Loren on the Art of MATLAB

Turn ideas into MATLAB

What Do MATLAB and Games Have in Common?

Today I want to introduce you to Jake Mitchell, a MATLAB user that I knew of and someone recently reminded me of again. Jake is a mechanical engineering major who is interested in data science. He uses MATLAB to explore strategies and positions in various games, and then writes about it. As he does, he shows the core code for the way pieces move and the game unfolds.

Games with Simple Rules

Jake has really nice commentary about possible strategies, based on simulating many, many plays of each games. In some cases, he also applies machine learning techniques to enable a machine to learn to play, such as tic-tac-toe. He's got an algorithm for playing Connect-4, a fun post on Chutes and Ladders. And he explores games that appear simple, or at least have simple governing rules, to ones that have much more nuance.

Games with More Complexity

I learned to play Settlers of Catan probably 15 years ago. And I still play occasionally. Now I will be armed with more strategic knowledge after reading Jake on How I Built the Best Catan Board.
Perhaps my favorite is Jake's analysis on the value of Monopoly properties. He goes into all the different property types, adding houses and hotels, plus utilities and railroads. And don't forget about going to jail! I like the way Jake presents the results as well, sometimes in tables and sometimes in plots. Here's a plot Jake allowed me to copy, showing the effects of houses and hotels on reaching break-even on the investment. Plus I really like that he uses the same colors as the Monopoly game so you can easily tell which group of properties are which.
I also like that he delves into the ins and outs of Boardwalk and Park Place!

Games, Anyone?

Have you made or analyzed games using MATLAB? Clearly some people have, when I check out the File Exchange, or with this search. If you have, please share with us here!
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