What now? – Amped up Artificial Intelligence BETA

“Exploring the presence of Artificial Intelligence in video games”


 

A couple of weeks ago I began embarking on the challenge and task of exploring artificial intelligence (AI) in video games such as Mario Kart, Fortnite and Call of Duty. These were to be published as three separate blog posts on the platform, ‘WordPress’ and then posted to twitter, reddit as well messenger where by friends outside of the BCM215 cohort, would be able to engage with my content and provide feedback. As stated in my pitch, these were to be presented as three separate blog posts each exploring a different video game.

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Future Progression 

My third and potential fourth blog post, as specified in my beta video will include a blog post and podcast of an interview conducted with a female twitch streamer and her experiences with AI whilst streaming. If time management skills develop, I will include a blog about the future of AI and its potential development in video games to come.

By following the specified analytical framework I will be able to develop and curate my information in a much clearer manner than I had done in the previous posts.

Artificial Intelligence

  • There are a variety of articles and scholarly texts which are thought provoking around the concept of artificial intelligence in video games. These articles overall helped me learn more about AI as a whole and less on AI in the specific video games I originally researched.
  • In my pitch I highlighted this text; Artificial Intelligence in Video Games: Towards a Unified Framework . This article explores the concept that video games are designed for human beings and that the more monetisation, income and complex a game gets the more skills, techniques and abilities are required by the human to complete the game. In hand with the increasing complexity in video games, Safafi, Fonteneau and Ernst (2014) remark on how AI is thus independently designed to suit the difficulty of different video games. The article also primarily explores  “the numerous similarities that exist between video games not only of the same genre, but of different genres too, resulting in a difficulty to handle the many aspects of a complex environment independently for each video game” (Ernst, Fonteneau, & Safadi, 2014) .
  • This article will also help in the context of the interview if the streamer is aware of any of these similarities.

 

Player Engagement

  • Cultural historian of video games and computing, Laine Nooney wrote , A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History’ which will undeniably be a key focus text as the streamer I intend to interview is a female gamer. Nooney’s text explores the historical views of womens role and participation in video game infrastructure. She addresses and explores the questions from “Where are women in game history?” to “Why are they there in the way that they are?” (Nooney, 2013) . Although these questions are not the main focus of my final blog but they are thought provoking and provide cultural context into the gaming history of females and their minimal role in video games.
  • Furthermore, background research specifies that gaming is a predominantly a male dominated entertainment platform. Muchneed.com (2019) highlighted that 81.5% of streamers being male and 18.5% female population.
  • These statistics will allow me to determine background questions into her experiences on twitch.

 

Video Games 

  • To understand the AI and player engagement, it is viable that we understand the video game, including the narrative as Gonzalo Frasca labels in his article ‘Simulation versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology “consider video games as extensions of drama and narrative”(Frasca, 2003).
  • Further paying clear attention to the analytical framework, to explore the idea of video games is highly relevant to my previous blog posts and future blog posts. By using Frascas text above allows me to explore the concept of ‘Ludology’, which can be “defined as a discipline that studies games in general, and video games in particular” (Frasca, 2003).
  • The story line of video games was briefly addressed in my questions to Fortnite of what people thought of Fortnite, to which many peoples response was “what story line” (Reddit, 2019).

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After engaging with content from the lectures, and weekly readings, I believed that my topic had potential to “engage further in the scholarly materials to help make the topic of A.I in games clearer” (Christopher Moore, 2019). With this in mind and researching the weekly readings I decided to focus on individual experiences with AI, specifically streamers.

Overall, these concept seems undeniably complex, although, through iterations and remediations of feedback from my current blog posts I believe that there is a clear platform to explore the concept of AI in video games in more depth rather than focusing on such a big topic.

 


N.B: All feedback is appreciated and welcomed with open arms. Would also be great to get some feedback on my analytical framework concept. 

 

References: 

Ernst, D, Fonteneau, R, & Safadi, F, 2014, ‘Artificial Intelligence in Video Games: Towards a Unified Framework’, Internation Journal of Computer Games Technology, vol (2015), pp (1-30)

Frasca, G. (2003). Simulation versus narrative: Introduction to Ludology. In M. J. P. Wolf & B. Perron (Eds.), The video game theory reader. New York: Routledge

L. Nooney 2013, ‘A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History’ The international journal of computer game research, vol.13 No. 2, accessed 8 September 2019, <http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/nooney>

Muchneed.com, 2018, Twitch Statistics: Users, Viewers & Livestream, Gaming Fun Facts, viewed September 15 2019, <https://muchneeded.com/twitch-statistics/&gt;

3 Comments Add yours

  1. TammyBlog says:

    Reblogged this on Game Cultures and commented:

    What now? – Amped up Artificial Intelligence BETA
    BCM215

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  2. Pitch Video

    Overall you have a clear understanding of the topic you are investigating for your digital artefact. It is good that you gave a brief refresher of what your topic was about as someone who had not read your initial pitch would still understand what you are talking about. It is great to see that you have engaged with an outside audience and used this feedback to amend your digital artefact such as the addition of a podcast. It is also nice that you changed your initial approach to gaining feedback especially on Reddit which can be tricky to navigate however it seems as though you are interacting with an audience now. Your engagement with subject material is also well done and it is nice to clearly see your analytical framework.

