No, the player in the video above isn’t a Super Mario World ace, or even a human for that matter; the game is actually being played by an AI designed by Robin Baumgarten using A*, a search algorithm that plots the best, least-cost path from one point to another. The AI is the first public entry in Sergey Karakovskiy’s and Julian Togelius’s Infinite Mario AI Competition. According to Baumgarten, the AI took thirty to forty hours to complete.
While the game in the video looks like Mario, it’s not—it's actually a java-based version of the game called Infinite Mario. Although the graphics and sprites are the same, the controls are slightly tweaked. For instance, Mario can wall jump, as witnessed at 0:45 in the video. The game also randomly generates levels, so the player never knows what’s ahead.
The winner of the competition will be judged based on the average distance travelled on a series of randomly generated levels.
Video by Robin Baumgarten.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By Stephen M.