Efficient Evolutionary Methods for Game Agent Optimisation: Model-Based is Best

This paper introduces a simple and fast variant of Planet Wars as a test-bed for statistical planning based Game AI agents, and for noisy hyper-parameter optimisation. Planet Wars is a real-time strategy game with simple rules but complex game-play... The variant introduced in this paper is designed for speed to enable efficient experimentation, and also for a fixed action space to enable practical inter-operability with General Video Game AI agents. If we treat the game as a win-loss game (which is standard), then this leads to challenging noisy optimisation problems both in tuning agents to play the game, and in tuning game parameters. Here we focus on the problem of tuning an agent, and report results using the recently developed N-Tuple Bandit Evolutionary Algorithm and a number of other optimisers, including Sequential Model-based Algorithm Configuration (SMAC). Results indicate that the N-Tuple Bandit Evolutionary offers competitive performance as well as insight into the effects of combinations of parameter choices. read more

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