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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Beat Me If You Can! Writing Smart Game-playing Software

Games have been considered as 'cool' applications to develop on the computer. Many CS instructors have used game-playing programs as assignments to generate excitement in the class and enhance student interest in the discipline. Some have sought to include programming games even in the introductory Computer Science sequence. This is a significant challenge, as games are fairly complex programs. Developing a game from ‘scratch’ requires a considerable amount of time, as well as significant software engineering expertise. Therefore, in order to make it feasible to incorporate game development in undergraduate classes, instructors have used frameworks of reusable components. These frameworks implement aspects that are common to all members of a game family. Students are taught the interface to the framework, and are required to develop additional components that are specific to the game project assigned to them. These components are then integrated with the framework in a quick and easy manner, and the game is complete! Over the past three years at Brockport, we have developed such a framework for the family of Two-Person Zero Sum Games, which includes members such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Connect-Four, Checkers, Reversi, etc. This framework is being used in our Artificial Intelligence class. This talk will feature an interactive demonstration of some of the games developed using the framework. The demonstration will illustrate the distinctive features that have to be developed for a game to 'make the computer smarter' as it attempts to defeat the human player. It will discuss how new 'smartness' code can be incorporated into the framework to quickly get a better game. The talk will minimize technical content and should interest a wide audience, including freshmen/sophomore students.

Presenters: Sandeep Mitra (Faculty)
T Rao (Faculty)
Topic: Computer Science
Location: 127 Hartwell
Time: 2:45 pm (Session IV)