Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Simulated car racing competition

I am running the simulated car racing competition for CIG 2007. The problem is a bit different from the versions of the car racing problem we've been exploring so far in that there are no walls, and the next two waypoints are visible to the controller. But there are similarities as well - in fact, quite a bit of the simulation code is reused from my earlier experiments...

Please consider taking part in the competition - the final rules are not online yet (will be really soon, promise), but the code is there for you to start playing around with. It will be really interesting to see what sort of controller the winner will be - hand-coded? Evolved neural network? Fuzzy logic? Genetic programming? Learned through temporal difference learning? Something completely different? (Probably it will be some sort of hybrid of man and machine efforts. Hybrids always win in the end.)

So, off you go. Have a look at the competition, and start designing your controllers.

Yes, I mean you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

That's more like me

Richard needed a face to use on a cube for his humanoid robot to play with (don't ask) so he put me up against the wall and took a shot. I think it captures the inside of me pretty well, maybe better than it captures the outside of me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

SAB 2006 Workshop on Adaptive Approaches for Optimizing...

...Player Satisfaction in Computer and Physical Games is the rather long title of a workshop I visited in Rome last week. It was organized by Georgios Yannakakis and John Hallam, who wish this to be the first of a series of workshops dealing with how various computational intelligence techniques can be used to make games more entertaining - a most laudable initiative, and a good start to the series. The workshop featured seven academic papers and one invited talk from Hakon Steinö, and of course lots of good discussion over pizza and white russian.

Our paper there had a long title too: Making racing fun through player modeling and track evolution. I must say that I think this is a quite good paper, definitely one of the better I've (co-)written. It deals with how to identify and reproduce a human player's driving behaviour in a racing game, and use thus behavioural model to automatically create tracks that are "fun" for the player.

Of course, how to measure "fun" in a game is a question which is far from settled. But an interesting question, and potentially industrially relevant. The issue of automatically creating content (e.g. racing tracks) for games seems to be quite hot as well - fertile ground for research indeed.