Distributed exploration of virtual environments

In most games today the movements of computer players is controlled by a web of way points that have been predefined by the creators of the map, or automatically generated by an application on beforehand. This data is precompiled to save precious CPU cycles for the player of the game, but what if we want these computer players to be able to explore how to get around the map by themselves? How could this be done and how would the result change if we had several of these players cooperating to explore the map? We explore some of the possibilities for exploration and discovery of maps using approaches that is often found in robotics. We also look at what happens when there is a penalty for communicating between these computer players, and what effect different amounts of map coverage will have on the performance of them. By setting up a test environment inside an existing commercial computer game we developed a client side bot system that made it possible for us to test different parameters and settings. Based on the analysis of the test results we propose ways to describe and predict the effects of the number of bots and the communication rate, and we describe several ways of how to further advance on these ideas and experiments.

Author: Andreas Mattisson, Mathias Börjesson

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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