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Meet Mappy, a Software System That Automatically Maps Old-School Nintendo Games


As these images from Super Mario Bros. show, Mappy can figure out how different sections of a game relate to one another.

A new software system called Mappy autonomously generates maps of a games levels (or, in some cases, its whole world), suturing together long scrolling screens and figuring out how distinct rooms connect to one another.

Credit: Mappy/Nintendo

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) have developed Mappy, a software system that can autonomously generate maps of a video game's levels, piecing together long scrolling screens and determining how distinct rooms connect to one another.

Mappy enables users to create images that display the total composition of a room, even as it changes in response to the player's actions or other on-screen events.

The researchers say Mappy could be useful to other scientists who are experimenting with procedurally generated game levels, providing them with a consistent dataset from which to train machine-learning algorithms that can produce playable worlds of their own.

In addition, UCSC's Joseph Osborn says the system could empower a form of search engine that enables users to look up a specific section of a game and then be guided directly to that moment.

From Slate
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