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posted by martyb on Friday August 11 2017, @06:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the Game-On! dept.

Tic-tac-toe, checkers, chess, Go, poker. Artificial intelligence rolled over each of these games like a relentless tide. Now Google's DeepMind is taking on the multiplayer space-war videogame StarCraft II. No one expects the robot to win anytime soon. But when it does, it will be a far greater achievement than DeepMind's conquest of Go—and not just because StarCraft is a professional e-sport watched by fans for millions of hours each month.

DeepMind and Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind StarCraft, just released the tools to let AI researchers create bots capable of competing in a galactic war against humans. The bots will see and do all all the things human players can do, and nothing more. They will not enjoy an unfair advantage.

DeepMind and Blizzard also are opening a cache of data from 65,000 past StarCraft II games that will likely be vital to the development of these bots, and say the trove will grow by around half a million games each month. DeepMind applied machine-learning techniques to Go matchups to develop its champion-beating Go bot, AlphaGo. A new DeepMind paper includes early results from feeding StarCraft data to its learning software, and shows it is a long way from mastering the game. And Google is not the only big company getting more serious about StarCraft. Late Monday, Facebook released its own collection of data from 65,000 human-on-human games of the original StarCraft to help bot builders.

[...] Beating StarCraft will require numerous breakthroughs. And simply pointing current machine-learning algorithms at the new tranches of past games to copy humans won't be enough. Computers will need to develop styles of play tuned to their own strengths, for example in multi-tasking, says Martin Rooijackers, creator of leading automated StarCraft player LetaBot. "The way that a bot plays StarCraft is different from how a human plays it," he says. After all, the Wright brothers didn't get machines to fly by copying birds.

Churchill guesses it will be five years before a StarCraft bot can beat a human. He also notes that many experts predicted a similar timeframe for Go—right before AlphaGo burst onto the scene.

Have any Soylentils here experimented with Deep Learning algorithms in a game context? If so how did it go and how did it compare to more traditional opponent strategies?

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/googles-ai-declares-galactic-war-on-starcraft-/


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by deimios on Friday August 11 2017, @06:57AM (2 children)

    by deimios (201) on Friday August 11 2017, @06:57AM (#552173) Journal

    Starcraft is a Real Time Strategy game with heavy emphasis on the Real Time part by having mechanics that are deliberately time consuming, thus testing the player's multitasking ability.

    Since an AI (or any computer program actually) has multitasking down to microseconds if they have some number of pre-programmed strategies that take advantage of their near 0 execution lag and 100% accuracy they should beat any human.

    The necessity of an AI arises when the human player invariably adapts to these preset strategies and learns to counter them, not by playing the game more efficiently but by taking advantage of the predictability of non-AI routines.

    I will be watching some of the AI vs human games if they publish them, however I predict they will be very one-sided.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 11 2017, @07:16AM

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday August 11 2017, @07:16AM (#552178) Journal

    It has already been stated that actions/clicks per minute will be limited for the Starcraft-playing AI, it will have the same fog of war, etc. It will probably be required to scroll around using the same UI, use the minimap, and listen for audio cues [youtube.com] in order to respond to what is happening [youtube.com]. Which is a constraint that will ultimately make the AI better at playing the game. Compare that to how AlphaGo played with a handicap early on, but later beat human grandmasters without any handicap in the AI's favor. The playing field for this Starcraft-playing AI will be as level as it can be.

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  • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Friday August 11 2017, @06:57PM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Friday August 11 2017, @06:57PM (#552497) Homepage

    Not really. In the pro scene APM is rarely a limiting factor, a large proportion of actions/clicks are wasted merely to keep the player's hands active. Neither is pinpoint accuracy important as this isn't an FPS; misclicks are not common (although humans do make mistakes, which is presumably one of the advantages of AI).

    Starcraft 2 is also a lot less micromanagement heavy than Starcraft 1. Overall, technical ability comprises a very small part of SC2 skills. Generally speaking, if your technical skill is lacking, then most likely your strategic and tactical skills are also lacking and you won't lose merely on your technical skills. Technical skills are generally not a huge factor in pro games.

    (I haven't followed SC2 after the first pack though, it's possible that its reliance on technical skill has increased, although I doubt it since Blizzard very much emphasized reducing the reliance on technical skill going from SC1 to SC2.)