Neuro-Evolving Robotic Operatives (NERO) is a unique computer game that lets you play with adapting intelligent agents hands-on. Evolve your own robot army by tuning their artificial brains for challenging tasks, then pit them against your friends’ teams in online competitions!
Neuro-Evolving Robotic Operatives, or NERO for short, is a unique computer game that lets you play with adapting intelligent agents hands-on. Evolve your own robot army by tuning their artificial brains for challenging tasks, then pit them against your friends’ teams in online competitions!
NERO is a result of an academic research project in artificial intelligence, based on the rtNEAT algorithm. It is also a platform for future research on intelligent agent technology. The NERO project is run by the Neural Networks Group of the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. To learn more about NERO, check the About page and the illustrative videos. To try out NERO, download the game binary and run the tutorial. To use NERO in your research or teaching, contact NERO team.
In most modern video games, character behavior is scripted; no matter how many times the player exploits a weakness, that weakness is never repaired. Yet, if game characters could learn through interacting with the player, behavior could improve as the game is played, keeping it interesting. This paper introduces the real-time Neuroevolution of Augmenting Topologies (rtNEAT) method for evolving increasingly complex artificial neural networks in real time, as a game is being played. In fact, rtNEAT makes possible an entirely new genre of video games in which the player trains a team of agents through a series of customized exercises. To demonstrate this concept, the Neuroevolving Robotic Operatives (NERO) game was built based on rtNEAT. In NERO, the player trains a team of virtual robots for combat against other players’ teams. This paper describes results from this novel application of machine learning, and demonstrates that rtNEAT makes possible video games like NERO where agents evolve and adapt in real time. In the future, rtNEAT may allow new kinds of educational and training applications through interactive and adapting games.
Real-time Neuroevolution in the NERO Video Game