Here’s is something exciting: in not too long you will be able to play a video game that uses neural networks trained by Decisive AI. Yes, you will be able to play a video game that truly incorporates the concept of artificial players - players that are neither human nor programmed by a coder.
But before getting to much into why artificial players are a big deal, let me tell you more about our first game: Tournament Of Dragons.
Tournament Of Dragons is a simple to learn, hard to master game divided in two rounds. In the first round you hire champions to fight for your lineup. You do this by bidding on a selection of four competitors at a time. The champions come in all sizes: from mice to trolls, but the strongest ones are dragons. Still, even the weakest of these brave fighters can come handy in the next round.
You, and the other managers, all start with 12 gold coins, so it is an even playing field. This will happen 5 times, so at the end of the hiring round every player will have 5 champions for the next phase: the battle.
There are 5 battles and each have 4 prizes. Here you look at the prizes and select which fighter you want to send. The other players do the same and revel their fighters at the same time as you. The prizes are distributed in order of fighter level. Yes, the mouse will always lose to the troll, but if the worst prize of this battle is pretty good (and the best not so much better), then your mouse would have been a great return on investment.
At the end of the game, the first two players will have positive points, and the last two negative points. This affects their standings in a global leaderboard, which guarantees that a player only competes with similarly skilled players (I don’t like the feeling in Fortnite of landing, counting to three, and dying).
This is the kind of game that is great to play with friends. A typical multiplayer game, ToD is a four player game which cannot be played with more or fewer. And if you have a ‘typical AI’ to fill-in for the lack of human players, it would not really be much fun, right? The computer will either cheat, play horribly or just do the same thing over and over.
With ToD we are introducing intelligent artificial players (IAPs). These are players, with a name, a skill and a desire to win, but they are not humans. They are artificial but they are not programmed by a human teaching the IAPs what to do if this or if that. No, an IAP learns by playing against other players (human and artificial). They start with knowing nothing, not even the rules of the game, just like a human does.
This is exciting! IAPs will be around looking for games, just like you when playing ToD. IAPs are rated in the leaderboard, just like any human is. I feel repetitive: IAPs are just like human players. They are not treated any differently. Each one has a different brain (neural network) and level of training and they will get better as they learn from more playing.
One could argue that there is a difference between IAPs and human: the IAP wants to play all the time… but then again I know a gamer or two that also wants to play all the time, sacrificing sleep if needed… so again, no difference.
I often imagine the first person that downloaded purely multiplayer games like Clash Royale or Fortnite. Well, that person must have clicked on play, wait a few seconds, maybe a minute, and closed the game. In fact, this happens to me when playing many video games that aren’t super hits: Jaipur comes to mind.
That can never happen with ToD, as we will add a few hundred IAPs to the leaderboard from day one. They will be eager to play with you anytime! As more humans join, the chances of playing against an IAP will start to shrink, which will be a good problem to have.
So, yes, I’m very excited! As a gamer, I really look forward to playing. I want to play with friends - I think the game will be great fun. And I can’t wait to see those IAPs joining games and doing their best.
Having an environment where humans and IAPs interact is crazy cool. Stay tuned and be ready to play ToD before the end of the year!