Building Mario Levels with Machine Learning | AI and Games




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It’s been 10 years since the first ever Mario AI Competition, so I return to the world of Super Mario level generation research and catch up one some of the more interesting examples that have arisen in recent years.

You can read the article based on this video on the AI and Games website and on Medium:

http://www.medium.com/@t2thompson/mariomakers-8a67b25866dd

http://www.aiandgames.com/mario-makers

This video uses footage of Super Mario Bros. from World of Longplays:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc62hFksKo4

Video footage of 4K Metroid Prime 2 from YouTube channel iamthegr34td3str0y3r:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39xrl9z2ZZs

This video is inspired by the following AI research papers and projects:

NOOR SHAKER:
http://lynura.com/publications.php

STEVE DAHLSKOG:

Steve Dahlskog and Julian Togelius (2012): Patterns and Procedural Content Generation. Proceedings of the FDG Workshop on Design Patterns in Games (DPG).
http://julian.togelius.com/Dahlskog2012Patterns.pdf

Steve Dahlskog and Julian Togelius (2013): Patterns as Objectives for Level Generation. Proceedings of the Workshop on Design Patterns in Games at FDG.
http://julian.togelius.com/Dahlskog2013Patterns.pdf

Steve Dahlskog and Julian Togelius (2014): A Multi-level Level Generator. Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG).
http://julian.togelius.com/Dahlskog2014Multi.pdf

Steve Dahlskog, Julian Togelius and Mark J. Nelson (2014): Linear levels through n-grams. Proceedings of Academic MindTrek.
http://julian.togelius.com/Dahlskog2014Linear.pdf

ADAM SUMMERVILLE:

Summerville, A.J., Philip, S., & Mateas, M. (2015). MCMCTS PCG 4 SMB : Monte Carlo Tree Search to Guide Platformer Level Generation.
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/79f1/edef6f59446144bd348599e6138ee78589ea.pdf

Summerville, A., & Mateas, M. (2016). Super Mario as a String: Platformer Level Generation Via LSTMs.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1603.00930.pdf

MATTHEW GUZDIAL:

Guzdial, M.J., & Riedl, M.O. (2016). Toward Game Level Generation from Gameplay Videos. CoRR, abs/1602.07721.https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1602/1602.07721.pdf

VANESSA VOLZ:

Volz, V., Schrum, J., Liu, J., Lucas, S.M., Smith, A.D., & Risi, S. (2018). Evolving mario levels in the latent space of a deep convolutional generative adversarial network. GECCO.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.00728.pdf

GitHub Repository:
https://github.com/TheHedgeify/DagstuhlGAN

AHMED KHALIFA:

The Mario AI Framework (10th Anniversary Edition)
http://marioai.org/

AI and Games is series on research and applications of Artifical Intelligence in video games. It’s is supported through and wouldn’t be possible wthout the wonderful people who support it on Patreon.

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#SuperMarioMaker2 #DeepLearning #MachineLearning

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Comment List

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    It's been 10 years since the first Mario AI competition and four years since my video covering said event! While the competition ended in 2012 there has been a lot – and I mean A LOT – of Mario-related research since. Hopefully you'll agree that some of these new level generators are pretty exciting! It's been great to revisit that world and I want to give special thanks to Steve, Adam, Matthew and Vanessa, all of whom helped me make this video a reality.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I'd expect ML to be more competent when trying to create Kaizo Levels. They are much more linear and the tile placement is super precise. Classical Mario levels are usually more open and have multiple solutions, whereas Kaizo levels expect the player to beat the level in one specific way. Do you know if anyone focused on that?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I love how you pronounce "Mario".

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    14:50 there is just no way that can happen, this is fake (the top of Mario's cap stays on screen even though Mario comes back up next to the number)

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    These Super Mario elements are what I would have found in 1-1: brick block lines with question blocks sometimes, question blocks alone, goombas in groups of 1, 2 and 3, pipes, bottomless pits with a length of 2 blocks (not very threatening), risk rewards, secret 1-up block or star (1 in the entire level), satisfying moments where you can kick a shell into tons of goombas, 8-step staircase before flagpole, repeating sections, once without risk and then with risk, a question block "pyramid" with a powerup at the top and a secret bonus area which contains tons of coins on a 7*3 brick block platform and skips the level. 1-1 is a bit special because it needs to introduce new players to all the mechanics of Super Mario Bros, while not eating away an experienced player's time. And I also think Nintendo made a really good job at designing 1-1. (Btw, the section at the start, that you see all the time, is like a masterpiece of first level design)

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Imagine if you got the AI to make a super mario bros level, and it just made new super mario bros levels in the original mario. Then Miyamoto turns up and points a gun at you. 'You were right about super mario 64. But we didn't just stop there with our AI. No, we've refined it to the point where the personalisation isn't obvious any more. Truth is, the game was personalised from the start.'

