EA’s deep learning division, Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division (SEED), has made a breakthrough of sorts. The outfit was able to create AI that was smart enough to teach itself to play Battlefield 1‘s fast and frenetic multiplayer. For real.
EA documented this in a brief video published during the Game Developers Conference (via Gamasutra). This is the regular Battlefield 1 multiplayer experience, but EA did give some of its AI “agents,” as they’re called, a bit of hand. As you can see, EA added boxes in the game world that contain ammo and health. Even with that advantage, the AI looks surprisingly smart for having learned everything by trial and error. That being said, EA fully acknowledges that it’s not perfect–you’ll see a group of AI soldiers running in circles at various points. Whoops.
“All players you see are controlled by a single neural network that has been trained to play the game from scratch through trial and error,” EA said. “The agents have learned to adapt their behaviour if they are low on ammo or health. Everything the agents do is the result of previous gameplay experience. We only give them encouragement for playing the objective.”
SEED has offices in Stockholm (where Battlefield developer DICE is located) and Los Angeles. The group’s mission is “to explore, build, and help define the future of interactive entertainment.” You can learn more about SEED on EA’s website here.
It’s expected that big video game publishers–and companies of all kinds–would have R&D divisions. What’s rarer, however, is that EA is talking about and showing off some of its efforts. We can only imagine what we’ll see next.
The next Battlefield game, meanwhile, is due out this year and is rumored to be set in World War II. The game has yet to be formally announced, but we know it will be playable at E3 in June, so an official reveal should happen soon.