I’m taking a course in optimization this semester. It includes a project.

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by real-time strategy games from a theoretical standpoint. Growing up I was never very good at playing them, but they captured my imagination. Players face an immense decision space; it’s clear that there are good and bad choices to take, but trying to identify the best choice always seemed kind of unobtainable.

About 1.5 years ago, I got the idea in my head to try making an AI for StarCraft. I tried using the StarCraft Brood War API, but the project eventually fell to the wayside as I (a) realized the scale of that project and (b) got distracted by other things.

With these prior experiences in mind, I decided to tackle one particular aspect of StarCraft for my optimization project— early game build orders. I’ll try to answer this question: what choices maximize military strength within the first few minutes of play? This is useful to know, whether you’re trying to rush your opponent or defend yourself from a rush.

Anyways, here’s a link to my proposal. Hopefully it gets approved and I can get to work on it. \( \blacksquare\)

Note: Interestingly, Google’s DeepMind and Blizzard Entertainment made a relevant announcement yesterday. They’re collaborating to open StarCraft II as a testbed for AI research. I couldn’t agree more with their reasoning that real-time strategy games are an excellent environment for agent design.