London: 17th November 2008
It’s no secret that Introversion’s thermonuclear hit DEFCON, was inspired by the movie Wargames, and for those who remember, particularly based around that chilling moment when it looks like the central computer WOPR that controls the world’s defence grids, is about to nuke the world. The main character, Lightman, saves the day by hacking into the system and ensuring that WOPR can never‘win’, and achieve a scenario where it actually launches the nukes.
In the past few months at Introversion we began to question whether it would be possible to create our own version of WOPR, but this time one that couldn’t be beaten! DEFCON comes with a training AI bot, but could we create a computer based opponent that would be unbeatable?
So we teamed up with some of the smartest minds in the field of AI research at the Department of Computing in Imperial College London to see if they could help.
Robin Baumgarten - who is the lead software engineer on the project– has not only created a bot that consistently beat our own training AI, but with the help of extra funding from the UK Technology Strategy Board, has also developed an API (Application Programming Interface) for DEFCON. The API allows you to control every aspect of an AI-bot’s behavior as it plays against a human or AI opponent.
Now anyone can develop their own DEFCON AI and launch first strikes against the feeble bots of their foes! Can you create an AI that is guaranteed to destroy the world?
Introversion is looking for computer science students, programmers and talented individuals to get involved and see if you can use Robin’s API to create the world’s most advanced AI bot within DEFCON. The hope is to build a technical community at Introversion that will enable DEFCON to become a driving force for the development of AI techniques in gaming, much as chess and backgammon have become in previous years.
As a great additional incentive, Imperial College, London plans to hold a DEFCON competition at the 2009 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games, where the most aggressive AI bots will be pitched against each other in an epic thermonuclear battle!
For more information and a variety of resources including mailing lists for access to the API itself, please head to http://www.introversion.co.uk/defcon/bots/index.html
For technical enquiries about the API, please contact Robin Baumgarten: firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries about DEFCON and Introversion Software, please contact Mark Morris: email@example.com
For enquiries about using the API for student projects, please contact Simon Colton: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEFCON is an online, competitive, multiplayer strategy game simulating global thermonuclear war. The game, inspired by the 1983 cult-classic film, WarGames, superbly evokes the tension, paranoia and suspicion surrounding the Cold War era. DEFCON was an instantaneous success, receiving an average of 85%+ in game reviews and scores of praise. PC Gamer UK described it as 'pure, deep, utterly unconscionable fun', whilst IGN awarded DEFCON an Editors Choice Award and praised it as 'highly impressive'. DEFCON is available to buy online via Steam and Introversion’s online store.
Heralded as 'the last of the bedroom programmers', Introversion Software is one of the UK's most-respected and successful independent game developers and publishers. Founded in 2001 by three university students, and starting out with an initial personal investment of just£600, Introversion went on to produce three critically acclaimed titles; Uplink, Darwinia and DEFCON. Their second title, Darwinia, was awarded three prizes at the 2006 Independent Games Festival Awards, including the Seumas McNally grand prize, and Introversion was voted one of the top 50 Best Games Companies in the world. In September 2008, Introversion released its fourth title Multiwinia: Survival of the Flattest. Multiwinia has enjoyed some fantastic reviews and is currently rated at 77 on Metacritic. For more information please visit http://www.introversion.co.uk and our developer’s blog http://www.introversion.co.uk/blog