Asthma Waikato Video games

On 24 June 2011, Dacre and myself were contracted to develop a couple of Flash games for Asthma Waikato. They requested a colouring game and one other game (an arcade fish jumping game). The games were required to have an educational message (but not an in-your-face message), yet still be engaging enough for kids 5-9 years old to play. Although the colouring game is basically just colouring in, the jumping game emphasises asthma management, eating healthy, and avoiding triggers.

Screenshot of Colouring Game developed for Asthma Waikato
Screenshot of Sailor's Jumpin' Snatch

Over the course of a month, we developed the two games which are now available to play here.

Hello world!

My somewhat professional website is now up! Thanks a bunch to my darling Dal for designing it and setting it all up. Check out her other stuff too, she’s dying to design a website for you too!

As for the website, I shall strive to keep it updated with my professional activities, as well as any game development developments.

I have also set up a separate Twitter account which will also be semi-professional. You can find this on the sidebar to the right.

I can also be contacted through the contact form. Unless you’re a spammer, I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.

PhD Progress: Massive Revamp

Phew. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I have Evernote and various other note taking applications taking care of my progress notes these days, but this one didn’t particularly seem note-ish.

So, the biggest change has been the removal of the pre-goal and the addition of parameterisable goal terms, such that onAB now uses any valid variables instead of ‘a’ and ‘b’. This took quite some time to sort out, especially with the possibilities of more rules due to the larger set of possible specialisations these goal predicates can be used in. A result of using goal terms has split the agent observations class into two: the global (or environmental) observations which are true regardless of the goal, and the local agent observations which deal solely with terms concerning the goal the predicate.

This has adversely affected the modular learning, which essentially had to be rewritten to cope with and also use these new goal terms. I’ve only just now got them working again after about a week’s worth of work and I’m happy to say they’re working very well (well, there are still some bugs, but in principle they’re working well).

Because modular rules used to be learned using the pre-goal (well using constant terms in rules – but these came about from the pre-goal anyway), this had to change. Now, the possible modules to learn can be found using the local observed goal predicates – that is, the possible predicates the goal terms can take on (e.g. ?G_0 can be highest, clear, etc.). However, because modules are recursive, they need to be learned in a particular order. This has always been an issue, but only now has it come to the fore. Probably because every module is learned, rather than just modules concerning the pre-goal. This ordering can be estimated using the number of other modules the module depends on (via the observed goal predicates). This means that each module has to be run in a prelimiary phase to get an idea of the goal observations the module uses.

Anyway, the ordering for learning from the onAB goal is: clearA, highestA, aboveAB. Learning clearA first is important as it is used in every other module. In a quick experiment, the agent learned the following policies for the modules:
clearA
(clear ?X) (clear ?Y) (above ?X ?G_0) => (move ?X ?Y)
Not ideal (I’d prefer moveFloor behaviour, but in terms of reward, the two rules are equal), but it works in optimal steps.

highestA
(clear ?X) (clear ?Y) (above ?X ?G_0) => (move ?X ?Y)
(clear ?G_0) (highest ?Y) (block ?G_0) => (move ?G_0 ?Y)
This is perfect behaviour for highest. I don’t think it learned two rules, rather it learned the one and used the clear module (but the rule isn’t showing as a module -> BUG).

aboveAB
(clear ?X) (highest ?Y) (above ?Y ?G_1) (not (highest ?X)) => (move ?X ?Y)
This is a crappy rule which only works sometimes. A perfect above policy would have at least two rules, each of which would use clear to clear the ?G_0 block.

onAB
(clear ?X) (above ?X ?G_0) (above ?X ?Y) (floor ?Y) => (move ?X ?Y)
(clear ?G_0) (clear ?G_1) (block ?G_0) => (move ?G_0 ?G_1)
While this isn’t what the module output (though it was present in the elites about 70% of the time), it’s what should have been output. This is quite a good case for CERRLA, in that the clear module isn’t ideal, so it adds in that first rule to keep ?G_0 clear. While it isn’t a perfect policy, it’s pretty close and will work in most cases.

So, next up is finding and fixing the bugs, then probably working on my CIG paper. Or maybe testing out the dynamic slot splitting algorithm.