Rats named Carmack and Romero are playing Doom | PC Gamer

Forget about the toasters, for there is a new frontier in Doom trivia: training up rodents to wander its mazes and blow away imps. Take a bow Viktor Tóth, a neuroengineer who has been puzzling over how to train rats to play Doom for the past year: and finally (kind of) did it.”I built a VR setup for rodents from scratch and trained three rats in an automated fashion, without manual intervention, to traverse a corridor rendered in the DOOM II engine,” writes Tóth. “Although I did implement the mechanisms to further train rats to shoot monsters in-game, I lacked the time to actually reinforce the behavior.”The rodent VR setup has a polystyrene ball tracked with motion sensors, and the rat is suspended on top of this with a harness. There’s a curved PC monitor in front of it showing the game environment, and a little tube containing sugary water that the rat gets to sip when it’s doing the ‘right’ thing: training it to ‘walk’ via treats, positive reinforcement. The level it’s walking through is a custom Doom 2 map with an exit, long corridors, and a stationary imp that needs shooting.The rats are 8 week-old Long Evans rats, and the cherry on the cake is they’re called Carmack, Romero, and Tom (after Tom Hall). “Romero was fearless (more like thrill-seeking) and loved grapes. Carmack was a real architect building around its home keeping it tidy; he was fond of bananas. Tom began shy, but held the most surprises in learning performance.”
— Read on www.pcgamer.com/rats-named-carmack-and-romero-are-playing-doom/

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