A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Animal Controlled Computer Game Plays Pac-Man Vs. Crickets
Animal Controlled Computer Games, a graduation project by Wim van Eck, is a Pac-Man-style game in which humans can play against real insects. The project has been written up in a short paper submitted to the 2006 International Conference on Entertainment. His project parallels part of the plot of Ender's Game, the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel by Orson Scott Card.
Most computer games today make use of pre-programmed behaviors, and are limited to what their programmers have created. As van Eck puts it "Donkey Kong will never get tired of throwing heavy barrels at you, or strain a muscle, or get hungry and just eat the princess. After playing a computer game for some time, you know what you can expect from it."
The goal of his project was to center the action in a computer game around the unpredictability of an animal. Is it possible to replace code with creatures? Can a person play against an animal in a computer game?
(Animal Controlled Computer Game setup)
Here's how the animals control the Pac-Man computer game in van Eck's project:
Instead of computer code, I wanted to have animals controlling the ghosts. To enable this, I built a real maze for the animals to walk around in, with its proportions and layout matching the maze of the computer game. The position of the animals in the maze is detected using colour-tracking via a camera, and linked to the ghosts in the game. This way, the real animals are directly controlling the virtual ghosts.
Crickets were selected because of their small size, activity level and maintainability. van Eck makes use of a natural cricket behavior - a tendency to flee from vibration (a sign of approaching predators) - to allow human players to interact with them. For example, when Pac-Man eats a power pill, the ghosts run away. The real-world analog (for the crickets) is that the floor vibrates under the spot where the virtual Pac-Man is standing, causing the crickets to flee.
Science fiction fans are immediately reminded of Orson Scott Card's 1985 classic Ender's Game, in which humans also play against insects (or, rather, insectile aliens). In the novel (*Spoiler Alert*), boy genius Andrew "Ender" Wiggin plays endless computer strategy games for the military. Eventually, he finds out that the "game" is a simulation of humanity's real battle against the insectile Buggers; he commands real troops and the "moves" of the aliens in his "game" are representations of the movements of the real insect battle groups.
If we're going to fight insectile aliens, we certainly need to start somewhere; Wim van Eck's project is a fine beginning.
Game enthusiasts may also want to read about Games of tomorrow built by players wiki-style; take a look at Rat Neurons In A Dish Now Playing Flight Simulator and Cockroach-Controlled Mobile Robot to see how animals can play their own games. Read more about van Eck's Pac-Man versus crickets game. Found on Pixelsix via pasta & vinegar.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/4/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?' Miles Breuer, 1932
BibleGPT - King James Version Padre Booth, ala Philip K. Dick
Tell me your torments.
Missing Jet Finally Found
Ah, what could have been - still in the future.
Teslas Have Minds, Says Elon Musk
'The machine scans the patterns of the mind; ...Impress these same waves on a robot computer.' - Frederik Pohl, 1955.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'
Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'
Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?
Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'
Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'
San Francisco Autobus
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street...'
Should Your Car Decide If You Can Drive?
'Okay. Maybe the car was right...'
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
'the peeper did not operate by virtue of its machinery alone, but by the reaction of the brain and the body of its user...'
Honda UNI-ONE Hands-Free Wheelchair Follows 100 Year-Old Design
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
'McKie held a chalf-memory stick over the dusted surface.'
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories