Committee: Art Farley (Chair), Steve Fickas, Dejing Dou, Li-Shan Chou, Prasad Tadepalli (OSU)
Dissertation Defense(Oct 2008)
Keywords: dynamic scripting; reinforcement learning; machine learning; behavior modeling; artificial intelligence; serious Games
The dynamic scripting reinforcement learning algorithm can be extended to improve the speed, effectiveness, and accessibility of learning in modern computer games without sacrificing computational efficiency. This dissertation describes three specific enhancements to the dynamic scripting algorithm that improve learning behavior and flexibility while imposing a minimal computational cost: (1) a flexible, stand alone version of dynamic scripting that allows for hierarchical dynamic scripting, (2) a method of using automatic state abstraction to increase the context sensitivity of the algorithm, and (3) an integration of this algorithm with an existing hierarchical behavior modeling architecture. The extended dynamic scripting algorithm is then examined in the three different contexts. The first results reflect a preliminary investigation based on two abstract real-time strategy games. The second set of results comes from a number of abstract tactical decision games, designed to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of extended dynamic scripting. The third set of results is generated by a series of experiments in the context of the commercial computer role-playing game Neverwinter Nights demonstrating the capabilities of the algorithm in an actual game. To conclude, a number of future research directions for investigating the effectiveness of extended dynamic scripting are described.