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Programming Collective Intelligence by Toby Segaran

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A Simple Game

A more interesting problem for genetic programming is building an AI for a game. You can force the programs to evolve by having them compete against each other and against real people, and giving the ones that win the most a higher chance of making it to the next generation. In this section, you'll create a simulator for a very simple game called Grid War, which is depicted in Figure 11-6.

Grid War example

Figure 11-6. Grid War example

The game has two players who take turns moving around on a small grid. Each player can move in one of four directions, and the board is limited so if a player attempts to move off one side, he forfeits his turn. The object of the game is to capture the other player by moving onto the same square as his on your turn. The only additional constraint is that you automatically lose if you try to move in the same direction twice in a row. This game is very basic but since it pits two players against each other, it will let you explore more competitive aspects of evolution.

The first step is to create a function that uses two players and simulates a game between them. The function passes the location of the player and the opponent to each program in turn, along with the last move made by the player, and takes the return value as the move.

The move should be a number from 0 to 3, indicating one of four possible directions, but since these are random programs that ...

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