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machine cognition software
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Download, compile, and run.


To run the prototype (no bells or whistles included!), you will need:

  • A PC with 8GB of RAM or more and a quad core (or higher) processor (Intel or AMD).
  • Ubuntu Linux (recommended version: 16.04)
  • A recent version of git
  • A 3D graphics card (e.g. NVidia 750 or higher)

Please note that running the application requires the Irrlicht Engine (see instructions).

Download: in a command line terminal, type:

git clone https://github.com/grabherr/Isaac.git

Next, do

cd Isaac

./installLibraries (have your Ubuntu user password ready. This is just a simple script that will not do anything with your password).

./getIrrlicht (this will download the latest version of the Irrlicht engine)

make -j 5 (this builds the Isaac code base, please be patient)

./compileIrrlicht (this builds the Irrlicht client)

Ready to run!

Run the prototype game: type:

./SchoolGame -i data/empty.cfg > /dev/null

Please give it a few seconds to start and initialize. Once done, you should see the school yard, the characters (stick figures), and hear some soothing sounds.

Play the game: 

By default, you are one of the characters, and can watch their actions. The objective for each character is to be a popular as possible. This can be done either together with other characters, by dominating others, or a combination of both. Isaac will try to figure out a good strategy for each character.

A simple hud on the left display the current status, both for the character you are following, as well as for all other characters, for which two numbers are listed: the long-term aggression (negative number) or niceness (positive number), and the popularity status, on a scale from 0 to 1.

To interact with other characters, one has to first pick a “target”, to which the character will walk up to, and an “action”, which is a number between -1 and 1. The logic behind the game will determine the success (can you figure out how it works? What works, and what doesn’t?).

Even if subtle, every character has a slightly different body, which Isaac uses to distinguish the others.


  • TAB, BACKSPACE: switch forward and backward between the characters
  • SPACE: toggle to “god mode”, in which you can look around without being attached to any character.
  • g, b: select the target
  • h. n: increase or decrease the action value

Note: any change to a character’s target or action is invalidated by the next interaction, after which Isaac chooses what to do next. You can, however, teach any character what to do – as long as it works and gets him or her a reward.

Last: have fun!!