Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning (PCGML)

by   Adam Summerville, et al.

This survey explores Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning (PCGML), defined as the generation of game content using machine learning models trained on existing content. As the importance of PCG for game development increases, researchers explore new avenues for generating high-quality content with or without human involvement; this paper addresses the relatively new paradigm of using machine learning (in contrast with search-based, solver-based, and constructive methods). We focus on what is most often considered functional game content such as platformer levels, game maps, interactive fiction stories, and cards in collectible card games, as opposed to cosmetic content such as sprites and sound effects. In addition to using PCG for autonomous generation, co-creativity, mixed-initiative design, and compression, PCGML is suited for repair, critique, and content analysis because of its focus on modeling existing content. We discuss various data sources and representations that affect the resulting generated content. Multiple PCGML methods are covered, including neural networks, long short-term memory (LSTM) networks, autoencoders, and deep convolutional networks; Markov models, n-grams, and multi-dimensional Markov chains; clustering; and matrix factorization. Finally, we discuss open problems in the application of PCGML, including learning from small datasets, lack of training data, multi-layered learning, style-transfer, parameter tuning, and PCG as a game mechanic.


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