Unity's 'Obstacle Tower' is a game designed to test the limits of AI

Given that video games are an interactive form of entertainment, you may think that their sole purpose is to be played by humans. While you’d probably be right in the vast majority of cases, game engine maker Unity is proving that games can be designed with an entirely different audience in mind: AI.

They’re doing so via the launch of Obstacle Tower, an ambitious project that essentially acts as a game for robots – or a test, to be more precise. Obstacle Tower consists of, as the name suggests, an in-game tower that will challenge AIs to complete various puzzles and obstacles as quickly as possible.

The AIs in question will progress through 100 levels, each of which is supposedly more difficult than the last. Each level will test a given AI agent’s planning, locomotion, and computer vision skills, according to Unity. To prevent AI devs from gaming the system, each level will also be procedurally generated.

So, why does the integrity of Obstacle Tower matter so much to Unity? Because there’s more than just AI training at stake: Unity is launching an entire challenge (aptly named the “Obstacle Tower Challenge”) that will pit AIs against each other.

There will be various prizes on offer (which, unfortunately, will likely go to developers and not the AIs themselves), including up to $10,000 in cash and various other machine learning-focused goodies.

So, if you consider yourself an AI pro, feel free to submit your contact information directly to Unity to be notified when the Challenge officially kicks off on February 11.

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