We present an unsupervised process to generate full video game levels from a model trained on gameplay video. The model represents probabilistic relationships between shapes properties, and relates the relationships to stylistic variance within a domain. We utilize the classic platformer game Super Mario Bros. to evaluate this process due to its highly-regarded level design. We evaluate the output in comparison to other data-driven level generation techniques via a user study and demonstrate its ability to produce novel output more stylistically similar to exemplar input.
Summerville, Adam (University of California, Santa Cruz) | Guzdial, Matthew (Georgia Institute of Technology) | Mateas, Michael (University of California, Santa Cruz) | Riedl, Mark O. (Georgia Institute of Technology )
A touted use of Procedural Content Generation is generating content tailored to specific players. Previous work has relied on human identification of player profile features which are then mapped to level generator features. We present a machine-learned technique to train generators on Super Mario Bros. videos, generating levels based on latent play styles learned from the video. We evaluate the generators in comparison to the original levels and a machine-learned generator trained using simulated players.
Procedural content generation via Machine Learning (PCGML) is the umbrella term for approaches that generate content for games via machine learning. One of the benefits of PCGML is that, unlike search or grammar-based PCG, it does not require hand authoring of initial content or rules. Instead, PCGML relies on existing content and black box models, which can be difficult to tune or tweak without expert knowledge. This is especially problematic when a human designer needs to understand how to manipulate their data or models to achieve desired results. We present an approach to Explainable PCGML via Design Patterns in which the design patterns act as a vocabulary and mode of interaction between user and model. We demonstrate that our technique outperforms non-explainable versions of our system in interactions with five expert designers, four of whom lack any machine learning expertise.
The automatic generation of game tutorials is a challenging AI problem. While it is possible to generate annotations and instructions that explain to the player how the game is played, this paper focuses on generating a gameplay experience that introduces the player to a game mechanic. It evolves small levels for the Mario AI Framework that can only be beaten by an agent that knows how to perform specific actions in the game. It uses variations of a perfect A* agent that are limited in various ways, such as not being able to jump high or see enemies, to test how failing to do certain actions can stop the player from beating the level.
We describe an application of neural networks to predict the placements of resources in StarCraft II maps. Networks are trained on existing maps taken from databases of maps actively used in online competitions and tested on unseen maps with resources (minerals and vespene gas) removed. This method is potentially useful for AI-assisted game design tools, allowing the suggestion of resource and base placements consonant with implicit StarCraft II design principles for fully or partially sketched heightmaps. By varying the thresholds for the placement of resources, more or fewer resources can be created consistently with the pattern of a single map. We further propose that these networks can be used to help understand the design principles of StarCraft II maps, and by extension other, similar types of game content.