A Computer That Plays Pitfall

June 29, 2009

From Rutgers university comes a learning algorithm that they have applied to playing the Atari 2600 game “Pitfall!”.

An example video is on YouTube.

One of the research papers is apparently here (although the site isn’t being very responsive at the moment).

I’ll get around to posting on machine learning for Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man at some point as well.

(Spotted on Kotaku and GameSetWatch.)

Tracking Used Video Game Prices Over Time

April 21, 2009

I wasn’t previously aware of VideoGamePriceCharts.com, but I learned about them recently through Kotaku. The site tracks the prices of used video games. Of particular interest is their recent article tracking prices of series games when a new installment is released.

The article shows historical data for series games such as Resident Evil, Pokemon and Call of Duty that shows spikes in prices for used copies of the older series installments surrounding the release of the newer installments. This is not entirely surprising, but I’ve never seen real data laid out to support the idea. They also have a posting from last year that shows the release of GTA IV causing a spike in prices for the earlier GTA games.

This has a few interesting implications:

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Portable Video Games

March 31, 2009

No, I’m not talking about handheld games. I’m talking about games that get ported to a variety of hardware platforms.

Code portability is a topic of interest to me, and some video games allow an opportunity to study code that is ported across multiple hardware platforms and multiple operating systems. And sometimes, it is just a pleasure to see a good game move to another platform.

There are actually several categories here, so I’ll take a quick moment to sketch out how I divide them.

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Havok’s AI Middleware

March 25, 2009

I’ve been watching the multi-core video card space and looking at efforts to offload AI onto that hardware. In particular, I’m curious to see the shakeout of the various APIs. One candidate usage is, of course, video games.

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Moving AI Onto GPUs

February 16, 2009

And what do we have here? It seems that Nvidia and AMD are already on top of the idea of offloading AI onto GPUs.

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Game Developer Family Tree

February 16, 2009

A site called Check Your HUD has put together a family tree of game developers. What I like most about this is the attempt to show the relationships between the companies including: mergers, splits, name changes, and companies formed by former members of another company.

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Opening Moves

December 6, 2008

[Very busy at work right now, so posts will taper off until I get to the holiday at the end of the month. That said, I do have some 20+ posts drafted. Rest assured, more content is on the way.]

Being a member of the IEEE, I regularly browse the latest issue of IEEE Spectrum. The most recent issue (December 2008) includes an article entitled “Bots Get Smart” by Jonathan Schaeffer, Vadim Bulitko, and Michael Buro. The main topic of the article is the improving of game AI in order to provide better experiences for players.

One of the parts that stood out to me was this paragraph:

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