Reality is a Game

Thoughts on the evolving game world around us.

Another Quick Glance At Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming better with every passing year and thus more interesting. I have no idea what the state of AI will be in years to come but for now, this is some noteworthy stuff for game makers.

Emergent AI

“You work for it” when you create emergent AI. in This talk Ben Sunshine-Hill explores what it’s like to create and work with emergent artificial intelligences.

To hear Sunshine-Hill tell it, you should aim to design AI that behaves just like people and creatures in real life do, and that means you shouldn’t rely on “emergence” as a crutch; you should know exactly why your AI does what it does. At best, players should find your AI believable — not surprising.

Artificial Intelligence Research in Games

The first in a multi-part series of public lectures on AI in games. Recorded on 20th October 2014 at the University of Derby.

In this first video, we detail some of the most interesting work in using video games as benchmarks within the AI research community. This is largely focussed on four competition benchmarks:

– The Ms. Pac-Man Competition
– The Mario AI Competition
– The 2K BotPrize
– The Starcraft AI Competition

What if AIs are more trustworthy than humans?

In this keynote session, Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn talks on the topic ”Fighting for the right to be ruled by machines”. He outlines a possible scenario over the next 50 years, in which an ever worsening political situation results in some people deciding that only computers/robots can be trusted to control the critical infrastructure of society (cars, planes, mobile networks, legal systems etc) and therefore that the people currently in charge of them need to be evicted from those positions of power.

If all of this talk about artificial intelligence gets you thinking then you should check out the Experimental AI in Games workshop at AIIDE 2015 which is just a few months away. Their accepted papers include Would You Look At That! Vision-Driven Procedural Level Design and An Algorithmic Approach to Decorative Content Placement.

Previously I posted about other conferences about artificial intelligence.

Runbow is Available Now!

Runbow is now available for download on the Wii U and you should go get it!

The game has been made by graduates from the game design program I teach in at George Brown College. It’s been wonderful seeing this group of (former) students go from wandering into the classroom in 2013 to a game released on Nintendo’s Wii U in 2015.

It’s amazing to see Runbow grow from a nugget of an idea to win Level Up in 2014 and now seeing it released on a console.

You can get the game on the eShop and can be yours for the great price of $14.99!

Runbow on Nintendo’s site and the official Runbow site.

First Person Shooter On Chatroulette

Chatroulette is a website that connects strangers to, well, chat. That isn’t always the case though (be warned!) and some people took the website and mixed it with some interactive fun.

This is a really neat merger of interactive mediums:

  • a chat website
  • video game tropes
  • live actors
  • streaming video
  • obviously, spread over the web

Here’s how they made it:

Via reddit.

DiGRA 2015 Keynote Presentations

DiGRA runs a conference ever year investigation the world of gaming. The DiGRA 2015 conference was themed around the diversity of play and they recently put the keynotes online.

Two presentations were particularly interesting and I figured I’d share them here.

This first talk is actually the final one of the conference. He says that games are framed uncertainties and explores that concept in a rather intriguing way. He actually asks the question “what makes this madness so enjoyable?”

DiGRA2015 – KEYNOTE – Markus Rautzenberg – Ludic Epistemology in an Age of new Essentialisms from Centre for Digital Cultures on Vimeo.

Markus Rautzenberg “Ludic Epistemology in an Age of new Essentialisms”
Markus Rautzenberg is a German philosopher currently working at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2007 he received his doctorate degree in philosophy with a thesis on a ‘Theory of Perturbation’. He received a DFG-doctoral scholarship at the graduate school ‘The Staging of the Body’ and a DFG-postdoctoral fellowship at the international graduate school ‘Interart’. His main fields of research are media theory, picture theory, aesthetics, the relation of iconicity and knowledge, epistemology and game studies.

In this next talk I really like the connection between delivering narrative while having cohesive and complementary game mechanics. I don’t agree with everything she goes into, particularly around The Stanley Parable, regardless it’s a neat presentation.

DiGRA2015 – KEYNOTE – Astrid Ensslin – Videogames as Unnatural Narratives from Centre for Digital Cultures on Vimeo.

Astrid Ensslin “Videogames as Unnatural Narratives”
Astrid Ensslin is a Professor of Digital Culture and Communication at Bangor University (UK). Her research sits at the interface between videogames and electronic literature, and she is currently running an AHRC-funded project on ‘Reading Digital Fiction’ (with Sheffield Hallam University and various non-academic organizations). Her main publications are ‘Literary Gaming’ (MIT Press, 2014), ‘The Language of Gaming’ (Palgrave, 2011) and ‘Canonizing Hypertext’ (Continuum, 2007).

You can view the rest here.

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