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Orthogonally Evolved AI to Improve Difficulty Adjustment in Video Games

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Computer games are most engaging when their difficulty is well matched to the player's ability, thereby providing an experience in which the player is neither overwhelmed nor bored. In games where the player interacts with computer-controlled opponents, the difficulty of the game can be adjusted not only by changing the distribution of opponents or game resources, but also through modifying the skill of the opponents. Applying evolutionary algorithms to evolve the artificial intelligence that controls opponent agents is one established method for adjusting opponent difficulty. Less-evolved agents (i.e. agents subject to fewer generations of evolution) make for easier opponents, while highly-evolved agents are more challenging to overcome. In this publication we test a new approach for difficulty adjustment in games: orthogonally evolved AI, where the player receives support from collaborating agents that are co-evolved with opponent agents (where collaborators and opponents have orthogonal incentives). The advantage is that game difficulty can be adjusted more granularly by manipulating two independent axes: by having more or less adept collaborators, and by having more or less adept opponents. Furthermore, human interaction can modulate (and be informed by) the performance and behavior of collaborating agents. In this way, orthogonally evolved AI both facilitates smoother difficulty adjustment and enables new game experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on the Applications of Evolutionary Computation : Applications of Evolutionary Computation - 19th European Conference, EvoApplications 2016, Porto, Portugal, March 30 -- April 1, 2016, Proceedings, Part I
PublisherSpringer
Publication date30 Mar 2016
Pages525-540
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-31203-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-31204-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume9597
ISSN0302-9743

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