Decision Making Styles as Deviation from Rational Action: A Super Mario Case Study


  • Christoffer Holmgård IT University of Copenhagen
  • Julian Togelius IT University of Copenhagen
  • Georgios Yannakakis University of Malta



player modeling, decision making, play style


In this paper we describe a method of modeling play styles as deviations from approximations of game theoretically rational actions. These deviations are interpreted as containing information about player skill and player decision making style. We hypothesize that this information is useful for differentiating between players and for understanding why human player behavior is attributed intentionality which we argue is a prerequisite for believability. To investigate these hypotheses we describe an experiment comparing 400 games in the Mario AI Benchmark testbed, played by humans, with equivalent games played by an approximately game theoretically rationally playing AI agent. The player actions’ deviations from the rational agent’s actions are subjected to feature extraction, and the resulting features are used to cluster play sessions into expressions of different play styles. We discuss how these styles differ, and how believable agent behavior might be approached by using these styles as an outset for a planning agent. Finally, we discuss the implications of making assumptions about rational game play and the problematic aspects of inferring player intentions from behavior.




How to Cite

Holmgård, C., Togelius, J., & Yannakakis, G. (2021). Decision Making Styles as Deviation from Rational Action: A Super Mario Case Study. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, 9(1), 142-148.