College of Engineering, Guindy is organizing a game AI development event this time at Kurukshetra, the annual International Techno-Management festival.
We wanted the event to reflect the current trends in the Game AI development industry. It is left to the participants to be the judge of to what extent the main goal is accomplished. The trends seem to be
- Player specific content
- A move away from hard-coded-rules based opponents.
We chose Lunar Lander to be the test game for both problem statements. Why? Lunar Lander was one of the earliest games to use Vector Graphics. But that’s not the reason why. Lunar Lander is simple, to code and to play. And.., it seemed to offer scope for hacking both problem statements. And now to the problem statements.
The First problem statement is a challenge to create a player that plays the Lunar Lander. You could try a rule based approach and try coding it. And you may succeed too. But I’ll bet the easier way out is to make your player learn how to handle the Lander. There are many situations where a rule based approach would fail. Consider the case of a car racing game, a rule based approach may satisfy the initial requirements of the game. Your racer may successfully out-race the human player, but it wouldn’t do well on tracks you, as its programmer would not have seen. Because your AI doesn’t know how to ‘drive’. Well, that’s the motivation for this problem statement.
The second problem statement is with regards to content creation. Simple games such as Lunar Lander, I think deserve to engage the player for longer than 3 levels. The content of the game is very simple. It involves very little graphics. Is it possible to use modern / not-so-modern techniques to generate an infinite set of levels?? Theoretically, yes. Further, would these levels, ‘engage’ the player as much as hand-crafted levels would? It is definitely worth a try.
Well, if you are a Game AI developer PRO, and all this seems, well, ‘childish’ to you, or in case you disagree with what we have identified as the current trend in the industry, try the third problem statement. If you have any innovative ideas on game AI, an implementation of your concept is most welcome. Although, we are not intending to accept any text-book based search algorithms. Even slightly modified but better versions are accepted.
This is the link to the event’s page. Please go through the problem statements again. This is the first time we are attempting such an event. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. They would be most invaluable to making this a more successful event in the next editions of Kurukshetra. Have fun, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!