Exploring open-ended gameplay features with Micro RollerCoaster Tycoon

10 May 2021  ·  Michael Cerny Green, Victoria Yen, Sam Earle, Dipika Rajesh, Maria Edwards, L. B. Soros ·

This paper introduces MicroRCT, a novel open source simulator inspired by the theme park sandbox game RollerCoaster Tycoon. The goal in MicroRCT is to place rides and shops in an amusement park to maximize profit earned from park guests. Thus, the challenges for game AI include both selecting high-earning attractions and placing them in locations that are convenient to guests. In this paper, the MAP-Elites algorithm is used to generate a diversity of park layouts, exploring two theoretical questions about evolutionary algorithms and game design: 1) Is there a benefit to starting from a minimal starting point for evolution and complexifying incrementally? and 2) What are the effects of resource limitations on creativity and optimization? Results indicate that building from scratch with no costs results in the widest diversity of high-performing designs.

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