Why are games fun? In part, because they challenge our ability to think. Even simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Nim and Kalah, or puzzles like the Eights Puzzle, are challenging to children. More complex games like checkers, chess, bridge, and Go are difficult enough that it takes years for gifted adults to master them. Nearly all games require seeing patterns, making plans, searching combinations, judging alternative moves, and learning from experience, all being skills which are also involved in many daily tasks.
It's no surprise that Alan Turing proposed chess playing as a good project for studying computers' ability to reason. In many ways, games have provided simple proving grounds for many of AI's powerful ideas.
The team used a farm of four computers, each featuring a Quadro GV100 workstation-grade GPU, and imported 50,000 hours of Pac-Man gameplay. After studying the game, the AI model developed its own identical-looking game. "Our AI didn't see any of [the game's] code, just pixels coming out of the game engine," Nvidia's Hector Marinez told Ars Technica. "By watching this, it learned the rules." The AI learned all about Pac-Man's speed, movement abilities, and wall mechanics, and other aspects.
Spending on video games in the US jumped to a new April record as locked-down consumers sought refuge in play, industry figures released Friday showed. A total of $1.5 billion was spent on video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards, eclipsing a previous April high of $1.2 billion spent in the US in 2008, according to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella. April was the first full month of tight restrictions on people's movements in the US to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. Sales of video game software alone climbed 55 percent to $662 million, a new record high for the month, according to NPD. "Final Fantasy VII: Remake" was the top-selling game during the month, setting a new sales record for the blockbuster vide game franchise, Piscatella's analysis showed. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" continued to be a hot seller, being the second most purchased title during April, followed by "Animal Crossing: New Horizons."
Pac-Man turns 40 today, and even though the days of quarter-munching arcade machines in hazy bars are long behind us, the legendary game's still helping to push the industry forward. On Friday, Nvidia announced that its researchers have trained an AI to create working Pac-Man games without teaching it about the game's rules or giving it access to an underlying game engine. Nvidia's "GameGAN" simply watched 50,000 Pac-Man games to learn the ropes. That's an impressive feat in its own right, but Nvidia hopes the "generative adversarial network" (GAN) technology underpinning the project can be used in the future to help developers create games faster and train autonomous robots. "This is the first research to emulate a game engine using GAN-based neural networks," Nvidia researcher Seung-Wook Kim said in a press release.
Development for "Pulm Ex" and "Airway Ex's" coronavirus updates began in early March, as cases started to grow within the United States. When development kick-started, resources on best practices for emergency care were slim, and Glassenberg turned to "a bunch of disparate PDFs in Italian" that had been put together by SIAARTI, the Italian Anesthesia Society. At the time, Italy was the world's epicenter for the virus. Later came guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and more, all of which were used to build these new coronavirus updates.
Part of the issue, according to Goldenberg, a retired Navy captain, is red tape. Medics and hospital corpsman in the Navy, despite having years of experience in the medical field, have to start from square one should they wish to pursue a career in medicine. Without having additional schooling, they're unable to come out of the military and become an EMT or paramedic. The same goes for truck drivers. While they're used to driving 18-wheelers in less-than-ideal conditions, they can't automatically qualify to drive tractor trailers on roads in the U.S. because they haven't been taught how to reverse the vehicle unassisted.
Geoff Keighley of The Game Awards launched Summer Game Fest in May as an all-digital gaming festival, which is comprised of several events within a four-month period. The first two took place on May 12th and 13th, and now its organizers have announced that they have scheduled two major Developer Showcase events for June 22nd and July 20th. Keighley and the team from Day of the Devs -- an annual indie game showcase that was supposed to be part of GDC -- selected upcoming indie and AAA video games to highlight at the upcoming events. They'll be livestreaming gameplay from the selected titles, as well as various video game news and musical performances. Day of the Devs co-founder Tim Schafer said each showcase will be jam-packed with extended gameplay previews and surprise debuts.
Imagine going to an arcade and watching someone play PAC-MAN for the first time. Over time, you'd figure out the game's basic parameters -- how PAC-MAN moves through a maze, that he can't move through walls and what happens when PAC-MAN eats his Power Pellets. You'd learn how the actions of the game were controlled through various player keystrokes. Eventually, you could potentially write your own version of the game. What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence That's effectively what Nvidia researchers have trained a unique AI model to do -- recreate a fully-functional version of the PAC-MAN game simply by observing hours of gameplay, without a game engine.
In Minecraft Dungeons, there is no mining and there is no crafting. The core of Minecraft has been ripped asunder by the team behind Minecraft Dungeons to create a new, moodier experience that's less about digging and building and more about adventure, action, and treasure. Ahead of its May 26 release on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, Minecraft Dungeons game director Måns Olson and art director Daniel Björkefors spoke with me in a video call about the process of adapting the iconic world of Minecraft into a new experience. We also talked about what they're excited for players to see in the game, and how we ended up with a Minecraft dungeon crawler in the first place. Dungeons began with a team that was looking for a project.
Mythic Quest is the only Apple TV original at this point that's broken through, and with good reason. The series led by co-creators (and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia veterans) Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz is a workplace comedy set within the confines of a video game development studio. The nine-episode first season that premiered earlier in 2020 – and which now returns with the Mythic Quest: Quarantine special – earned its accolades quickly. The show isn't so much about a game or the process of how it gets made, even though both of those things loom large over every episode. It works because of the people, and the emotional resonance of their personal stories.
We all have to look a little harder for reasons to celebrate in this dark year of 2020, but here's a good one: On May 22, Pac-Man turns 40. The first video game to really catch the attention of a global audience came to Japanese and American arcades in 1980. The round, yellow hero's pellet-chomping, ghost-dodging ways immediately felt like a technological marvel. But now, the same feat of computer programming that seemed so complex way back when has been rebuilt from the ground up – by a thinking computer. That creation, the AI that built its own Pac-Man, is the product of Nvidia's research team.