    Blog Post

    It is good to see that you have included more information in your blog post and haven’t just repeated the information stated in your beta video. It is good to see the research you have already done for your topic as I can clearly see where you are drawing information from. Now I would suggest finishing your third blog post and refining your first two with any extra information you may find. In terms of feedback, I think you have done an awesome job with engaging with an audience and I think if you continue posting on Reddit or Twitter you can obtain much more feedback.

    Further Research

    It is obvious you have already done a substantial amount of research for your first blog posts however I did some research on the future of artificial intelligence which you said maybe a potential fourth blog post. I found this recent media source on the future of artificial intelligence and the ways in which it will revolutionise games https://variety.com/2019/gaming/opinion/road-to-gdc-the-future-of-gaming-is-ai-1203158418/ check it out if you are interested in doing the fourth post! Good luck!

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  3. Tamara, your chosen topic has lots of potential for an interesting Digital Artefact. AI in computer games has developed drastically over the last few decades and as a result gaming experiences are becoming more and more immersive. I think your chosen format is great; having each blog post focus on one specific game title in relation its use of Artificial Intelligence is a logical way to discuss and analyse the topic.

    My biggest point of feedback for you is that I think you should reconsider the games you have decided to analyse. My concern mostly comes from your selection of Fortnite. There are two main game-modes in Fortnite; ‘Save the World’, and ‘Battle Royale’. The latter is the free-to-play mode that Fortnite is known for globally, in which 99 players are matched together and dropped into an arena to battle until one winning player or team is left standing. The problem here is that because this game is essentially a massive multiplayer title where players are grouped together over the internet, there are no NPC’s. You are playing with and against real people only, and as of now there is no AI in Fortnite’s ‘Battle Royale’ mode. Although the much less popular ‘Save the World’ game mode does use AI with the player fighting against NPC enemies, your blog post about Fortnite appears to focus on ‘Battle Royale’ only. I think it is already evident in your blog post that Fortnite may not be the best choice of game for your project, because it mostly discusses the reasons for Fortnite’s success as a game, rather than your DA topic of Artificial Intelligence in gaming. From what I heard in your podcast, you briefly mentioned that Epic Games is using AI to analyse game data and better understand the behaviour patterns of their players. However, I found this point to be unclear and understated, when it should be the main focus of your blog post as it relates directly to your topic. I also couldn’t find a source to back up this claim in your reference list or podcast description, which I think you should also keep in mind when developing your upcoming posts. I do like that you decided to include podcast audio in this post after reading your initial feedback, because multimedia posts are dynamic and interesting. I recommend using a podcast format when interviewing the twitch streamer, Alex, about her gaming experiences, and embedding the recorded audio into your future blog posts.

    Your post about Mario Kart was good. I think this game is more suitable for the topic as it uses AI to pilot the NPC racers, and I also enjoyed the inclusion of the Mari/o bot as an example of a self-taught AI tool developed to run through a single-player game. Although, I did find the structure of the post a little confusing when it switched from discussing Mario Kart to Super Mario after a few paragraphs. I think sticking to one game per post may be easier for coherency.

    While I understand that not being a gamer can make it difficult to approach the unfamiliar, I think there are countless games with AI at the forefront of design that would be more suitable for your series of blog posts. Perhaps you should do some more research into this, I’d recommend doing this through Reddit and Twitter, or perhaps asking some friends with background knowledge about video games (maybe Alex?). You could use a media archaeology approach; ask gamers about the successes and failures of AI in gaming throughout the years. What games are notorious for either good or bad utilisation of AI technologies? Here are some articles and Reddit threads that may be useful;
    [ https://bit.ly/2lll1Ke ]
    [ https://bit.ly/2ny31NB ]
    [ https://bit.ly/2mZSpGJ ]
    [ https://bit.ly/2lp1Yig ]
    [ https://bit.ly/2nsw0Cg ]
    You can also read more about the media archaeology method of analysis in the Week 2 lecture notes, and the Huhtamo reading ‘Slots of Fun, Slots of Trouble’. Also, I wanted to share a short article about ‘Expressive AI’ in video games, and how AI relates to game design and audience experiences;
    [ http://steel.lcc.gatech.edu/~mateas/publications/MateasDIGRA2003.pdf ]
    Hopefully this can help you with your next blog post.

    Finally, I thought I’d share some tips for using Reddit to share your content; it’s important to remember that anybody can check your post history. When sharing your podcast, your title said that you ‘found it’ online and wanted to share it on Reddit, but a quick check of your post history tells me that you have recently been researching the topic of the podcast on various subreddits. It’s not easy to fool users on Reddit because of this transparent access to your post history. This may be a reason why your posts are being downvoted or deleted for self-promotion. I’d recommend trying to share your content with just a brief descriptive title and caption instead.

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