Nvidia’s AI recreates Pac-Man from scratch just by watching it being played
Nvidia is best known for its graphics cards, but the company conducts some serious research into artificial intelligence, too. For its latest project, Nvidia researchers taught an AI system to recreate the game of Pac-Man simply by watching it being played.
There’s no coding involved, no pre-rendered images for the software to draw on. The AI model is simply fed visual data of the game in action along with the accompanying controller inputs and then recreates it frame by frame from this information. The resulting game is playable by humans, and Nvidia says it will be releasing it online in the near future.
“It learns all of these things just by watching”
The AI version is by no means a perfect facsimile, though. The imagery is blurry and it doesn’t seem like the AI managed to capture the exact behavior of the game’s ghosts, each of which is programmed with a specific personality that dictates its movement. But the basic dynamics of Pac-Man are all there: eat pellets, avoid ghosts, and try not to die.
“It learns all of these things just by watching,” Nvidia’s Rev Lebaredian, vice president of simulation technology, told journalists in a briefing. “[It’s] similar to how a human programmer can watch many episodes of Pac-Man on YouTube and infer what the rules of the games are and reconstruct them.”
Lebaredian said the work had been done in collaboration with Pac-Man’s creator, Bandai Namco, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arcade classic today.