I just came across this article which digs through the actual code of the original NES version of Tetris and then creates an AI to play it.
Speaking of game AI…two Pac-Man-related links are making the blog rounds these days – one of them is new.
The new one is Chad Birch’s “Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior”. It is clear and well illustrated.
As Chad points out, he was inspired by and used Jamey Pittman’s “Pac-Man Dossier”. This is a nice resource.
It also seems that I haven’t previously blogged Don Hodges’ fix to a bug in the behavior of two of the ghosts. (The bug-fixing of classic videogames is a topic we will return to in the future.)
Of course, the ghosts need a Pac-Man to chase. I have previously linked to a Ms. Pac-Man computer player competition. Of specific interest is this paper on evolving rules to play Ms. Pac-Man (seems that I have not directly linked it before).
(Post title is of course a play on the “magnets…” meme.)
The folks at the PokerStars online poker service actively police their games to make sure that bots are not being used to gain advantage.
Here’s a recent post from their Game Security staff demonstrating that they paid a visit to one player in order to witness the playing and playstyle in person.
It ends with the following wonderful quote:
We are pleased to report, however, that ‘rs03rs03’ is human.
Topics of the speech include:
- the psychology of games – making them sticky
- the consumer desire for realism and authenticity as a recent trend
- technological convergence/divergence of devices, the iPhone, the iPad, and the “pocket exception”
- the possibility of game achievements improving behavior
- the fact that there are more FarmVille players on FaceBook than there are Twitter accounts
Achievements are already leaking over to non-games, some items that could have been mentioned:
Read the rest of this entry »
Scientific American’s online edition has an article touching on the study I previously blogged in which videogames were observed to improve vision. The article is a nice contrast to much of the game journalism coverage of the research, and gives me an opportunity to briefly revisit this topic.
This article has a nice point calling out the lack of good research in this area (I’m looking at you, Brain Age.):
To date, much of the claims around this rapidly growing area of technology-supported medical interventions are insufficiently supported by scientific data.
(I have since found a study examining the effect of videogames upon memory and thinking skills in the elderly – using Boom Blox.)
Out of a number of online mentions of this research that I have seen, this article comes closest to referencing Steven Johnson‘s book “Everything Bad Is Good For You”. Perhaps I have just missed the articles that make the logical connection.
It also amuses me to see a study showing that playing Call Of Duty 2 or Unreal Tournament 2004 is in any measurable sense “better” than playing The Sims 2.
In other news, it seems that Dr. Richard Haier is still researching with Tetris. Dr. Haier did some of the original brain research with Tetris back in 1992 (two publications: one in Intelligence, another in Brain Research). In 2009, Dr. Haier did some new research involving Tetris while acting as a consultant to Blue Planet Software. MSNBC has a brief interview with Dr. Haier. Wired has another writeup on the research. (I would be remiss if I didn’t include a link to a certain someone declaring themselves as a Gameboy Tetris purist: “Tetris on the Gameboy…only.”)
I’ll close with another link I had lying around: scientists studying mice brains by using Quake 2.
Update, March 2010: Another bit of research on Tetris and PTSD.
Certainly, if you’ve been around the rule space long enough, you will be familiar with such terms as “knowledge engineering” and “knowledge capture”.
Robert X. Cringely’s latest column is (somewhat) about a knowledge capture platform. Nestled in among the usual rant about IBM and outsourcing (and I say that as a fan), is a link to an IBM patent for a “Platform for Capturing Knowledge”.
I haven’t read the patent myself, only Cringely’s commentary. But it seems the end result is not an expert system, but a video game for training experts. That’s an interesting aspect, although I’m not sure what the patent has that is unique. I seem to recall seeing plenty of prior art in this area years ago, especially in terms of expert systems for training medical personnel.
I don’t have time to spend digging up prior art right now, but I bet a number of readers have seen some as well.
Just a quick post to highlight some recent media coverage about the XBox 360 being used to research heart disease. The article suggest that Simon Scarle used – you guessed it – some of the graphics hardware in the console.
Julian Togelius and Sergey Karakovskiy have organized a competition to create an agent (or AI) that plays the video game Super Mario Bros. – or, more accurately, Infinite Mario Bros. a tribute game featuring random level generation.
The advantage of using Infinite Mario Bros. is the random level generation – which can let the agent learn more generalized playing tactics rather than tactics that are tailored to a static set of levels as in Ms. Pac-Man or Pitfall.
I look forward to seeing the results of the competition, and hope to see source code published as well.