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DromoDesigner

Game ideas for experimental artificial intelligence

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I’ve developed an experimental artificial intelligence system for computer games, and now I’d like to develop a game to test and help market the AI. I’ve got two ideas for a game, and I’d really like to hear your opinions about which one you think is better. The ideas are:

 

1/ A world War Two real-time strategy game, set on an island fought over by the Soviets and Germans. The goal of the game is to completely conquer the island. Each soldier is modelled individually, and the war takes place over the entire island. The player can either control the army as a whole, or can automate as much as they want, allowing the player to focus on only the stuff that interests them (like controlling just the tank divisions or Special Forces). So the war will continue and evolve even if the player just chooses to control a handful of units.

 

2/ A real-time strategy game set in and around an encircled city. The aim of the game is to either defend the city from the army outside, or play as the army outside and conquer the city. Each soldier is modelled individually, and the defenders can make all sorts of traps and devices to place in the streets between buildings (as well as having a limited number of troops). There will be a part of the game where players can make their own traps and devices by combining base components, which can then be placed at locations where they think the enemy will attack. The setting will either be present day, or perhaps just after the Second World War and using that level of technology.

 

I really appreciate your feedback, and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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I’d like to develop a game to test and help market the AI.

 

a full game for that might be a bit much.

 

AI demos often have very rudimentary environments - the idea being to showcase AI behavior, not distract potential customers with some particular game that lies between them and the AI.

 

You might try posting a question in the AI forum along the lines of "how little game do i need to make a decent AI demo?". you might also look at demos and screen shots of existing middle ware AI packages, and see how fancy they get. and don't look at the games they've already sold to, look at the marketing materials they used to sell their AI to that developer in the first place.

 

Most of the AI tech demos i've seem are all just cubes. IE a level with single grid texture, and cubes for all game objects. So just about zero visuals. buy plenty enough to observe AI behavior.

 

one cool thing about rapid prototyping games this way is that if its fun to play when its just cubes, you know it'll be fun with real graphics - and you didn't have to make any real graphics to find out.  a great time saver if it turns out to not be as much fun as expected.

 

using cubes you could create an AI demo faster. and if it was fun too, you might have a hit on your hands. if not, think, then try again with cubes and a different game idea.

 

from your post it would seem this AI is designed for RTS games?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Hello, and thank you for your replies.

 

I'll try and answer your questions:

 

Norman: My AI is designed to replicate some aspects of human behaviour, so theoretically it should be able to play any type of game (I'm a psychologist and I've applied a number of cognitive psychology theories). It just so happens that I'm a fan of RTS games, and they are the ones that I have most experience with. Also, part of the AI system is the ability for NPCs to be modelled as individual agents, which can share the decision making parts of the overall AI system. And an RTS game is a good way of using lots of individual agents.

 

Originally I wanted to make a kind of society simulation, where lots of agents interacted, and even built social networks. But that would be quite complicated, and I needed to make a game smaller in scope. And with military games like the ones I mentioned, the agents would have far fewer types of goals and behaviours, making it easier to make as an initial game.

 

Tom: I'd like to make a game for my AI, as I used C# to make the AI, and with the Unity game engine I could make a game that seamlessly interfaces with it (and I'm not sure how I could hack into other games to try and interface my AI). Also, by creating a game myself I could potentially make some money from it, which means I could further fund the development of my AI.

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I don't think you have to hack into the games. You can work out a partnership with a game company, to promote their game and your AI. I believe you're going to spend more time on the game than you did on your AI, and I think people will really only notice the game (not the AI). But good luck.

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One important thing you might be missing here is this - If you want to test out an AI, and you test it out on a brand new game, how do you know how good that AI actually is?
This is one reason why experimental AIs tend to play known and popular games. There is some idea of what 'good' and 'bad' play is and a set of players who are considered 'good' players of the game. There is then something to rank your AI against.
If you're game you code for this is very unpopular (likely), your AI is might only play new players. Let's say if you're AI reliably defeats these players. Is it then good? Impossible to say.

 

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Hello, and thank you for your replies.

 

RTS sounds like a good choice for your situation.

 

Unity and C# also sounds fine.  unity supports c# right?  don't use it myself.

 

i'd start with the absolute simplest cube based rts demo rapid prototype you can make.. just enough to test the AI. assuming the AI checks out ok - perhaps after a bit of tweaking - you take a look at how much game you have. if it's not enough gameplay to add up to a basic RTS title, continue adding the minimal amount of required features to the rapid prototype - still cubes! remember - you've proved the AI, but are still prototyping the game at this point. the game is still on trial. it may pass muster, it may not. Once you get the minimal set of gameplay features in, you play it. if its cool and fun, you're good to go. if its not, shelve it, at least for a while, and move on to the next idea.

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