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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1155 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 6:43am »

Inertia testrun
The Inertia applet is ready, thanks Ed Smiley .
The thing has been kicking inside my head like a baby in its mother's womb. I hope we get at least some clues regarding the scope of the problem that may arise due to the presence of forced cycles, because I cannot make any well founded guess, and my optimism may be no more than misinterpreted wishful thinking.
 
So here's a testrun:I hope you enjoy it, because in that case I certainly will Smiley .
 
To be ahead of any confusion, we've had a first hiccup in the emergence of an illegal move in game 1 due to a bug in the applet and a lack of paying attention on my part. This has been corrected (or at least the bug).
« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2013, 8:27am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1156 on: Feb 26th, 2013, 3:27pm »

Here's the good news, Inertia may end in a decision Grin .
 
The bad news is: I won.
As a faithful supporter of the myth that good inventors make bad players I'm inclined to consider that a bad omen Sad .
 
Of course superstition brings bad luck, so I might reconsider Wink .
 
Edit:
Reassuring news, I lost this one Smiley .
« Last Edit: Feb 28th, 2013, 6:37am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1157 on: Feb 26th, 2013, 4:05pm »

on Feb 26th, 2013, 6:58am, Mageant wrote:
First Move Advantage
I'm not sure whether there really is a first move advantage in this game or not. It could be that the player who moves first is actually at a disadvantage because then the other player knows what pieces to bring in to counter those.

 
How about a pie? After the first player's first move, have the second player decide to either play with that initial setup or against it?
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1158 on: Mar 1st, 2013, 8:36am »

So here's a game that may involve a forced cycle. We're at Red-23 and Jos has a won position, but I got a last straw because I can block the single red stone by moving C2 to either D3 or C3, and then oscillate between those 2 cells, depending on where the Red stone goes.
 

 
Or can I? If Jos moves D87 he has one group and a single, and they're both inert, so I will have to open the enclosure. Can Red mess up the 'forced cycle' plan and win?
 
Edit: well ... I think he can by moving to C2 with the red stone. I'm not so fast as a player Tongue . But this is not a forced cycle, only a first reminder that they may lurk deep in the gametree, ready for the kill Wink .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1159 on: Mar 1st, 2013, 10:17am »

If the red group on the left cannot "see" another red group, then no stone of it is able to move, despite the fact that it is not inert, because any move would increase the number of groups. On the right the likelihood of the red group to not being able to see another group is even higher.
It led me to believe that it is possible to construct a position in which a player cannot move, not because his groups are all inert, the very object of the game, but because any move would increase the number of his groups. A technicality that may well occur in an otherwise lost position. Because the inability to move, other than invoking it by inertia, is hardly a characterization of a won position. It led me to rephrase the second phase rules:
 
In the second phase players take turns to compulsory move one of their stones, unless forced to pass. Stones of inert groups may not move.
  • If a player's move results in an increase of the number of his groups, then the move is illegal. If every possible move would lead to an increase in the number of his groups, then he must pass.
  • All moves are straight only and must end on a vacant cell. A stone may move over any number of subsequent like colored stones, including zero, and proceed over any number of vacant cells.
I've added the following note: If all a player's groups are inert, he cannot move, but the reverse is not the case. A player may have groups that are not inert, and yet be forced to pass because every possible move would increase the number of his groups.
 
Luis suggested to simply let the player who cannot move, for whatever reason, win. I don't agree. I want to win by persuing the object, not because of a technicality in a lost position.

As it happens, the system announces a win for the player who cannot move, in both Ayu and Inertia. That is because the system requires the loser to give up (necessary for the interface with the results/ratings section). So in Inertia, Luis suggestion with the undeniable advantage of simplicity, was already implemented.
 
But if I may rephrase the above considerations metaphorically: it's like winning with checkmate in Chess, but actually losing by giving stalemate. So the pass will be implemented: Inertia is won by being inert, not by being totally hampered.
 
That being said, I may add that the situation thus described would seem to be a theoretical possibility rather than frequent occurence.
« Last Edit: Mar 1st, 2013, 10:55am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1160 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 3:26am »

on Mar 1st, 2013, 10:17am, christianF wrote:
That being said, I may add that the situation thus described would seem to be a theoretical possibility rather than frequent occurence.

