Play Games, Help Science #1 – Georgia Tech

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Doing science with videogames is all well and good, but the only way to know if you’re doing it right is to get real people in front of what you’ve made, and get them playing. Alex Zook is one of Mark Riedl‘s students at Georgia Tech University, and does really cool research into games that adapt themselves to better suit the player. He’s running an experiment right now and needs some help – if you’re interested in being a guinea pig and want to play a game that’s full of exciting research, read on and see how you can contribute:

Hello,We would like to ask for your assistance evaluating our algorithms for adapting game play.We are running a study of AI algorithms running in two simple games: one automatically adapts to your gameplay behavior and the other to your stated preferences. Each game takes about 15 minutes to play through 10 waves. You’re free to play as many waves as you like, but we can only use your data if you finish at least 10 waves.We don’t offer compensation, but would really appreciate your help (and you might enjoy playing the game). We won’t track any long-term data on you, only keeping information on your gameplay and preference ratings under anonymized codes generated for each time you start the game up. You must speak English and be 18 years old or over to participate. Our research has been approved by the Georgia Institute of Technology Institutional Review Board.

Between each wave, an adaptive AI algorithm will run. This can take a couple of minutes between waves and your web browser may report the application is unresponsive. Rest assured that it is working, just crunching the data to give you the best possible results! More instructions about browser compatibility, controls, and warnings are provided on the game webpages (see below). Due to our server limitations the game may be slow to start up, please be patient.

If you’re interested in playing the games we ask that you please play both games.

First go to and complete 10 waves.

Then go to and complete 10 more waves.

If you have any questions or find major bugs contact Alex Zook at

Thanks! Alex

 Good evaluations with lots of participants can make good research into amazing research – and for game work especially, having people play with your output is key. Thanks to everyone who takes part – I’ll have a new Saturday Paper up for you this weekend.

5 thoughts on “Play Games, Help Science #1 – Georgia Tech

  1. A surprisingly fast shooter, though the screen-warping takes some getting used to. Maybe I’m not a good retro gamer, as this certainly captures nintendo-hard… until you figure out a tactic that works for you (mine was hold the W key and strafe your way into new enemies on a ribbon of death for the first one, and die like there’s no tomorrow for the second)

    1. To clarify, the surprisingly fast was for the first one, and the dying like no tomorrow for the second was because I couldn’t grasp the controls fast enough to get their nuances. I realize that wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry for that.

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