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    9:21 Michael Mateas!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Imagine telling other people that you have PhD in making Super Mario Bros Levels!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    You know what game would work well with neural networks integrated into it? Dwarf Fortress. I say that because it's so heavily algorithm based you could generate things with dwarf Fortress and make something which tells if it's convincing or not. You could have the network say "fondlefoot" is a silly stupid suggestion for the name of a town next to a river but "freshwater gulch" is fitting. Generate crazy designs for fortresses and see if the dwarves actually survive and see if it comes up with the exploits that players rely on to make the game run smoothly. Is it merciless, torturing everyone and forcing them to work to make things function? If you told it to make everyone happy, would that result in killing off the weak, making the strong happier? Will it just kill everyone and make sure that the cats are happy wandering around killing rats? If you told it to make a wood themed Fortress, would it build solely on land? If you got it to control the distribution of metals underground to create the most stable economy how would it go about doing it? I know that's not exactly how neural networks function but it seems like such a simulation heavy game that you could make one aspect controlled by a neural network and it would adapt itself to it.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    This AI makes better levels than the entire mario maker community.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    You spent 25 minutes repeating the same phrases over and over again, most of the rambling made little sense….. try to focus on the key points and be concise.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    18:23 notice how you say organs

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I may be wrong but I sense a Fife accent?? 👀 also I luv the video I should rly be asleep right now lmao

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    “Dahlskog” Sounds Swedish!
    “… in Malmö University Sweden …”, well that would explain why…

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I love your accent, where is it from?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    “Georgia Tech University” lol

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    One thing that may help tremendously (though, I guess that's the first thing AI will replicate) is that there is virtually no verticality (except in fortresses in more recent Mario games).

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Let's try my best to emulate a proper comment for this video by taking the other comments into account:

    Yes, please so GANs perfect just Mark TEXTURES start.

    Just mocking. The way the study starts is so broken. The AI even breaks the final stairscase, that is a Super Mario staple.
    Players not only get the quantity and spacing of objects, people are introduced to mechanics or rules early in a level or when a new element appears in scene. They won't enjoy dealing with patterns the level haven't warned. Technically humans has to teach computers how to teach humans how to teach computers…

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I would love a video on GAN texture scaling, but I wonder if general-purpose image-scaling GANs will come to TV sets and make that a bit moot before it’s widely used. Why remake Metroid Prime in HD with GAN textures when my telly could hallucinate a higher resolution for the GC original running off original hardware?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I recently got to talk to the developers of a piece of software called “Chematica” which uses programmed-in knowledge of chemistry to suggest synthetic routes to products. The problem they’d been working on was how to effectively present the options – which might number in the hundreds of thousands – to the user. The big deciding factor after cost was novelty – suggesting a wide range of low cost options and allowing the user to then explore the neighbourhoods of particular options once they see the lay of the land. (I think you could interrogate the graph of options directly.)

    Your video got me thinking about whether AI approaches would be useful in helping people find interesting Mario Maker levels, or user generated content in general. Using these tools to evaluate some quantitative parameter like difficulty or clear time, but also to help present a diverse range of styles. (Goodness knows online content/product catalogues could do with that in general, but Mario levels seem more tractable.)

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I'm interested on those AI texture upscale episodes 😀

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    "The DISCRIMINATOR" Thats what I call an AI that was teached bullying Mario Levels 😀

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    but mario levels are simply an exercise in using the limits of Mario's skills. they are not a pattern onto themselves. these people seem to be approaching it incorrectly.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    how is GANs used to retexture metroid prime?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Building a level in isolation won't work. The machine learning algorithms would need to be sophisticated enough to understand the player responses required or suggested by a particular environmental obstacle, and it would aim to weave these obstacles together based on their accompanying responses into a cohesive gameplay narrative.
    Just sayin'
    EDIT: nevermind you cover this 14 minutes in, ignore me

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    The perfect machine learning model will just recreate miyamoto's brain

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I really really want to play Mario Maker now.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Truly amazing start.. So much potential. First video games, textures, and fake photos, next maybe even something like film?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Please do that video on AI texture upscaling. I've heard a bit about it before and it sounds fascinating

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    You can't inifinitely make new levels without new gimmicks

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    TEXTURES!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Hey,thanks for your content, you inspired me to start learning to make game A.I. and programming!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    19:46 Yes Please

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Strange that there is so much attention to generating levels. Like why is it so important? But anyway if it's important what is the definition of how to make a Mario level, why not just contact the original developers?

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I would be really interested in a video showing how AI is being used to upscale older video games graphics. Keep up the great work!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    If you look at Mark Brown's series "Boss Keys", you will notice that metroidvania levels and Zelda dungeons are actually surprisingly similar in concept, so work that went into generation of Zelda dungeons could perhaps be applied to metroidvanias. And as a Doom player, I personally recognize similarity between metroidvanias and Doom levels, and Doom community used OBLIGE level generator that creates relatively fun customizable Doom levels for many years now.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    I wonder if it'd be possible to somehow make an AI that creates levels that are specifically fun for the player. Like, simply by feeding AI levels that people consider good, and leves that people consider bad, and trying to teach AI how to design good levels.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Wed morning just got a lot bettah.

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Yes please, 4k Morrowind details!

  • AI and Games
    December 14, 2020

    Steve has been my teacher 0.o

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