PAC-MAN turns 40 and Gets an AI Makeover Thanks to NVIDIA GameGAN

PAC-MAN has recently turned 40, and to make this celebration special; NVIDIA in collaboration with Bandai Namco have created a special edition of the video game. The “special” in this video game version is that it isn’t reversed engineered by anyone at NVIDIA. It is in fact reversed engineered through the use of an AI model called NVIDIA GameGAN. By teaching the GameGAN AI some 500,000 episodes (or playthroughs) of PAC-MAN; it is able to recreate the game itself without ever seeing/peeking at the actual game engine.

World’s First AI Model as a Game Engine

GameGAN is a neural network model that mimics a game engine by utilizing what its developer call “generative adversarial networks” or GANs. It’s made up of two neural networks that compete with each other: a generator and discriminator. These GAN-based models learn to create new content that is convincing enough to pass for the original. An earlier example of GANs can be seen through NVIDIA GauGAN. GauGAN is a deep learning model created by NVIDIA research. It allows people to doodle, and the AI will convert it into a photo realistic image.

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For its application in real life, NVIDIA GameGAN can be used to prototype level layouts for developers to try out. It simplifies the game development process by reducing the time in planning/creating a new game level over time. Another application for the GameGAN is for training autonomous machines in a simulator; thus reducing the need of physical environments for training.

When Can I Play It?

So when can we play it? NVIDIA will be making this AI tribute to the game available later this year on their AI Playground, where anyone can experience research demos first-hand. Learn more from the NVIDIA blog and this research paper.

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