Electronic Arts' Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division (SEED), a team focused on the future of interactive entertainment, recently created an artificial intelligence that taught itself how to play Battlefield 1 multiplayer from scratch.
In an interview on EA's website, SEED technical director Magnus Nordin says the team gave the A.I. a head start by letting it observe 30 minutes of human gameplay – a process called imitation learning – before letting it train on its own. The A.I. agent reportedly practiced for six days against versions of itself and old-fashioned bots. Nordin says it racked up roughly 300 days worth of play time.
SEED then pitted it against human players in a simplified game mode that used only handguns. The humans beat the A.I. agent, but Nordin says it "wasn't a complete blowout by any stretch."
"The agent is pretty proficient at the basic Battlefield gameplay, and has taught itself to alter its behavior depending on certain triggers, like being low on ammo or health," he says. "But Battlefield is about so much more than defeating your opponents. There’s a lots of strategy involved, stuff like teamwork, knowing the map and being familiar with individual classes and equipment. We will have to extend the capabilities of the agents further for the A.I. to be able to crack these nuts."
Nordin predicts artificial intelligence will one day defeat human opponents in a limited competitive game mode featuring smaller maps, focused teams, and clear objectives. But, creating an army of robotic esports professionals is not necessarily SEED's goal.
"Our aim is to help create new experiences that enhance games and make them more fun. Getting owned by a superior A.I. isn’t necessarily that fun for players in the long run."