manchester.ac.uk Abstract --In general, video games not only prevail in entertainment but also have become an alternative methodology for knowledge learning, skill acquisition and assistance for medical treatment as well as health care in education, vocational/military training and medicine. On the other hand, video games also provide an ideal test bed for AI researches. T o a large extent, however, video game development is still a laborious yet costly process, and there are many technical challenges ranging from game generation to intelligent agent creation. Unlike traditional methodologies, in Machine Learning and Perception Lab at the University of Manchester (MLP@UoM), we advocate applying machine learning to different tasks in video game development to address several challenges systematically. In this paper, we overview the main progress made in MLP@UoM recently and have an outlook on the future research directions in learning-based video game development arising from our works. I NTRODUCTION The video games industry has drastically grown since its inception and even surpassed the size of the film industry in 2004. Nowadays, the global revenue of the video industry still rises and increases, and the widespread availability of high-end graphics hardware have resulted in a demand for more complex video games. This in turn has increased the complexity of game development. In general, video games not only prevail in entertainment but also have become an alternative methodology for knowledge learning, skill acquisition and assistance for medical treatment as well as health care in education, vocational/military training and medicine. From an academic perspective, video games also provide an ideal test bed, which allows for researching into automatic video game development and testing new AI algorithms in such a complex yet well-structured environment with ground-truth.


Monte-Carlo Tree Search for Simulation-based Strategy Analysis

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Games are often designed to shape player behavior in a desired way; however, it can be unclear how design decisions affect the space of behaviors in a game. Designers usually explore this space through human playtesting, which can be time-consuming and of limited effectiveness in exhausting the space of possible behaviors. In this paper, we propose the use of automated planning agents to simulate humans of varying skill levels to generate game playthroughs. Metrics can then be gathered from these playthroughs to evaluate the current game design and identify its potential flaws. We demonstrate this technique in two games: the popular word game Scrabble and a collectible card game of our own design named Cardonomicon. Using these case studies, we show how using simulated agents to model humans of varying skill levels allows us to extract metrics to describe game balance (in the case of Scrabble) and highlight potential design flaws (in the case of Cardonomicon).


The Many AI Challenges of Hearthstone

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Games have benchmarked AI methods since of a single game, discovering a few new variations on the inception of the field, with classic board games such existing research topics. The set of · Deckbuilding · Gameplaying · Player Modeling AI problems associated with video games has in recent decades expanded from simply playing games to win, to playing games in particular styles, generating game content, 1 Introduction modeling players etc. Different games pose very different challenges for AI systems, and several different For decades classic board games such as Chess, Checkers, AI challenges can typically be posed by the same and Go have dominated the landscape of AI and game. In this article we analyze the popular collectible games research. Often called the "drosophila of AI" in card game Hearthstone (Blizzard 2014) and describe reference to the drosophila fly's significance in biological a varied set of interesting AI challenges posed by this research, Chess in particular has been the subject game. Collectible card games are relatively understudied of hundreds of academic papers and decades of research in the AI community, despite their popularity and [18]. At the core of many of these approaches is designing the interesting challenges they pose. Analyzing a single algorithms to beat top human players. However, game in-depth in the manner we do here allows us to despite IBM's Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov in see the entire field of AI and Games through the lens the 1997 World Chess Championships and DeepMind's AlphaGo defeating Lee Sedol in the 2016 Google Deep-Mind Challenge Match [47], such programs have yet While there is value in designing algorithms to win (e.g.


Playing Go without Game Tree Search Using Convolutional Neural Networks

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The game of Go has a long history in East Asian countries, but the field of Computer Go has yet to catch up to humans until the past couple of years. While the rules of Go are simple, the strategy and combinatorics of the game are immensely complex. Even within the past couple of years, new programs that rely on neural networks to evaluate board positions still explore many orders of magnitude more board positions per second than a professional can. We attempt to mimic human intuition in the game by creating a convolutional neural policy network which, without any sort of tree search, should play the game at or above the level of most humans. We introduce three structures and training methods that aim to create a strong Go player: non-rectangular convolutions, which will better learn the shapes on the board, supervised learning, training on a data set of 53,000 professional games, and reinforcement learning, training on games played between different versions of the network. Our network has already surpassed the skill level of intermediate amateurs simply using supervised learning. Further training and implementation of non-rectangular convolutions and reinforcement learning will likely increase this skill level much further.


General Video Game Rule Generation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We introduce the General Video Game Rule Generation problem, and the eponymous software framework which will be used in a new track of the General Video Game AI (GVGAI) competition. The problem is, given a game level as input, to generate the rules of a game that fits that level. This can be seen as the inverse of the General Video Game Level Generation problem. Conceptualizing these two problems as separate helps breaking the very hard problem of generating complete games into smaller, more manageable subproblems. The proposed framework builds on the GVGAI software and thus asks the rule generator for rules defined in the Video Game Description Language. We describe the API, and three different rule generators: a random, a constructive and a search-based generator. Early results indicate that the constructive generator generates playable and somewhat interesting game rules but has a limited expressive range, whereas the search-based generator generates remarkably diverse rulesets, but with an uneven quality.


Value Functions for Depth-Limited Solving in Zero-Sum Imperfect-Information Games

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Depth-limited look-ahead search is an essential tool for agents playing perfect-information games. In imperfect information games, the lack of a clear notion of a value of a state makes designing theoretically sound depth-limited solving algorithms substantially more difficult. Furthermore, most results in this direction only consider the domain of poker. We consider two-player zero-sum extensive form games in general. We provide a domain-independent definitions of optimal value functions and prove that they can be used for depth-limited look-ahead game solving. We prove that the minimal set of game states necessary to define the value functions is related to common knowledge of the players. We show the value function may be defined in several structurally different ways. None of them is unique, but the set of possible outputs is convex, which enables approximating the value function by machine learning models.