Nvidia AI Watched Pac-Man & Made A Version Of The Game You Can Play Soon
An Nvidia AI was able to recreate the popular Pac-Man game without actually relying on typical game-building tools, such as a game engine. Artificial intelligence has consistently shown how it is able to learn new things, although from the gaming perspective, this is easily one of the more interesting examples.
Pac-Man was developed by Namco and is one of the titles that has gained an iconic games status over the years, thanks to its addictive gameplay, instantly recognizable maze layout, always-hungry hero and the ghosts who give chase. The original game was released on May 22, 1980 which meant Pac-Man celebrated its 40th anniversary this week.
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, Nvidia released a blog posting explaining how its new GameGAN AI model was able to recreate a fully-functional and playable version of Pac-Man. While that’s not necessarily surprising that AI was able to learn something, what is interesting is how GameGAN was able to do this without a game engine or any understanding of the rules of the game. Instead, the AI was only fed game recordings (50,000 episodes) and gameplay keystrokes by an artificial agent. This combination alone was enough for the AI to learn the game and produce a playable version. While the graphics could be better, the demonstration video uploaded to YouTube does highlight how close to the original the AI was able to get. What’s all the more impressive is the AI was able to recreate its version of the popular game in a matter of days.
Based on the blog posting, it seems even Nvidia researchers were surprised as to how well the AI performed on this task. What they do appear to be certain of, is how this could be used to improve the gaming experience in the future. Viewing this as more than just an example of what AI can do, the researchers point to how the technology could be used as a vessel to speed up the game creation development process. As an example, Nvidia suggests games developers could feed the AI existing level layouts from a game in the same way and then the AI could create new level layouts without the help from game developers or any further tools. It might also help on new character development as well. On a more wider note, the researchers further suggest the technology could be ported over to help in other industries, including training autonomous robots how to work in a warehouse or deliver goods.
As for the AI’s version of Pac-Man, Nvidia confirmed that it plans to make the game available to the general public through its AI Playground. This is the company's “online space” where it lets members of the public try out various demos developed by its research arm. Nvidia did not specifically say when it will make the AI version of Pac-Man available to play, but did say it will happen later this year.