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AI and Evolution Take Gaming to the Next Level

Two young men playing video game

After weeks navigating a new video game and learning your enemy’s every move, you suddenly find yourself losing. As you rethink your strategy, you’re wondering, what happened?

Darwinian evolution stepped in and adapted your enemy’s response, and now you’re foiled. You can blame Arend Hintze, Michigan State University assistant professor in Integrative Biology and Computer Science and Engineering.

Hintze has developed an artificial intelligence system for video games that adapts to the player’s behavior by Darwinian evolution.

Unlike traditional artificial intelligence systems, which are typically limited to a set of instructions given to the computer-controlled opponents, this system gets smarter the more gamers play and the more data the system acquires.

A virtual arms race is created between the players and the artificial intelligence, providing an ever-changing challenge for the user, Hintze said.

“We know that players communicate and explain what worked and what didn’t in an effort to win.” he said. “The more the gamers play and exchange information, the more data the system acquires, and the smarter the artificial intelligence gets. So some action that once worked now doesn’t and evolution has to find a new solution. As a result, the game provides never-ending new challenges for players.”

Hintze will be working with Strength in Numbers Studios, Inc., an independent video game studio based in East Lansing. Together, Hintze and the studio will incorporate the AI system into the game “Tuebor.”

“The implications of this are quite astounding,” said Scott Reschke, CEO of Strength in Numbers Studios, Inc. “We have an opportunity to change how games are played across the entire industry. We are helping create a system of endless play against computers that can outthink the player and can evolve their actions based on the same principles of learning that we humans have.”

Tuebor will be released to the public in late Spring 2016. For more information about Strength in Numbers Studios, visit strengthstudios.org.

Arend Hintze , Scott Reschke and Kim Ward via MSU Today


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