An AI Can Recreate Your Favorite Old-School Video Game Just by Watching Someone Play It
A New Kind of Developer
There are many video game companies around these days, from established names to indie developers. Just when it seems that everyone with the ability to create video games has tried it out, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have introduced a totally new, first of its kind developer. In a research paper published online, the Georgia Tech team showed how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to make a video game.
More specifically, remake a video game: the team’s AI recreated classic two-dimensional titles, like Super Mario Bros and Mega Man, just by watching the games being played. While the Georgia Tech AI didn’t recreate full-blown versions, it did demonstrate that AI can learn the game engine behind these classic titles. This ability to actually recreate the game it sees — not just learn how to play it — makes it different from similar game-playing AI’s like DeepMind’s AlphaGo, systems that play Atari games and StarCraft II, and Elon Musk’s Dota-playing bot.
There are, of course, limitations to consider (we don’t want to over-promise here — like No Man’s Sky). Georgia Tech’s AI didn’t learn everything from scratch. From the onset it was equipped with a visual dictionary of all the in-game sprites, as well as a set of basic concepts — such as the position and velocity of objects — in order to analyze what it would see.