Now AIs have all the fun: they play and create the game!

A new AI system, called Angelina is extending procedural content generation to create an entire video game. As part of Michael Cook’s PhD, from Imperial College of London, he developed Angelina, which randomly creates the level design, the enemies, the enemy movements and combat tactics, and the power-ups.

Ok, not everything is generated right now. The music and graphics are human-made, but procedural generated techniques for generating music and graphics do exist. As the New Scientist article hints, what’s to stop an artist from using Angelina for pushing out a new game every 12 hours and posting it to the App Store… A game generated from

Bill Gosper's Glider Gun in action—a variation...

Video Games beget Video Games via Wikipedia

Angelina is available online to play.  It’s pretty impressive.  It’s no Half-Life, but remember this was automatically generated!  Now, if there was a video game that created video games, we’d have a practical example of a self-reproducing machine besides Conway’s Game of Life.

And then there is this video, by Quantic Dream that primarily shows the improvements in near-human CG animation. It’s stunning visually, but it’s also a gripping vignette. Showing the singularity moment when AIs become self-aware. When this happens, I think they will make more than scrolling 8-bit games!

Lastly, I found an interesting paper on Automatic Quest Generation. In this paper, Jonathon Doran and Ian Parberry survey 3000 quests from various online games like World of Warcraft and categorize the type of quest. They then go own to create a set of rules (a grammar for those CS-types reading) to produce the quest procedurally. Those quests can get boring fast, and I’m not surprised to find out that most have the form:

    • 〈 goto 〉 kill | i.e. Goto Place X, kill thing Y
    • 〈 goto 〉 〈 get 〉 give | i.e. Goto Place X, get magic potion Y, give it to NPC Z.

At some point while playing WoW (a few years ago…), I stopped reading the actual quest description (i.e. the story) just to see the lists of tasks I had to accomplish.  It was at that point that I also stopped finding the game fun and stopped playing.  So if designers focus on a good main story, they can offload small side quests to the AI.  After reading this paper and watching associated video, I think I’m going to incorporate a subset of their grammar into my game project, and combine it with some player modeling. I can’t give away too much to my potential test subjects, after all, there will be cake.