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**Artificial Intelligence in Game Design**

Board Games and the MinMax Algorithm

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**Board Games Examples: Characteristics: Goal of AI:**

Chess, checkers, tic tac toe, backgammon, etc. Characteristics: Alternating moves: player AI player AI … Limited (but usually not small) set of possible moves Example: legal moves in chess Set of winning and losing board configurations Examples: checkmate in chess, all pieces gone in checkers Goal of AI: Choose next move so that will “likely” lead to victory Key problem: What exactly does this mean?

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**Planning Against an Opponent**

Idea: Create sequence of steps that lead from initial board state to winning state Problem: Unlike normal planning, AI does not get to choose every step of path Player gets to choose every other step in plan Will choose steps that defeat the AI X X O X O X O X O X X O X O X O

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**Tree Representation Can represent possible moves as tree**

Node = board state Branch = possible moves from that state Opponent controls every other branching of tree! Example: Tic Tac Toe Simplified to remove duplicate branches for reflection, rotation Root node = initial board state Possible X moves X X X X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O Possible O moves

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Choosing Next Move Simple idea: Choose next move so guaranteed win no matter which moves opponent makes No real game is this simple! Example: A B F C D E I win I win I lose H G I win I lose

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**Choosing Next Move Reasoning:**

If choose move A, then opponent will choose move D and I lose. If choose move B, I win, since: If opponent chooses move F, I win If opponent chooses move E, I choose move G and win Therefore, choose move B Guaranteed win regardless of opponent moves

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Lookahead Problem Main Problem: No nontrivial game has tree which can be completely explored m possible moves each turn n turns until game ends mn nodes in game tree Exponential growth Example: Chess ~20 moves per turn ~50 turns per game ~2050 possible moves Close to number of particles in universe!

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**Heuristic Evaluation of Boards**

How many levels can be explored in tree? Can process p nodes per second Have maximum of s seconds per move Can process ps nodes mn nodes looking ahead n moves Can explore n = logm(ps) moves ahead What if game not over at deepest lookahead level? Should AI try to force this branch or avoid it? No time to explore moves past this point

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**Heuristic Evaluation of Boards**

Key idea: Create heuristic measure of how “good” a board configuration is H(board) Positive or negative number: Higher = better, lower = worse Win = MAXINT, Loss = - MAXINT Goal: Choose current move that guarantees reaching board position with highest possible heuristic measure MAXINT 93 17 -100 - MAXINT

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**Heuristic Evaluation of Boards**

TicTacToe Example (with AI playing X): H(board) = 2 × # of possible rows/columns/diagonals where X could win in one move × # of possible rows/columns/diagonals where X could win in two moves × # of possible rows/columns/diagonals where O could win in one move × # of possible rows/columns/diagonals where O could win in two moves Example: X O H = = 3

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MINMAX Algorithm Explore possible moves from current board position Continue until reach maximum lookahead level Forms tree of possible moves and countermoves Apply heuristic measure to all boards at leafs of tree Work from leafs to root of tree Measure of each node based on measure of its child nodes Choose current move that results in highest heuristic value AI makes move Player makes move (may not be one expected, but can’t be worse)

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**MINMAX Algorithm AI’s turn = MAX level**

Choose move that gives highest heuristic AI should choose move that guarantees best result! Value of board position at that level = maximum of its children Example: TicTacToe with AI playing X Will choose move with highest heuristic, so value of reaching this board = 4 4 X O Bad move, but not relevant Best move X O X O X O X O X O 4 3 3 3 1

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**MINMAX Algorithm Player’s turn = MIN level**

Assume they choose move which is best for them Assume good for player = bad for AI Assume move that gives lowest heuristic Value of board position at that level = minimum of its children Player will choose move with lowest heuristic, so value of reaching this board = -2 -2 X O Bad moves for player, but can’t assume they will do this Worstmove for AI O X X O X O O X -2 -1 -2 -1

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**Simple MinMax Example AI move 3 levels of lookahead AI move**

player move AI move Heuristic Measures No time to explore moves past this point

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**Simple MinMax Example AI move 3 levels of lookahead AI move**

player move Max(4, 12) = 12 Max(8, -2) = 8 Max(3, 5) = 5 Max(-5, -1) = -1 AI move Heuristic Measures No time to explore moves past this point

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**Simple MinMax Example AI move 3 levels of lookahead AI move**

player move Max(4, 12) = 12 Max(8, -2) = 8 Max(3, 5) = 5 Max(-5, -1) = -1 AI move Heuristic Measures No time to explore moves past this point

