Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Changes to Space Engineers release system



SUMMARY:
  • Changes to the update release system: make it simpler and involve the community more
  • New HUD and polished GUI


Space Engineers has come a long way. We were one of the first Early Access games and we are still one of the most successful Early Access games on the market. We transformed a small indie project into a huge sandbox game containing many features and possibilities. The tremendous scale of the game is clearly evident by the fact that Space Engineers has one of the largest workshops on Steam, with a huge amount of individual items available.


All of these facts lead to the conclusion that we still need to update and improve our approaches for both development and management. We need to keep backward compatibility for thousands of mods out there as well as continue to push development forward. Even one small innocent change can lead to broken gameplay and enormous negative feedback. The requirements for game testing are exponentially higher than ever before and also, due to the increasing number of competing products, players demands are increasing too.

All of us here at Keen Software House love Space Engineers. In the beginning, there was only four people in the team (Petr Minarik, Ondrej Petrzilka, Tomas Rampas and me) and because all of us have a lot of passion for space, technology and freedom, it was the main design for the game. We still try to keep our game on top by supporting the community and fighting with Clang, performance issues, hardware configurations, negative feedback and many technical problems. Even though some issues can be very frustrating, we still enjoy playing the game and creating new possibilities. When compared to many other early access games, we still continue doing our best and we never give up trying to create the best space sandbox game on market.

To be able to continue with development and game quality of the highest standards, we have decided to change the release system to be simpler and involve the community more. We expect more stable builds, fewer bugs and more polished features. The main change is that we are removing Develop branch from the game. There will be only one branch and updates will be tagged as Minor or Major. We will still patch the game every week with Minor updates, but Major updates will not be scheduled with strict dates in advance but rather will be released only when everything is completely tested, fixed and approved by a closed testing group to ensure the build is ok.

Please note the difference between Minor and Major updates. Minor updates will contain critical fixes, crash fixes and content polish, which will allow us to focus more on creating new, stable features for Major releases. To give an example from our recent update history, lens flares and properly mirrored wheels should be considered Minor updates.

What kind of Major releases can you expect in near future? Many of you already know that we are working on new HUD and polished GUI. This is something we’ve really focused on and we expect the new HUD to greatly increase gameplay immersion. Additionally, a nice addition to the new HUD is that it is fully moddable and can be customized per cockpit or helmet. We are also working hard on improving the survival experience, making things easier for new players, having objective driven scenarios and also multiplayer dedicated scenarios. There is also a large amount of work going into game optimizations. We are aware of bad performance in certain areas of the game and plan to focus on these situations, as well as loading times, peaks, lag, etc.




I’m personally looking forward to all changes we are preparing. We already proved that we’re able to create unique features never seen in games before, defining new boundaries. We certainly don’t plan to stop! :)

Thank you for reading!

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder of Keen Software House
CEO, CTO of GoodAI


For more news:
General AI Challenge: www.general-ai-challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.roadmapinstitute.org
GoodAI: www.goodai.com
Space Engineers: www.spaceengineersgame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.medievalengineers.com


Personal bio: Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for their best-seller Space Engineers (2mil+ copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic. Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. Marek started his career as a programmer but later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of the Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to personally fund GoodAI, his new general AI research company building human-level artificial intelligence, with $10mil. GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My video discussion with Socrates on Singularity Weblog

The following is the video interview I had with Socrates on Singularity Weblog on March 4th, 2017.
This was one of the most interesting and exciting interviews I had since I started to work on GoodAI and I must admit that I enjoyed it a lot. Socrates is a great interviewer and has an excellent view on general AI.

During our conversation, I had the opportunity to discuss and analyze several topics not only related to general artificial intelligence but much more.

Summary:
  • my driving force and my desire to understand the universe
  • my journey from game development into general artificial intelligence
  • my goal to maximize humanity’s future options
  • the mission, people and strategy behind GoodAI
  • the General AI Challenge
  • teleology and the direction of the Universe
  • adaptation, intelligence, evolution and survivability
  • roadmaps, milestones and obstacles on the way to AGI
  • the importance of theory of intelligence
  • AGI architectures we are working on



The interview article is available here.

Thank you,

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder of Keen Software House
CEO, CTO of GoodAI

For more news:
General AI Challenge: www.general-ai-challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.roadmapinstitute.org
GoodAI: www.goodai.com
Space Engineers: www.spaceengineersgame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.medievalengineers.com


Personal bio: Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for their best-seller Space Engineers (2mil+ copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic. Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. Marek started his career as a programmer but later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of the Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to personally fund GoodAI, his new general AI research company building human-level artificial intelligence, with $10mil. GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A blogpost about how the General AI Challenge is different from other AI challenges - by José Hernández-Orallo


The following is a blogpost published by José Hernández-Orallo, Professor at Technical University of Valencia and member of the General AI Challenge scientific advisory board.

I find Jose's article very interesting, especially how he summarizes our approach in reaching general artificial intelligence and how well he describes the benefits of gradual learning.

Below is only a brief preview. If you want to read more, please follow this link.


Preview:

When I was aware that the General AI Challenge was using CommAI-env for their warm-up round I was ecstatic. Participants could focus on RL agents without the complexities of vision and navigation. Of course, vision and navigation are very important for AI applications, but they create many extra complications if we want to understand (and evaluate) gradual learning. For instance, two equal tasks for which the texture of the walls changes can be seen as requiring higher transfer effort than two slightly different tasks with the same texture. In other words, this would be extra confounding factors that would make the analysis of task transfer and task dependencies much harder. It is then a wise choice to exclude this from the warm-up round. There will be occasions during other rounds of the challenge for including vision, navigation and other sorts of complex embodiment. Starting with a minimal interface to evaluate whether the agents are able to learn incrementally is not only a challenging but an important open problem for general AI.

Also, the warm-up round has modified CommAI-env in such a way that bits are packed into 8-bit (1 byte) characters. This makes the definition of tasks more intuitive and makes the ASCII coding transparent to the agents. Basically, the set of actions and observations is extended to 256. But interestingly, the set of observations and actions is the same, which allows many possibilities that are unusual in reinforcement learning, where these subsets are different. For instance, an agent with primitives such as “copy input to output” and other sequence transformation operators can compose them in order to solve the task. Variables, and other kinds of abstractions, play a key role.

Continue reading here.



Thank you,

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder of Keen Software House
CEO, CTO of GoodAI

For more news:
General AI Challenge: www.general-ai-challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.roadmapinstitute.org
GoodAI: www.goodai.com
Space Engineers: www.spaceengineersgame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.medievalengineers.com


Personal bio: Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for their best-seller Space Engineers (2mil+ copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic. Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. Marek started his career as a programmer but later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of the Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to personally fund GoodAI, his new general AI research company building human-level artificial intelligence, with $10mil. GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers.