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By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Aug, 2017 At 11:10 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is some incredible news.

 

StarCraft II will now be used as an AI Research Environment

 

 

Testing our agents in games that are not specifically designed for AI research, and where humans play well, is crucial to benchmark agent performance. That is why we, along with our partner Blizzard Entertainment, are excited to announce the release of SC2LE, a set of tools that we hope will accelerate AI research in the real-time strategy game StarCraft II. The SC2LE release includes:

  • A Machine Learning API developed by Blizzard that gives researchers and developers hooks into the game. This includes the release of tools for Linux for the first time.
  • An open source version of DeepMind’s toolset, PySC2, to allow researchers to easily use Blizzard’s feature-layer API with their agents.
  • A series of simple RL mini-games to allow researchers to test the performance of agents on specific tasks.
  • A joint paper that outlines the environment, and reports initial baseline results on the mini-games, supervised learning from replays, and the full 1v1 ladder game against the built-in AI.

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For example, while the objective of the game is to beat the opponent, the player must also carry out and balance a number of sub-goals, such as gathering resources or building structures. In addition, a game can take from a few minutes to one hour to complete, meaning actions taken early in the game may not pay-off for a long time. Finally, the map is only partially observed, meaning agents must use a combination of memory and planning to succeed

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Even StarCraft’s action space presents a challenge with a choice of more than 300 basic actions that can be taken. Contrast this with Atari games, which only have about 10 (e.g. up, down, left, right etc). On top of this, actions in StarCraft are hierarchical, can be modified and augmented, with many of them requiring a point on the screen. Even assuming a small screen size of 84×84 there are roughly 100 million possible actions available.

Gaming has come a long way and Blizzard has definitely been a part of that journey. For StarCraft II to be used like this, shows just how well developed and innovative the design was for the game. Hopefully the research that comes from this will be helpful to the scientific progress. Gaming is helping move society forward.