Researchers add AI to ‘Super Mario’, bring characters to life

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 5, 2016
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Researchers add AI to ‘Super Mario’, bring characters to life

Researchers with Tübingen University’s Cognitive Modeling group added artificial intelligence to Super Mario, bringing the characters to life, at least to a degree, adding social skills and a level of intelligence. The project was led by Professor Martin Butz, and it aims to demonstrate what video games may be like with “socially intelligent game characters.”

The team cloned Super Mario Bros and used software they developed to give Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Yoshi artificial intelligence, enabling them to talk with each other, watch their companions, figure out stuff about their world, and even make the decision to become enemies with the other characters.

They learn these things by watching each other and talking amongst themselves. One example the researchers gave was Mario can ask a different character about how it got coins, and then can use that knowledge to get coins itself. As well, they can work together to figure out solutions to problems in the environment, like coins positioned high up.

Interestingly enough, the AI also enables the characters to become enemies to their former friends and crash into them on purpose. According to a statement from the university, the researchers equipped the character with “the basic ability to start a fight” with the other characters, something that will then become “gradually refined” based on interactions.

SOURCE: Tübingen University