AAAI Conferences


Twenty-First International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

AAAI Conferences

The theme of IJCAI-09 is "The Interdisciplinary Reach of Artificial Intelligence," with a focus on the broad impact of artificial intelligence on science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The conference will include invited talks, workshops, tutorials, and other events dedicated to this theme.


The Current State of StarCraft AI Competitions and Bots

AAAI Conferences

Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games have become an increasingly popular test-bed for modern artificial intelligence techniques. With this rise in popularity has come the creation of several annual competitions, in which AI agents (bots) play the full game of StarCraft: Broodwar by Blizzard Entertainment. The three major annual StarCraft AI Competitions are the Student StarCraft AI Tournament (SSCAIT), the Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG) competition, and the Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) competition. In this paper we will give an overview of the current state of these competitions, and the bots that compete in them.


Toward Automated Story Generation with Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods and Deep Neural Networks

AAAI Conferences

In this paper, we introduce an approach to automated story generation using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling. This approach uses a sampling algorithm based on Metropolis-Hastings to generate a probability distribution which can be used to generate stories via random sampling that adhere to criteria learned by recurrent neural networks. We show the applicability of our technique through a case study where we generate novel stories using an acceptance criteria learned from a set of movie plots taken from Wikipedia. This study shows that stories generated using this approach adhere to this criteria 85%-86% of the time.


Effects of Self-Knowledge: Once Bitten Twice Shy

AAAI Conferences

Procedurally generating rich, naturally behaving AI-controlled video game characters is an important open problem. In this paper we focus on a particular aspect of non-playable character (NPC) behavior, long favored by science-fiction writers. Specifically, we study the effects of self-knowledge on NPC behavior. To do so we adopt the well-known framework of agent-centered real-time heuristic search applied to the standard pathfinding task on video-game maps. Such search agents normally use a heuristic function to guide them around a map to the goal state. Heuristic functions are inaccurate underestimates of the remaining distance to goal. What if the agent somehow knew how long it (the agent) would actually take to reach the goal from each state? How would using such self-knowledge in place of a heuristic function affect the agent's behavior? We show that similarly to real life, knowing of one's irrational behavior in a situation can deter the agent from getting into that situation again even if it is, in fact, a part of an optimal solution. We demonstrate the "fear" with a simple example and empirically show that the issue is common in video-game pathfinding. We then analyze the issue theoretically and suggest that "fear" induced by self-knowledge is not a bug but a feature and may potentially be used to develop more naturally behaving NPCs.


Towards General RPG Playing

AAAI Conferences

General videogame playing has come a long way in a short period of time, but remains at the level of solving relatively short games made up of distinct and isolated episodes. Even simple console role-playing games (RPGs) are far beyond the reach of current techniques, requiring the synthesis of cultural knowledge with compositional reasoning over several interconnected sub-games. We explore how the challenges of playing these games could spark new advances in compositional analysis of games and common-sense reasoning. General RPG playing can leverage advances in episodic general game playing and in areas like text understanding, image classification, and automated game design learning. It has direct applications in design support and AI-based game design, and the techniques used to enable it could generalize to other families of games such as adventure, open-world, and simulation games. In this paper, we describe the motivation behind general RPG playing in a sub-domain of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) RPGs, some promising approaches to some of its fundamental issues, and immediate next steps; we conclude by describing a few concrete benchmark problems on the path towards automated play of these complex games.


Towards Adaptability of Demonstration-Based Training of NPC Behavior

AAAI Conferences

Using demonstration to guide behavior generation for non-player characters (NPCs) is a challenging problem. Particularly, as new situations are encountered, demonstration records often do not closely correspond with the task at hand. Open-world games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Borderlands often reuse locations within the game world for multiple quests. In each new quest at each location, the particular configuration of game elements such as health packs, weapons, and enemies changes. In this paper, we present an approach that utilizes user demonstrations for generating NPC behaviors while accommodating such variations in the game configuration across quests.


Crowdsourced Social Media Poetry

AAAI Conferences

We describe our program of PhD work in which a computer program creates topical poems out of text found on Twitter. These poems are made using a combination of natural language processing and crowdsourcing and are part of a general research plan involving the creation and evaluation of computer-generated poetry, grounded in domain-specific research on human creativity.


Deep Learning for Real-Time Heuristic Search Algorithm Selection

AAAI Conferences

Real-time heuristic search algorithms are used for creating agents that rely on local information and move in a bounded amount of time making them an excellent candidate for video games as planning time can be controlled. Path finding on video game maps has become the de facto standard for evaluating real-time heuristic search algorithms. Over the years researchers have worked to identify areas where these algorithms perform poorly in an attempt to mitigate their weaknesses. Recent work illustrates the benefits of tailoring algorithms for a given problem as performance is heavily dependent on the search space. In order to determine which algorithm to select for solving the search problems on a map the developer would have to run all the algorithms in consideration to obtain the correct choice. Our work extends the previous algorithm selection approach to use a deep learning classifier to select the algorithm to use on new maps without having to evaluate the algorithms on the map. To do so we select a portfolio of algorithms and train a classifier to predict which portfolio member to use on a unseen new map. Our empirical results show that selecting algorithms dynamically can outperform the single best algorithm from the portfolio on new maps, as well provide the lower bound for potential improvements to motivate further work on this approach.


Designing Stronger AI Personalities

AAAI Conferences

In this invited industry case study, Tanya X.Short introduces eight mechanisms that designers can utilize to better harness procedural character personalities in games. Tanya is co-founder and captain of Kitfox Games, a Montreal-based independent game studio, and a veteran developer and designer known for her expertise in procedural generation and systems-driven game design. With Tarn Adams, she edited the 2017 volume Procedural Generation in Game Design. As Tanya explains in this paper, there is an emerging pattern in game design that utilizes character personality as a central gameplay system. Using a number of examples spanning her experiences as both developer and player, in this paper Tanya distills her collected design knowledgeinto an actionable recipe for building better character personality systems.


Planning Graphs for Efficient Generation of Desirable Narrative Trajectories

AAAI Conferences

A goal of Experience Managers (EM) is to guide users through a space of narrative trajectories, or story branches, in an Interactive Narrative (IN). When a user performs an action that deviates from the intended trajectory, the EM uses a mediation strategy called accommodation to transition the user to a new desirable trajectory. However, generating the trajectory options then selecting the appropriate one is computationally expensive and at odds with the low-latency needs of an IN. We define three desirable properties (exemplar trajectories, narrative-theoretic comparison, and efficiency) that general solutions would possess and demonstrate how our plan-based Intention Dependency Graph addresses them.