A.I. players master ‘Quake III Arena,’ manage to outperform humans

Those among us who fear that we’ve already passed the point of no return when it comes to artificial intelligence becoming self-aware and plotting to murder the human race will likely cite A.I. research company DeepMind’s latest experiment as further proof of that notion. Using Id Software’s Quake III Arena, DeepMind has managed to train artificial players to be even more effective than their human counterparts.

The challenge for DeepMind was not to see if its A.I. agents could defeat human players in battle, but rather if they could work together on procedurally generated levels to complete an objective — in this case, capture the flag.

Because the levels’ structure changes each time they play, the agents are unable to simply memorize locations in order to make it to the flag. This forced them to actually learn the strategies needed to win in a similar manner to how human players might improve at the game. The agents even used an emulated game controller to control their characters in Quake III Arena.

“The agents are never told anything about the rules of the game, yet learn about fundamental game concepts and effectively develop an intuition for capture the flag,” DeepMind said in a blog post. “In fact, we can find particular neurons that code directly for some of the most important game states, such as a neuron that activates when the agent’s flag is taken, or a neuron that activates when an agent’s team is holding the flag.”

As the A.I. agents won matches, the behavior they used to do so was reinforced and these agents were paired up with human players to impressive results. Eventually, DeepMind held a Quake III Arena tournament, and not only did these A.I. agents have a higher success rate than humans, they were also rated as “more collaborative” in a post-tournament survey. Unfortunately, just like with so many children on Xbox Live, the A.I. agents also learned to “camp.” Maybe it is a legitimate strategy.

You can watch a full deep-dive video on the Quake III Arena project above. Visual settings have been greatly reduced, as the A.I. don’t actually care how their game looks.

Emerging Tech

Replaced by robots: 10 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution

According to one study, 47 percent of current jobs in the United States could be automated within the next two decades. Here are 10 examples of the kind of employment that refers to.
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Gaming

The best PS1 games of all time

Take a stroll down memory lane with the 50 best games ever released for the original PlayStation.
Gaming

The ‘Fortnite’ sky rift is closing and rumored to disappear next week

Fortnite's giant sky rift that has lit up the sky for the entirety of season 5 is slowly closing and is rumored to completely disappear next week. Find out what's happening and why it is here.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ gets battle royale ‘Blackout’ beta September 10

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will hold a beta for its battle royale Blackout mode in September, and it will be available first to those who pre-ordered the game on PlayStation 4. The game releases October 12.
Product Review

Brutal and emotional, 'God of War' is everything a blockbuster game should be

In a new land, on a new journey, God of War evolves beyond the button-mashing action of its youth into an action game with engaging combat and an engrossing story.
Product Review

'NBA 2K19' will dunk on you, but don’t worry. You’re going to like it.

NBA 2K19 makes smart changes that force you to dig deep into your bag of tricks to succeed. This might be the most accurate virtual version of NBA basketball yet.
Computing

Steam survey shows PC gamers are still mostly playing in 1080p and lower

Valve Software’s latest hardware and software survey for July 2reveals that 63.72 percent of Steam’s registered members still play games with a 1080p resolution. Even more, only 1.14 percent are playing at a 4K resolution.
Mobile

Here’s how to safely download ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ on an Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Gaming

Storytelling masterpiece ‘Gone Home’ is headed to the Nintendo Switch

Fullbright's acclaimed first-person adventure game Gone Home will arrive to Nintendo Switch later this month. The game is available now on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ pre-order numbers have been underwhelming, analysts say

Market analysts at Cowen have said that the early pre-order numbers for Electronic Arts' upcoming shooter Battlefield V have been disappointing. The game is scheduled to arrive this October.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

Asus claims ‘world’s thinnest’ title with its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop

The Republic of Gamers arm at Asus is claiming “world’s thinnest” with the introduction of its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop measuring just 0.58 inches at its thinnest point. The company also revealed the Strix SCAR II.