For the last 30 years, Pac-Man's estranged wife, Ms. Pac-Man, has been consuming countless coins and hours from gamers at arcades across North America.
Philipp Rohlfshagen, David Robles, and Simon Lucas, all of the University of Essex, recently launched a competition called Ms. Pac-Man vs. Ghost Team for those wanting to rewrite the flow of the classic chomper. The contest, held last week in New Orleans at the Congress on Evolutionary Computation 2011, was an open call for savvy Java programmers to create artificial intelligence routines that either control where Ms. Pac-Man or the four ghosts should go during gameplay. If you can't beat them, hack them.
Programming a successful strategy for a game like Ms. Pac-Man in real time is very complicated (click here for the software). A more competitive version of Ms. Pac-Man was used in the exhibition; fruits were omitted and the speed of Ms Pac-Man and the ghosts were identical. Entrants to the competition weren't allowed to use screen captures to navigate. They were required to directly interface with the game engine instead.… Read more