Connect with us

Games

Rats named Carmack and Romero are playing Doom – PC Gamer

Published

on

PC Gamer is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
By Rich Stanton 22 November 2021
The fast and the furriest.
Forget about the toasters, for there is a new frontier in Doom trivia: training up rodents to wander its mazes and blow away imps. Take a bow Viktor Tóth, a neuroengineer who has been puzzling over how to train rats to play Doom for the past year: and finally (kind of) did it.
“I built a VR setup for rodents from scratch and trained three rats in an automated fashion, without manual intervention, to traverse a corridor rendered in the DOOM II engine,” writes Tóth. “Although I did implement the mechanisms to further train rats to shoot monsters in-game, I lacked the time to actually reinforce the behavior.”
The rodent VR setup has a polystyrene ball tracked with motion sensors, and the rat is suspended on top of this with a harness. There’s a curved PC monitor in front of it showing the game environment, and a little tube containing sugary water that the rat gets to sip when it’s doing the ‘right’ thing: training it to ‘walk’ via treats, positive reinforcement. The level it’s walking through is a custom Doom 2 map with an exit, long corridors, and a stationary imp that needs shooting.
The rats are 8 week-old Long Evans rats, and the cherry on the cake is they’re called Carmack, Romero, and Tom (after Tom Hall). “Romero was fearless (more like thrill-seeking) and loved grapes. Carmack was a real architect building around its home keeping it tidy; he was fond of bananas. Tom began shy, but held the most surprises in learning performance.”
As part of the experiment’s goal was to automate aspects of the training, shooting was tied to a rearing movement that the harness could initially encourage (the rat needs to be taught the correct movement before it adopts it in the right situations).
Tóth explains: “Simply put, the training procedure would go as follows: the rat walks into a monster → the software detects that the monster is in the proximity of the player (and for now, let’s assume that the player is facing it) → initially the rat has no idea what to do in this situation, so the training software activates the push-pull solenoid lifting the animal slightly upwards → the head of the actuator then touches the button → monster gets shot down → reward in the form of sugary water is released to reinforce the behavior.”
Now there’s an idea for how the next Doom could be better: a little hit of coke every time you blow away a demon.
There is of course the question of whether the rats are really ‘playing’ Doom in any kind of meaningful way, or just running on a ball for rewards. On the other hand, I just watched what definitely seemed to be a rat shooting an imp with a shotgun. Tóth set himself a hard deadline and wasn’t happy with the shooting response by the end, and reckons in hindsight he should have gone with a nose-poking system (you can read his full writeup here).
“I had fun building a rodent VR rig and training rats to kinda play Doom,” ends Tóth. Well I had fun watching them, and feel this is just a foundation for a future where Twitch is dominated by animals playing Doom. Would a pig be better than a rat? Could you get a pig and a rat in a deathmatch?!? These are big questions for science, and must be answered.
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Thank you for signing up to PC Gamer. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
PC Gamer is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Visit our corporate site.
© Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

source

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Games

Sony to keep making PlayStation 4 as PS5 output hits snag – New York Post

Published

on

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.
Sony’s plans to mass produce its new PlayStation 5 gaming console have been put on hold because of disruptions in the global supply chain — forcing the company to keep cranking out its older PS4 systems.
The Japanese tech giant had initially planned to phase out manufacturing of PS4 at the end of last year and move to a full transition to its newer consoles, according to Bloomberg. But now it is pivoting to produce as many as 1 million of the old models in 2022.
After introducing the PS5 in November 2020, supply has been scarce due to shortages in advanced chips and other commodities needed to mass produce the hardware.
This past November, Sony reduced its PS5 production outlook. Initially, it aimed to make more than 16 million units in the year ending in March, but that number was trimmed to 14.8 million.
The older PS4 is cheaper to make and uses less advanced chips and software than its successor. Released in 2013, the PS4 has sold more than 116 million units and remains popular among gamers.
The PS5, which offers more sophisticated graphics and faster loading times than the PS4, was also met with great fanfare. As of September 2021, it has sold 13.3 million total units — surpassing the 7.6 million units that the PS4 sold in its first year of availability nearly a decade ago.
Sony told assembly partners late last year that it is pivoting to manufacture more PS4 consoles this year, though a company spokesperson denied that it had planned to discontinue production altogether.
“It is one of the best-selling consoles ever and there is always crossover between generations,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg.
This past fall, Sony reported a 27% increase in sales in its gaming division for the three-month fiscal quarter that ended on Sept. 30. The firm credited the popularity of the PS5.
In total, the Japanese conglomerate’s gaming division recorded $5.7 billion in sales during the three month period starting in July. Operating income fell 21% to $727 million while the company generated $10.8 billion in revenue.
Sony isn’t the only gaming company that is relying on its older technologies to keep profits flowing during the supply chain crunch.
Last year, Nvidia, the US firm that makes processing units for gaming consoles, revived its previous generation of GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards due to the shortage in semiconductors.
While the company never officially discontinued production of the card, it was not listed for sale as recently as November 2020.
The card was first introduced in 2016, but was gradually phased out in favor of the newer 16-series cards, according to PC Gamer.
Market observers say that the supply chain crisis and chip shortages will likely last through this year.
Share Selection

source

Continue Reading

Games

Daily Deals: Save on Select PS5, PS4 Games Today – IGN

Published

on

Daily Deals: Save on Select PS5, PS4 Games Today  IGN
source

Continue Reading

Games

Most Popular Online Casino Games In Australia – Spiel Times

Published

on

Most Popular Online Casino Games In Australia  Spiel Times
source

Continue Reading

Trending