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**Simple MinMax Example Best possible outcome = 5 Follow this branch**

AI move Follow this branch Max(5, -1) = 5 Min(8, 5) = 5 Min(-1, 12) = -1 player move Max(4, 12) = 12 Max(8, -2) = 8 Max(3, 5) = 5 Max(-5, -1) = -1 AI move Heuristic Measures No time to explore moves past this point

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**MinMax Example AI playing X Maximum lookahead of 2 moves**

Initial move choice for AI Choose this move Assume player will then do this Max(-1, 1, -2) = 1 Min(1, -1, 0, 1, 0) = -1 Min(-1, 0, -2, -1, 0) = -2 X X X Min(1, 2) = 1 X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O 1 1 -1 Heuristic Measures No time to explore moves past this point

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**Alpha-Beta Pruning Goal: Speed up MinMax algorithm**

Idea: Faster evaluation Can explore more levels in game tree Better decision making Can speed up process by factor of 10 – 100

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**Alpha-Beta Pruning Idea: Many branches cannot possibly improve score**

Once this is known, stop exploring them 2) So this can never be greater than -1, which means it cannot increase BestSoFar BestSoFar = max(-1, 1, ?) = 1 1) Minimum will never get higher than -1 BestSoFar = min (-1, ?, ?, ?, ?) X X X BestSoFar = -1 BestSoFar = 1 X O 3) Which means that there is no point in exploring any of these branches -1

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Alpha-Beta Pruning Define α as value found at previously explored max branch Can do no worse than α at this point Define β as a value found below the current branch Can do no better than β down this branch If α ≥ β, there is no point in exploring this branch any further BestSoFar = max (α, x) where x ≤ β = α if α ≥ β α BestSoFar = min (β, …) ≤ β β

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**Alpha-Beta Pruning β Also applies to min branches**

If β ≤ α, no point in exploring this branch any further Opponent will not choose this branch, as guaranteed to be better for AI (and worse for player) than other branch BestSoFar = min (β, x) = β if β ≤ α β BestSoFar = max (α, …) ≥ α α

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Move Ordering Problem: Alpha-Beta pruning only works well if best branches explored first Only know branch is not worth exploring if have already seen a better one Goal: Order branches so moves “most likely” to be good are explored first This is very difficult! X X X Probably no branches eliminated if explored in this order

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Move Ordering Idea: Use results of last evaluation to order moves this time Tree created in previous move AI move chosen player move chosen A 4 2 B 4 C D E F G Attempt to “reuse” this part of tree

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**Move Ordering Each board in subtree already has an evaluation**

May no longer be completely accurate Should still be somewhat accurate Use those to determine order in which next evaluation done A A 4 4 2 B 4 C 4 C 2 B D E F G G F D E

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**Games with Random Component**

Example: Backgammon Roll dice (random event) Determine which piece or pieces to move that many steps One piece 11 steps Two pieces 5 and 6 steps Which piece? Possible actions depend on random component

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**Games with Random Component**

Can treat random event like extra level of game tree Dice throw 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Possible moves based on dice throw (8 in this case)

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MinMax in Random Games Generate tree of possible outcomes up to lookahead limit Alternate possible moves and possible outcomes of random event Start with possible AI moves after random event Point at which AI has to make decision about what to do AI dice throw at current board state Possible AI moves from current board for that dice throw Possible player dice throws Possible player moves based on board and their dice throw Possible AI dice throws Possible AI moves from this board for that dice throw

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**MinMax in Random Games Use minmax to compute values at decision levels**

AI and player make best possible move based on their dice throw Weight each node at random event level based on probability of the random event 4) Weight this state = 5/36 * 18 = 2.5 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 3) Probability of dice throw of 8 = 5/36 1) Value of board for each possible move after dice throw of 8 2) Minmax uses this value

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MinMax in Random Games Compute value of board before random event based on expected value of boards after random event Total expected value = 12 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Probability: 1/36 1/18 1/12 1/9 5/ /6 5/36 1/9 1/12 1/18 1/36 Minmax value from child nodes: Weighted value:

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**MinMax in Random Games Random component greatly increases size of tree**

Example: 11 possibilities for dice throw n moves lookahead Increases nodes to explore by factor of 11n Will probably not be able to look ahead more than 2 or 3 moves TD-Gammon Plays at world championship level Also uses learning

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