Games as Cybernetic Systems

AI and Robotics

Nov 30, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)

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Games as Cybernetic Systems
(Ch. 18)

Cybernetics

Resulted from Information Theory (Ch.
16) and Information Systems Theory (Ch.
17)

Focus on how dynamic systems change
over time

Cybernetics is used to study organizations

Large companies

Governments

Basic principle: output
-
feedback
-

Elements of a Cybernetic System

“The feedback Loop”

Environment

Comparator

Sensor

Activator

AC
-
unit
-
in
-
a
-
room example

feedback

output

Kinds of Feedback

Example of each for the AC
-
unit
-
in
-
a
-
room example

Negative
: temperature(room) > 75

then activate cooler

Positive
: temperature(room) < 75

then activate cooler

Simple Cybernetic Design

Lets combine two feedback loops that maintains the
temperature in a room stays between 65

and 75

We have a cool air maker and

We have a heat air maker

Lets do one that that maintains the temperature in a
room at 70

. Same conditions as before

Example of “this stuff” in games?

Positive/negative feedback in games?

Feedback Lops in Games

(
Marc LeBlanc)

Environment

Comparator

Sensor

Activator

feedback

output

Game state

Game mechanical bias

Scoring function

Controller

Game state

Information known to all players

Information known to only one player

Information known to the game only

Randomly generated information

Example of negative Feedback:
Downforce

-
OQzqUdbs4

Negative:

Simulated
gravity vs.
player

AI lets itself
catch
-
up if you
are loosing

AI catches
up if you are
winning

AI lets itself catch
-
up if you are loosing

feedback

output

Game state

Game mechanical bias

Scoring function

Controller

Position of autos

Configuration of
track

Player loosing?
Formally:

Distance(player, finish)
finish)

position

Formally:
Distance(player,finish),

-
car

Formally:

speed(player)

f(

Example Positive Feedback

Homework: Next Class

Construct feedback loops (see Slide 9) for:

Simulated gravity vs player control (Slide 8)

Mortal combat (Slide 10)

Make sure to clearly identify four elements in detail

Simulated gravity vs player control

feedback

output

Game state

Game mechanical bias

Scoring function

Controller

Position of autos

Configuration of
track

speed…

Player going out of

Player direction

Mortal Combat: combo

feedback

output

Game state

Game mechanical bias

Scoring function

Controller

Health Points
player

Health points
opponent

Disabled (Yes,
No)

Opponent
situation (chance
for next combo,
no chance)

Disabled = Yes

Opponent situation =
chance for next combo

Disabled,

Opponent situation

Disabling attack

Difficulty Levels

Brigette Swan

habits of a particular player
over time.

Many games implement
difficulty sliders.

Common:

start early levels easy

More difficult as game
progresses

Difficulty can be: amount
of information available!

Dynamic Difficulty

--

The Oblivion Controversy

Idea: adjust game so that it remains challenging
(negative feedback)

It is an RPG game like say Diablo but…

As your avatar levels so do all mobs in the game

So for example you “clean” a dungeon at
level 1 killing some rats, at level 10 those rats
will be armored and will hit much harder

Does it still have meaningful play as a result?

Use of Feedback in Games

(
Marc LeBlanc)

Stability
:

Negative feedback stabilizes a game

Positive feedback destabilizes a game

Game duration

Negative feedback can prolong a game

Positive feedback can end it

Success
:

Positive feedback magnifies early success

Negative feedback magnifies late ones

Control
:

Feedback systems can emerge from games

Feedback systems can take control away from gamers

… and result in lost of meaningful play!

Examples?

Test # 2

Chapter 11 to Chapter 18

Class + Book

6 student presentations

Instructional Games + S.L.V