Game Engines and Machine Learning

Paris Buttfield-Addison, Secret Lab Pty. Ltd. Part of CW18

Learn how to use Unity to train, explore, and manipulate intelligent agents that learn. Train a quadruped to walk. Then train it to explore, fetch, and manipulate the world. Games are great places to explore AI. They’re wonderful contained problem spaces. Learn how to use them, even though you’re not a game developer.

This session explores using popular game engines, such as Unity, for machine learning exploration, training, and education.


  • how video game engines are a perfect environment to constrain a problem and train an agent
  • how easy it is to get started, using Unity
  • how to build up a model, and use it in the engine, to explore a particular idea or problem

This session is for non-game developers to learn how they can use game technologies to further their understanding of machine learning fundamentals, and solve problems. It’s a little bit technical, a little bit creative.

Paris Buttfield-Addison is co-founder of Secret Lab, a game development studio based in beautiful Hobart, Australia. Secret Lab builds games and game development tools, including the multi-award-winning ABC Play School iPad games, Night in the Woods, the Qantas airlines Joey Playbox games, and the Yarn Spinner narrative game framework. Previously, Paris was mobile product manager for Meebo (acquired by Google). Paris particularly enjoys game design, statistics, machine learning, and human-centered technology research and writes technical books on mobile and game development (more than 20 so far) for O’Reilly Media. He holds a degree in medieval history and a PhD in computing. You can find him on Twitter @parisba.