Procedural Level Generation via Machine Learning (PLGML), the study of generating game levels with machine learning, has received a large amount of recent academic attention. For certain measures these approaches have shown success at replicating the quality of existing game levels. However, it is unclear the extent to which they might benefit human designers. In this paper we present a framework for co-creative level design with a PLGML agent.
This survey explores Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning (PCGML), defined as the generation of game content using machine learning models trained on existing content. As the importance of PCG for game development increases, researchers explore new avenues for generating high-quality content with or without human involvement; this paper addresses the relatively new paradigm of using machine learning (in contrast with search-based, solver-based, and constructive methods). We focus on what is most often considered functional game content such as platformer levels, game maps, interactive fiction stories, and cards in collectible card games, as opposed to cosmetic content such as sprites and sound effects. In addition to using PCG for autonomous generation, co-creativity, mixed-initiative design, and compression, PCGML is suited for repair, critique, and content analysis because of its focus on modeling existing content. We discuss various data sources and representations that affect the resulting generated content. Multiple PCGML methods are covered, including neural networks, long short-term memory (LSTM) networks, autoencoders, and deep convolutional networks; Markov models, $n$-grams, and multi-dimensional Markov chains; clustering; and matrix factorization. Finally, we discuss open problems in the application of PCGML, including learning from small datasets, lack of training data, multi-layered learning, style-transfer, parameter tuning, and PCG as a game mechanic.
In level co-creation an AI and human work together to create a video game level. One open challenge in level co-creation is how to empower human users to ensure particular qualities of the final level, such as challenge. There has been significant prior research into automated pathing and automated playtesting for video game levels, but not in how to incorporate these into tools. In this demonstration we present an improvement of the Morai Maker mixed-initiative level editor for Super Mario Bros. that includes automated pathing and challenge approximation features.
Automated game design has remained a key challenge within the field of Game AI. In this paper, we introduce a method for recombining existing games to create new games through a process called conceptual expansion. Prior automated game design approaches have relied on hand-authored or crowd-sourced knowledge, which limits the scope and applications of such systems. Our approach instead relies on machine learning to learn approximate representations of games. Our approach recombines knowledge from these learned representations to create new games via conceptual expansion. We evaluate this approach by demonstrating the ability for the system to recreate existing games. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first machine learning-based automated game design system.
The exploration of Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning (PCGML) has been growing in recent years. However, while the number of PCGML techniques and methods for evaluating PCG techniques have been increasing, little work has been done in determining how the quality and quantity of the training data provided to these techniques effects the models or the output. Therefore, little is known about how much training data would actually be needed to deploy certain PCGML techniques in practice. In this paper we explore this question by studying the quality and diversity of the output of two well-known PCGML techniques (multi-dimensional Markov chains and Long Short-term Memory Recurrent Neural Networks) in generating Super Mario Bros. levels while varying the amount and quality of the training data.