AAAI Publications, Ninth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

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Reinforcement Learning for Spatial Reasoning in Strategy Games
Michael A. Leece, Arnav Jhala

Last modified: 2013-11-13


One of the major weaknesses of current real-time strategy (RTS) game agents is handling spatial reasoning at a high level. One challenge in developing spatial reasoning modules for RTS agents is to evaluate the ability of a given agent for this competency due to the inevitable confounding factors created by the complexity of these agents. We propose a simplified game that mimics spatial reasoning aspects of more complex games, while removing other complexities. Within this framework, we analyze the effectiveness of classical reinforcement learning for spatial management in order to build a detailed evaluative standard across a broad set of opponent strategies. We show that against a suite of opponents with fixed strategies, basic Q-learning is able to learn strategies to beat each. In addition, we demonstrate that performance against unseen strategies improves with prior training from other distinct strategies. We also test a modification of the basic algorithm to include multiple actors, to speed learning and increase scalability. Finally, we discuss the potential for knowledge transfer to more complex games with similar components.


Reinforcement learning; Q-learning; RTS games; spatial reasoning

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