New and Surprising Ways to Be Mean

Christian Guckelsberger, Christoph Salge, Julian Togelius

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Creating Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that can react robustly to unforeseen player behaviour or novel game content is difficult and time-consuming. This hinders the design of believable characters, and the inclusion of NPCs in games that rely heavily on procedural content generation. We have previously addressed this challenge by means of empowerment, a model of intrinsic motivation, and demonstrated how a coupled empowerment maximisation (CEM) policy can yield generic, companion-like behaviour. In this paper, we extend the CEM framework with a minimisation policy to give rise to adversarial behaviour. We conduct a qualitative, exploratory study in a dungeon-crawler game, demonstrating that CEM can exploit the affordances of different content facets in adaptive adversarial behaviour without modifications to the policy. Changes to the level design, underlying mechanics and our character's actions do not threaten our NPC's robustness, but yield new and surprising ways to be mean.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, CIG 2018
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    ISBN (Electronic)9781538643594
    StatePublished - Oct 11 2018
    Event14th IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, CIG 2018 - Maastricht, Netherlands
    Duration: Aug 14 2018Aug 17 2018

    Publication series

    NameIEEE Conference on Computatonal Intelligence and Games, CIG
    ISSN (Print)2325-4270
    ISSN (Electronic)2325-4289


    Other14th IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, CIG 2018


    • Adversaries
    • Coupled Empowerment Maximisation
    • Intrinsic Motivation
    • Non-Player Characters

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
    • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Software


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