Knowledge acquisition for adaptive game AI

Marc Ponsen*, Pieter Spronck, Hector Munoz-Avila, David W. Aha

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Game artificial intelligence (AI) controls the decision-making process of computer-controlled opponents in computer games. Adaptive game AI (i.e., game At that can automatically adapt the behaviour of the computer players to changes in the environment) can increase the entertainment value of computer games. Successful adaptive game AI is invariably based on the game's domain knowledge. We show that an offline evolutionary algorithm can learn important domain knowledge in the form of game tactics (i.e., a sequence of game actions) for dynamic scripting, an offline algorithm inspired by reinforcement learning approaches that we use to create adaptive game AI. We compare the performance of dynamic scripting under three conditions for defeating non-adaptive opponents in a real-time strategy game. In the first condition, we manually encode its tactics. In the second condition, we manually translate the tactics learned by the evolutionary algorithm, and use them for dynamic scripting. In the third condition, this translation is automated. We found that dynamic scripting performs best under the third condition, and both of the latter conditions outperform manual tactic encoding. We discuss the implications of these results, and the performance of dynamic scripting for adaptive game At from the perspective of machine learning research and commercial game development. (c) 2007 Published by Elsevier B.V.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-75
    Number of pages17
    JournalScience of Computer Programming
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


    • computer games
    • artificial intelligence
    • real-time strategy
    • reinforcement learning
    • dynamic scripting
    • evolutionary algorithm
    • knowledge acquisition


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