Open-Ended Behavioral Complexity for Evolved Virtual Creatures (2013)
Author: Dan Lessin, Don Fussell, Risto Miikkulainen

In the 19 years since Karl Sims' landmark publication on evolving virtual creatures (Sims, 1994), much of the future work he proposed has been implemented, having a significant impact on multiple fields including graphics, evolutionary computation, and artificial life. There has, however been one notable exception to this progress. Despite the potential benefits, there has been no clear increase in the behavioral complexity of evolved virtual creatures (EVCs) beyond the light following demonstrated in Sims' original work. This paper presents an open-ended method to move beyond this limit, making use of high-level human input in the form of a syllabus of intermediate learning tasks--along with mechanisms for preservation, reuse, and combination of previously learned tasks. This method (named ESP for its three components: encapsulation, syllabus, and pandemonium) is employed to evolve a virtual creature with behavioral complexity that clearly exceeds previously achieved levels. ESP thus demonstrates that EVCs may indeed have the potential to one day rival the behavioral complexity--and therefore the entertainment value--of their non-virtual counterparts.
Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu
Dan Lessin Ph.D. Alumni dlessin [at] cs utexas edu
Open-Ended Behavioral Complexity for Evolved Virtual Creatures Dan Lessin, Don Fussell, Risto Miikkulainen In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2013, 2013. 2013

Evolved Virtual Creatures as Content: Increasing Behavioral and Morphological Complexity Dan Lessin PhD Thesis, Computer Science Department, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, December ... 2014