Chris Woods and colleagues at Cryptozoic Entertainment are working to reimagine how people play video games with computer-controlled opponents, as well as to revolutionize the genre of trading card games that use artificial intelligence (AI).
Woods is the lead engineer behind the digital card game "Hex: Shards of Fate," and he says its AI is doing more than playing the game--it is watching and learning. The AI has recorded every one of the millions of games already played and aggregates the information to better understand how the game is played. When certain card combinations become popular, the AI will begin to anticipate and prepare to counter them.
"Hex" goes one step further than Blizzard Entertainment's popular "Hearthstone" game in that it blends concepts prevalent in games such as "World of Warcraft." The massively multiplayer online trading card game creates a digital space for players to battle while also building a world full of characters to meet and quests to complete.
Wood envisions AI not only understanding how to play the game, but also transcending being seen as just a machine. When an AI is assessing its choices and assigning each card a value, those values can be manipulated by certain personality quirks, which Woods programs the AI to select.
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