Elastic Computing Laboratory

For this semester, I am very interested in a small student group, say 4 to 8 students, working on the first project for this new laboratory. The first project will be to put together a demo that uses Amazon EC2. The demo I am thinking of is to build a small set of AI characters, with the computation for those AI characters being carried out on the Amazon EC2 cloud. Those AI characters will be displayed and interacted with on a client running on a PC in the GamePipe Laboratory. This project has two parts:

Part 1- Quick demo that shows we know how to put computation on the Amazon EC2 cloud and that we know how to get results back to a client in real-time. I want latency measurements taken for this. Please try and use an existing online game already developed in the laboratory, say one of the advanced games games.

Part 2 - Once we know how to do this, we need to draft a general architecture and/or guidelines that we can give others so they can also put their computations off onto the EC2 cloud.

Scope of the Elastic Computing Laboratory
Mission: To explore the applications of elastic computing resources delivered by the Internet to client applications for purposes of improving the efficacy, efficiency and engagement of entertainment software and services.
Strategy: To employ students to research and demonstrate specific applications of elastic computing for game products on the PC.
Tactics: Semester long projects that illuminate and demonstrate the capacity to extend existing console and mobile experiences with computing power available on demand.
Scope: The expectation would be for students to work on projects that illuminate key concepts and applications of elastic computing for online games, focusing initially on the PC as target platform and Amazon as the EC2 Platform.

Potential Projects:
EC Instance Framework on Amazon Services
EC Pipe Protocol Design and implementation on Amazon EC2
EC Pipe Implementation and Delivery Demo
EC Application on Game Telemetry for User Identification
EC Application for the delivery of alternative language dialog
EC Application for the delivery of alternative real time sound tracks
EC Application for creating AI simulations of specific multiplayer opponents.
EC Application delivering simulated MP opponents to online games.

Ongoing GamePipe R&D Projects

The GamePipe Laboaratory has several ongoing research projects that are available for DR students. These projects provide a chance to be acknowledged as a contributor or co-author of research papers, as well as valuable experience in educational and other serious games. The following list gives some details about each project along with estimated relative difficulty ratings (1-5) assuming a user with the requisite skills. Please contact Powen Yao at powen@usc.edu for further information.

  • Behavior Box - I am very interested in how real-time newsfeeds change the behavior of AI characters in online games. I would love a full-on demo to be put together on this. The game environment has to be a 3D game built in Unity. We need an architecture for monitoring RSS feeds from cnn.com such that we can recognize events/stories we have previously highlighted as “interesting to us”. Those stories have to be read by a natural language processing system (find an open source available one). The NLP results have to be converted into new emotional states for the AI characters. We use a model like EmoCog (or a simpler, hacked version initially) to feed these new emotional states to our AI characters. We map animated states/behaviors that happen from incoming NLP-provided emotional states.
  • EmoCog: An AI cognitive architecture for experiments on emotion generation and effects. Built in Java using various 3rd party libraries. Currently we are designing a Turing Test-inspired experiment to gauge the system’s emotional and cognitive responses to running a nuclear power plant. Help needed with deployment and experiment administration . Rated easy (2) for experimental 2D UI design and database management, but time-critical.
  • Satellite Robot Sim: Design and program a virtual robotic satellite assembler / disassembler and an outer space scenario for it to operate in. Multiplayer infrastructure using Unity, and possibly social networks. The game element of the system will be to determine the best robot operator in a simulated physically accurate zero gravity environment, under hostile conditions such as a space war. Rated moderate (3) for graphical and physics effects and easy (2) for gameplay programming.
  • Team-Based Android Game or App - if you have a particular app/game you wish to build for your DR, that is also fine. My preference is team-based as opposed to one person only.