Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Toy Universe for the NoumenaMind Cognitive Engine : Master of the Empire - Express

I'm a huge proponent of doing something, rather than talking about it.

So for the past 2 months I've spent the majority of my leisure time working on two items: First and foremost the Noumena Cognitive Engine and secondly a toy universe (of sorts) that will allow for a demonstrable application of the cognitive engine; and that toy-universe is through the next iteration of MOTE.

The game by design is simple, yet addictive. Each player starts off with a capital and attempts to conquer the randomly generated worlds through the use of Simpletons, Infantry, Panzer Troopers and Tanks. There are no air or water units - that will come in a later version because this first iteration needs to be, not only a fun game, but it also has to serve as a test bed for the initial implementation and integration of the Noumena cognitive engine. There enough moving parts.

Certain terrain features restrict movement of particular unit types, resources are required to build certain units - so there is an artificial economy within this toy universe; one that Noumena must learn to use. Just having an AI engine just "do something" is relatively easy - if you want your solution to be brittle. By brittle I mean a solution that is generally not applicable to other similar contextual situations. The internal foundation and framework of Noumena make use of several weak methods - weak methods are used to solve problems (heuristically) in a context independent manner.

The cognitive engine needs to understand that the reason it moved the Panzer Trooper to counter a Tank inside a mountain pass is because it confined the movement of the Tank, allowed it's units to be concealed, allowed for disproportionate amount of offensive to be administered and at a higher cognitive level to be able to understand that this situation can be used as a cognitive frame for other situations that contain similar associative patterns. (This is not unlike similarities that maybe found within Selfridge's Pandemonium model - you can find the initial paper inside Neurocomputing: Foundations of Research as well as a further exposition inside Computer and Thought - under Pattern Recognition.)

The next steps are to solidify some of the human - toy universe interactions and then continue forth on with the integration of Noumena Cognitive Engine.