Our research study on Scrabblesque has gone live. Please take a few moments to play the game. You may even find that it is fun to play!
It turns out that even “simple” word games like Scrabble have a lot of inherent complexity. In the context of artificial intelligence, creating computer opponents that are believable is a fundamentally different problem than creating computer opponents that are optimal. In many ways, it is much more difficulty, given that humans are not particularly rational in the first place.
The game also allows us to cognitively model player actions. For example, there are a lot of interesting questions in this domain, of which I list only a small subset:
- When and why do people shuffle before selecting their final word?
- Do people change their word selection before submitting?
- When do people swap tiles?
- How often do people play optimal words? hat are time intervals between word selection?
- Can a human player identify whether their opponent is a human player or a computer?
Even data concerning user interfaces in games is not easily available. For instance, we may wish to know how often a player makes an error due to a button being to small or being placed in an awkward location. Scrabblesque allows us to perform this kind of HCI analysis.
So please help out and put some words on the board!
It appears that the Doom 3 source code has been released. DirectX continues to be one of those things that I need to pick up but haven’t yet gotten around to.
I completed the Stanford AI midterm. The difficulty was about as expected. The rest of the weekend was spent working on the server-side logic for a clone of a popular Zynga game for our research studies. It’s also a good opportunity to invest some time in learning (or re-learning) git.
Attended a seminar by Priya Narasimhan, CEO and Founder of YinzCam. Intentional or not, one of the key ideas that I took away from the seminar was that research projects should be designed for production, not simply for lab environments.
Chad Dezern, NC Studio Director of Insomniac Games, presented on the topic of The Care and Feeding of Ideas. Insomniac Games is perhaps best known for known for their series Ratchet & Clank.
Today was a day of talks.
I attended a talk by Andy Wilson from Sandia National Labs. His area of interest is in graphics, visualization, and analytics.
I also attended a talk by Susan Landau regarding Surveillance or Security, and why increasing one can actually decrease the other.
For Operating Systems Security, I gave a talk on bot detection avoidance research with a focus on mimicking attacks.
I can’t get Zotero standalone to attach PDFs when adding citations from online databases. I’m running version 3.0b2. Unfortunately, it seems that I’ll have to go back to using Firefox 8 just because of this issue, or manually download the PDF file and attach it to the citation myself.
I’m learning how to program in Adobe Flash, particularly in the context of the game development. Recently, I’ve been impressed by many indie games (Machinarium) that have used Flash as their underlying engine.
I’ve found ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University to be useful so far. I also want to take a look at Foundation Game Design with Flash at some point.
I had to renew NewsLeecher. It seems that my SuperSearch license key expired in August. Otherwise, the remainder of the evening was spent updating endless drivers and software from Windows Update and Lenovo.
Another Humble Bundle is out, this time offering Voxatron Alpha.
Voxatron is a brand new, voxel-based, old-school-gone-new platform shooter. Pick up your trusty pea gun and shoot your way, Robotron-style, through more than twenty challenging areas filled with blocky baddies, destructible toys, and palliative powerups. The â€œBBS Levelsâ€ give you instant access to user-created content, and you can make your own voxel masterpieces with the Voxde level editor, included with every purchase.
It has its own level editor, which might be useful for games research.