 
Which doesn't mean we're out of the woods here, but my main concern is the possibility of forced cycles rather than the occurence of the above situation. Luis took it a step further and created a position that doesn't seem to be possible as a result of the opening protocol, but that can be legally arrived at if players cooperate in the second phase of the game. In this positions only one group is inert but neither player has a legal move. Under Luis suggestion the player to move has won. Under the passing rule it is a draw. Under the sun it is unlikely Cheesy .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1161 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 7:16am »

So I was at the presentation of CodeCup winners at the University of Twente to deliver a small speech. The point of it was that when game programming began, we were looking for games that were easy for computers, whereas now we're looking for games that are easy for humans.
 
Take a game like Explocus. In the late eighties a student at that same university wrote a program that ate itself through three ply in twenty minutes, using alpha-bèta pruning and a very simple evaluation function. It was unbeatable because no human player could manage more than a partial two-ply evaluation. Imagine a CodeCup contest now. The worst program would beat the best human ten out of ten. Whatever would happen in games between programs, would be beyond any human comprehension. It would prove that programs are better than humans at Explocus - and little more. It would be utterly uninteresting. That's why we should be looking for games that are easy for humans.
 
Humans need games that allow strategic understanding, the making of plans and the achieving of calculable sub-goals. I still beat the best Havannah bot seven out of ten. My score against the winner of the Symple contest is 24 wins out of 35. These games may not be more difficult to program, but they give humans a firm handle and, for the time being, a fair chance. That's more interesting for humans, and certainly not less interesting for programmers.
 
I've made a suggestion, therefore, to include this aspect in the procedure to select games, and to hold a yearly match between the winning program of the previous year, and the best human player (to be determined in some form of competition, possibly at mindsports, in the year following the win of the program).
 
The game for 2014 has been selected, but remains a secret for now, so I've got no clue. For 2015 I've suggested Luis' Ayu, because contrary to some people's perception I'm not after a one-man-show and Ayu is easily the best game I've seen in the past year. It also fits the requirements of a game wherein humans have a chance against digital opposition.  
 
I hope the idea of a yearly follow up match between man and machine finds some fertile ground. In that case, there may be an additional Symple match next to the new CodeCup Challenge, in about a year.
« Last Edit: Mar 2nd, 2013, 7:41am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1162 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 9:13am »

Thanks for sharing this Christian. If there's a video of the lecture, I would love to watch it; but maybe it's not in English. It's always interesting for me to see your perspectives on game design, since you've been at this for many years.  
 
I like your idea of having a yearly man vs machine match for the AI resistant games. I hope it fuels more interest in this area of AI. I really think there is a lot to be discovered in this area. But it's also a bit scary to think that eventually we may get to a point where there is no overlap between the games that are interesting to humans and games that are difficult for computers.
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1163 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 9:21am »

> I have discovered a new race/breakthrough type game and Christian suggested I might publish it here.  
 
Yes, you are most welcome to post it here. However, I would suggest starting a new thread for any new game announcements rather than appending it to this thread. I don't know what the limit is on how long a thread can be, but it's not good that anytime someone posts a reply to this thread the "post reply" page contains the whole thread. I might eventually have to lock this thread if it starts causing problems.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1164 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 9:30am »

I just updated the posting guidelines to mention that a new thread should be started for new game announcements. Feel free to do it retroactively as well.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1165 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 9:44am »

on Mar 2nd, 2013, 9:21am, omar wrote:
I might eventually have to lock this thread if it starts causing problems.

That might not be such a bad idea, regardless. Personally I'm not referring all that much to it, but I'm rather fond of the 'blog' function it more or less grew into. Judging from the number of views there are at least a few dozen regular readers and having invented 4 new games and a new generic opening protocol in the past few months, it seems I'm not quite dead yet Grin . So as far as I'm concerned you're welcome to lock it, and I'd be happy to start a fresh follow-up thread.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #1166 on: Mar 3rd, 2013, 2:55pm »

See for the follow-up thread. Please post new replies there.
 
See by Channing Jones (previously posted in this thread, it has a separate thread now).
« Last Edit: Mar 4th, 2013, 4:22am by christianF » IP Logged
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