Collaborating Authors

Illuminating Mario Scenes in the Latent Space of a Generative Adversarial Network Artificial Intelligence

Recent developments in machine learning techniques have allowed automatic generation of video game levels that are stylistically similar to human-designed examples. While the output of machine learning models such as generative adversarial networks (GANs) is notoriously hard to control, the recently proposed latent variable evolution (LVE) technique searches the space of GAN parameters to generate outputs that optimize some objective performance metric, such as level playability. However, the question remains on how to automatically generate a diverse range of high-quality solutions based on a prespecified set of desired characteristics. We introduce a new method called latent space illumination (LSI), which uses state-of-the-art quality diversity algorithms designed to optimize in continuous spaces, i.e., MAP-Elites with a directional variation operator and Covariance Matrix Adaptation MAP-Elites, to effectively search the parameter space of theGAN along a set of multiple level mechanics. We show the performance of LSI algorithms in three experiments in SuperMario Bros., a benchmark domain for procedural content generation. Results suggest that LSI generates sets of Mario levels that are reliably mechanically diverse as well as playable.

Covariance Matrix Adaptation for the Rapid Illumination of Behavior Space Machine Learning

Quality Diversity (QD) algorithms like Novelty Search with Local Competition (NSLC) and MAP-Elites are a new class of population-based stochastic algorithms designed to generate a diverse collection of quality solutions. Meanwhile, variants of the Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolution Strategy (CMA-ES) are among the best-performing derivative-free optimizers in single-objective continuous domains. This paper proposes a new QD algorithm called Covariance Matrix Adaptation MAP-Elites (CMA-ME). Our new algorithm combines the dynamic self-adaptation techniques of CMA-ES with archiving and mapping techniques for maintaining diversity in QD. Results from experiments with standard continuous optimization benchmarks show that CMA-ME finds better-quality solutions than MAP-Elites; similarly, results on the strategic game Hearthstone show that CMA-ME finds both a higher overall quality and broader diversity of strategies than both CMA-ES and MAP-Elites. Overall, CMA-ME more than doubles the performance of MAP-Elites using standard QD performance metrics. These results suggest that QD algorithms augmented by operators from state-of-the-art optimization algorithms can yield high-performing methods for simultaneously exploring and optimizing continuous search spaces, with significant applications to design, testing, and reinforcement learning among other domains. Code is available for both the continuous optimization benchmark ( and Hearthstone ( domains.

Differentiable Quality Diversity Artificial Intelligence

Quality diversity (QD) is a growing branch of stochastic optimization research that studies the problem of generating an archive of solutions that maximize a given objective function but are also diverse with respect to a set of specified measure functions. However, even when these functions are differentiable, QD algorithms treat them as "black boxes", ignoring gradient information. We present the differentiable quality diversity (DQD) problem, a special case of QD, where both the objective and measure functions are first order differentiable. We then present MAP-Elites via Gradient Arborescence (MEGA), a DQD algorithm that leverages gradient information to efficiently explore the joint range of the objective and measure functions. Results in two QD benchmark domains and in searching the latent space of a StyleGAN show that MEGA significantly outperforms state-of-the-art QD algorithms, highlighting DQD's promise for efficient quality diversity optimization when gradient information is available. Source code is available at

Learning Controllable Content Generators Artificial Intelligence

It has recently been shown that reinforcement learning can be used to train generators capable of producing high-quality game levels, with quality defined in terms of some user-specified heuristic. To ensure that these generators' output is sufficiently diverse (that is, not amounting to the reproduction of a single optimal level configuration), the generation process is constrained such that the initial seed results in some variance in the generator's output. However, this results in a loss of control over the generated content for the human user. We propose to train generators capable of producing controllably diverse output, by making them "goal-aware." To this end, we add conditional inputs representing how close a generator is to some heuristic, and also modify the reward mechanism to incorporate that value. Testing on multiple domains, we show that the resulting level generators are capable of exploring the space of possible levels in a targeted, controllable manner, producing levels of comparable quality as their goal-unaware counterparts, that are diverse along designer-specified dimensions.

CPPN2GAN: Combining Compositional Pattern Producing Networks and GANs for Large-scale Pattern Generation Artificial Intelligence

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are proving to be a powerful indirect genotype-to-phenotype mapping for evolutionary search, but they have limitations. In particular, GAN output does not scale to arbitrary dimensions, and there is no obvious way of combining multiple GAN outputs into a cohesive whole, which would be useful in many areas, such as the generation of video game levels. Game levels often consist of several segments, sometimes repeated directly or with variation, organized into an engaging pattern. Such patterns can be produced with Compositional Pattern Producing Networks (CPPNs). Specifically, a CPPN can define latent vector GAN inputs as a function of geometry, which provides a way to organize level segments output by a GAN into a complete level. This new CPPN2GAN approach is validated in both Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Specifically, divergent search via MAP-Elites demonstrates that CPPN2GAN can better cover the space of possible levels. The layouts of the resulting levels are also more cohesive and aesthetically consistent.