Nvidia recently taught its AI system to recreate the game Pac-Man just by watching it being played. Hypebeast reports: No coding or pre-rendered images were used for the software to base the recreation on. The AI model was simply fed visual data of the game being played alongside controller inputs. From there, the AI recreated what it saw frame by frame, resulting in a playable version of Bandai Namco’s most recognizable title. Although it’s not a perfect recreation of the title and all its assets, all the mechanics and gameplay goals are the same. NVIDIA even believes this is how AI will be applied to game creation in the future. [Rev Lebaredian, Nvidia’s vice president of simulation technology] notes the experiment was done in collaboration with Bandai Namco as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic arcade game.
The artificial intelligence program is called GameGAN, with GAN standing for “generative adversarial network,” which is a common architecture used in machine learning. GAN works by attempting to replicate input data while also comparing its work to the original source. If the two don’t match, the data is rejected and the program looks for improvements and tries again. Although AI programs have generated virtual gaming spaces before, GameGAN is able to use a “memory module” that allows the program to store an internal map of the digital space it’s trying to recreate, leading to a more consistent copy. The AI was trained on over 50,000 episodes and almost never died, the company says. Nvidia will be releasing the recreated game online in the near future.