Current State of the AI

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m working on the AI for Empires of Steel, and spinning it off into it’s own project. I’m still busy on things. My two main goals right now are:

* Make the AI less integrated with the game itself – i.e. Turning the AI into a separate project (which runs in a dll), removing Empires of Steel-specific code, and making the AI’s communication with the game more straight-forward.

* Creating a user-interface which shows me exactly what the artificial intelligence doing/thinking, which is important for debugging the code. This will help a lot when making improvements to the AI.

Making these changes to the AI has created a few bugs in the code. I’ve been busy fixing those bugs. I’d like to put out an update to the game soon, which includes the new AI, but only if the new AI is better than the old one.

DeepMind Artificial Intelligence [Video]

I stumbled on this interesting video the other day. DeepMind is a company founded to create general artificial intelligence (“general” meaning that the AI can understand all kinds of different things, like a human being can). Most AI is “narrow” – which means it it specifically created to solve one problem (like play chess very well).

The whole video is interesting, but you can jump ahead to 10:00 to see the AI learn to play 1980s video games. It does a surprisingly good job at playing Space Invaders and Breakout. It doesn’t do so well with more complicated games like PacMan, though. The amazing thing is that the only information they feed the AI is the screen image. The AI slowly learns to play the game by trying to maximize his score.

Endless Space [Game Review]

Note: I did a review of Endless Space 3 years ago, when it was still in alpha.

Endless Space is another space 4x game. It seems like there’s a bunch of space 4x games that have come out in the past few years. I wouldn’t really rate any of them as great, though. Overall, I feel that Endless Space does a decent job. So let’s jump into it:

User Interface

The User Interface is done well, at least in terms of looking pretty, and having good zoom-in/zoom-out functionality. Here’s a few screenshots to illustrate what I mean:

The star map (click to enlarge):

The star system view, where you set your build orders (click to enlarge):

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“How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views”

I agree with all of this. The quick version, for people who don’t want to take time to watch the video is this:

Creators put videos on YouTube, and they get ad-revenue based on views.

Other people/companies/etc take popular videos from YouTube and post them (in Facebook video format) onto their own Facebook page.

Creators don’t like this, because it deprives them of ad-revenue, popularity, and allows other people (on Facebook) to get the benefits of their videos (growing their own brand, increased popularity of their Facebook page, allowing them to sell other products, etc).

Here’s the Frank Green article mentioned at the end of the video: