- Keen team – significant growth
- Space Engineers – two major updates released
- AI Game – looking promising
- Memetic Badger
It is my tradition at the beginning of every year to publish a review of what we have achieved in the previous year, and what our plans are for the new one.
Review from last year (2020/2021) is here.
This year’s review starts here. Enjoy!
Keen Software House
2021 was a year of changes but especially a year of growth, not only the team size, but also of our skills and experience in various projects.
- In 2021, we proved that our studio is compatible with remote work and have continued to hire new team members from around the world.
- A growing team demands changes in structure, and so many of the veteran team members were promoted to leadership positions.
- Space Engineers: we released two major updates
- Cooperation with our community: Space Engineers has more than 440,000 items on Steam workshop. We started to support the UGC (User generated content) sharing in cooperation with the Tebex team.
- We added new official languages to Space Engineers: Italian, Brazilian – Portuguese, and Spanish.
- We launched regular promotional events on our www.SpaceEngineersGame.com website, which are always supported by regular live game streams run by Joel.
- Our programmers used Manual Badger architecture to evaluate parallelization techniques that would benefit the future development of Space Engineers. The ultimate aim of the investigation was to improve game performance to better leverage multi-core CPUs and GPUs. – article
- We launched an updated affiliate program in cooperation with Xsolla.
- We are dedicated for the continued development of Space Engineers on PC and Xbox
- We collaborated with Makeship and over 1100 community members got their hands on an exclusive Space Engineer plushie! https://www.makeship.com/products/space-engineers-plush
- We introduced crossplay and brought our Xbox and PC communities closer. https://blog.marekrosa.org/2021/02/space-engineers-community-crossplay.html
- We’ve been supporting our community playing on the platform of their choice by pushing simultaneous releases and regular updates to both platforms PC & Xbox.
- We are now continuing that series with Warfare 2: Broadside which focuses on massive changes to ship combat.
The research team continued to focus on our multi-agent Badger architecture. We developed several implementations focused on learning through backpropagation. We investigated properties of inner/outer-loop meta-learning and converted three results into several papers that are now being submitted to scientific conferences.
The second half of the year was dedicated to memetic badger, a flavor of badger architecture inspired by cultural evolution theory and the ease with which science has progressed in the recent millennia (with no apparent change in the human genome). Memetic badger focuses on using and evolving memes (algorithms, data) for learning to solve problems. At present, the system is in active development and will remain the focus of research in 2022.
Papers and blog posts
- Memetic Experiments for an Open-Ended Learning Paradigm – paper
- Building a research culture where we share questions and difficulties, not just answers – article
GoodAI Grants & EU Projects
Our grants program began in October 2020 with the goal to support research that is relevant to the most pressing questions related to artificial intelligence on a whole and, more specifically, to GoodAI’s Badger architecture.
Since the first award, we’ve had a great response from the research community around the world and granted nine more in 2021.
- An Open-ended Environment for Lifelong Learning AI
- Bridging the Continual Learning Gap with Deep Artificial Neurons
- GPU Grant to Support TU Delft’s AI Research | GoodAI
- Using open-ended algorithms to generate video game content in Space Engineers
- Solving generalization and making artificial intelligence curious
- Bayesian Online Meta-Learning for continual & gradual learning
- Goodai enters into research collaboration to progress meta-learning and combinatorial generalization
- Creating a new framework for multi-agent AI systems
- A new kind of open-ended environment for a new kind of artificial intelligence
Over $777,000 has been awarded in total. Funding also supported the publication of papers on AI development:
- Noether Networks: Meta-Learning Useful Conserved Quantities
- Generalization in Dexterous Manipulation via Geometry-Aware Multi-Task Learning
- Functional Regularization for Reinforcement Learning via Learned Fourier Features
- A large-scale benchmark for few-shot program induction and synthesis
- Discovering and Achieving Goals via World Models
We’re entering the second year of our work on EU grant projects:
- The VeriDream project is an international consortium of six organizations across Europe implementing AI into robotics. Significant progress was made on our case study applying quality diversity algorithms to control robotic legs.
- We are also part of iv4XR, a Horizon 2020 project that aims to build a novel verification and validation technology for Extended Reality systems based on techniques from AI to provide learning and reasoning over a virtual world.
Workshops & other news:
- We held a 5-day seminar, Beyond Life-long Learning via Modular Meta-Learning, bringing together the GoodAI research team, grants recipients, and other experts to share knowledge on the pathway to a life-long learning system (GoodAI Research Roadmap 2021/2022) – article
- GoodAI’s Senior Research Scientist, Jaroslav Vítků authored a handy tool for the management of experiments in AWS (Amazon Web Services).
- We participated in and hosted a hybrid event for the ALIFE 2021 conference – article
- GoodAI Scientist Nicholas Guttenberg won the Evocraft Minecraft Open-Endedness Challenge.
- Our workshop, From Cells to Societies, was accepted to the 2022 ICLR Conference.
AI Ethics & Safety
We continued to work towards the development of a safe AI for individuals and society.
- Inceptional UNESCO agreement on an ethical framework for AI development – article
- European Commission Report on Humans and Society in the Age of AI – article
- AI in the Czech Republic – Marek Rosa panel discussion with the Aspen Institute Central Europe.
- Cyborg Soldiers and Bioethics – Marek Rosa interview with GLOBSEC
- AI & Happiness Roundtable – Marek Havrda summarizes thoughts from the meeting – article
A new project aiming to find synergy between the AI and game development expertise present in GoodAI and Keen began.
As part of this project, we’ve been developing a new game (working title ‘AI Game’) that allows players to explore a world inhabited by intelligent NPCs powered by state-of-the-art AI.
The goal is to push video game boundaries in terms of immersion, emotions, dialogues and flexibility.
Preliminary work on the AI Game actually started towards the end of 2019. Since then we have:
- Iterated through numerous prototypes
- Developed a custom AI Engine
- Built a well-functioning team of professionals (10 and growing)
- Gained a lot of know-how and experience.
- The game is starting to be entertaining, but more iteration are needed
Oranžérie is the head-quarters of Keen Software House and GoodAI.
In the Spring, we will begin a complete remodeling of the garden, adding pavilions, chill-out areas, a proper pavement, and a gate.
- Pavilion in progress
- Space Engineers Apotheosis – more details
Even as we collectively enter into the third year of the pandemic, COVID has not been an obstacle to company growth.
Our hiring reach expanded globally and our team is currently composed of 18 nationalities in Keen and 15 in GoodAI.
At present, 64% of our team is located in the Czech Republic and 36% is abroad.
For comparison, last year it was 75% in the Czech Republic and 25% abroad.
Number of newcomers in 2021:
- GoodAI: 15
- Keen: 25
The main part of my time is dedicated to the production of Space Engineers – working on designs, technology, art, and overall direction of the game.
The second big part of my time is aimed at merging AI and game development, materialized in AI Game. I believe that AI is the future of game development – not just fancy NPCs, but also as a tool to use natural language to define an interactive universe that works.
The third part is about the development of Memetic Badger. I have observed that the interest in this subgenre of AI (AI system as a collective of cells and societies) has been growing in the last 2 years.
On a personal level, I work very hard on how to balance all these activities.
Plans for 2022
Keen Software House
- Space Engineers – New update – Warfare 2: Broadside – will be released soon
- Few more major updates to Space Engineers are planned for this year
- We have many surprises, especially on the technology side of Space Engineers & VRAGE. We will be talking about them soon.
- ICLR workshop: From Cells to Societies
- Memetic Badger – more work is needed, especially on integration between internal evolution inside the agent and the challenges of the external environment
- AI Game – I am looking forward to some of the technology advancements we are planning in the next months. Also, we will be growing our ‘language model / transformers’ team.
Thank you for reading this blog!
CEO, Creative Director, Founder at Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, Founder at GoodAI
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