Video Games as a Testbed for Open-Ended Phenomena

Sam Earle, Julian Togelius, L. B. Soros

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


    Understanding and engineering open-endedness, or the indefinite generation of novelty and complexity at arbitrary scales, has long been studied by implementing nature-inspired simulations specifically designed for artificial life studies. This paper argues that video games serve as a complementary domain for research on open-endedness. In support of this claim, experiments in this paper evaluate the effects of age-based and spatial destructive events in two game domains: an interactive Game of Life and the city-building game SimCity. These games are played by a neural-network-controlled gameplay agent trying to maximize reward. Results indicate that experiments with SimCity are more likely to identify statistically significant differences in complexity as a result of applied destructive events, highlighting the utility of this game domain for studying artificial life phenomena.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publication2021 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2021
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    ISBN (Electronic)9781665438865
    StatePublished - 2021
    Event2021 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2021 - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: Aug 17 2021Aug 20 2021

    Publication series

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


    Conference2021 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2021

    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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