Google shows how DeepMind learns Quake III Arena




DeepMind, the sister company of Google that works on artificial intelligence, has published a paper in which it shows how it has trained bots who learn to play Quake III Arena independently and without any explanation.

DeepMind has made bots, agents name the company them, who learned how to play Capture the Flag, one of the game modes in Quake III Arena, the shooter that id Software delivered in 1999. The agents do not get an explanation of the rules beforehand, but are now performing so well that they can measure themselves with good human players.

DeepMind also wanted to make the bots extra difficult and developed a tool that could generate random maps for Capture the Flag, so that the self-learning agents can not rely on map knowledge. Moreover, the agents were made to respond only to visual information, not to other game data. So they can not look through walls, like some bots made by game developers. The makers wanted to achieve that the bots learned to understand the rules of the game. Moreover, they wanted the bots to learn to work together in a group as well as to fight opponents. That worked perfectly. The agents even developed recognized human strategies, such as campening in the hostile base, defending their own base and guiding the flag bearer.

Although the agents did not receive any explanation about the rules beforehand, they soon learned to understand the concept of the game form. The DeepMind employees found neurons in the code that were activated when their own flag was stolen or when a team member of an agent held the enemy’s flag. The agents not only performed well in the game, their contribution was also highly appreciated by human players. In an evaluation after a number of mixed jars, in which agents and human opponents played together, the contribution of the agents was higher because they would work better together. DeepMind has previously researched bots that learn to play StarCraft II.


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