Ten­sorFlow brings self-driv­ing to Mario Kart

OpenSource For You - - Fossbytes -

While many au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies are striv­ing to im­press cus­tomers with their self-driv­ing con­cepts, the open source soft­ware li­brary for ma­chine in­tel­li­gence, Ten­sorFlow, is bring­ing the ad­vanced driv­ing model even to video games like Mario Kart.

Open source de­vel­oper, Kevin Hughes, has de­ployed Google’s Ten­sorFlow to build a self-driv­ing Mario Kart model, which he has called Ten­sorKart. The de­vel­oper has used the open source N64 em­u­la­tor mu­pen64­plus to play Mario Kart on his desk­top com­puter, and has taken devel­op­ment sup­port from Ten­sorFlow and cuDNN. Also, he has writ­ten a Python pro­gram us­ing open source li­braries such as wxPython, Pygame and Mat­plotlib to con­tin­u­ously cap­ture screen­shots from the em­u­la­tor, syn­chro­nised with a joy­stick in­put. This is the ba­sis of the train­ing set.

“The idea of ex­plor­ing AI tech­niques in video games is not new, but what mo­ti­vated me to do this project was to show­case the com­plete pipeline of a

ma­chine learn­ing sys­tem. I wanted to pick a pop­u­lar game be­cause I thought it might in­ter­est more peo­ple and ex­pose them to how ma­chine learn­ing works,” re­vealed Hughes. The com­bi­na­tion of Ten­sorFlow, cuDNN and some open source li­braries has en­abled Hughes to de­velop Ten­sorKart’s game­play.

Hughes did face ini­tial ob­sta­cles when he set out on his jour­ney of pro­vid­ing a self-driv­ing model in a video game. “I had to dust off my C pro­gram­ming skills and spend some time re­mem­ber­ing all the nu­ances of C build sys­tems and Make­files,” Hughes told Open Source For You, adding that he also faced ini­tial is­sues in de­bug­ging the orig­i­nally trained model when it was not mov­ing the car cor­rectly. How­ever, Hughes took sup­port from Stack Over­flow and per­se­vered af­ter tak­ing a day off in the mid­dle of the project.

“When I first hit the is­sue of how to send in­put back to the em­u­la­tor, I did not think it would be dif­fi­cult. I needed to take a day off and ap­pre­ci­ate this part of the prob­lem and then ap­proach it with the en­ergy re­quired to fix it prop­erly,” stated Hughes.

Hughes be­lieves open source is the key to run in­no­va­tions like Ten­sorKart around the ma­chine learn­ing area. “I have been a be­liever of open source pretty much since. It be­came ap­par­ent early on how much more ef­fi­cient open source was; it just felt right. I have ben­e­fited a lot from what oth­ers have shared and feel good to share my own work,” he said.

Go­ing for­ward, Hughes plans to ex­pand his Ten­sorKart with new de­vel­op­ments. He also ex­pects it to at­tract more peo­ple from the com­mu­nity.

Mean­while, you can visit GitHub to down­load the same in­put plugin that has been en­abling self-driv­ing on Mario Kart and build your own ad­vanced gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

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