The story begins with entertainment industry veteran, Doug Johnson, who envisioned a game world inhabited by unique collectible digital beings, each one increasing in skill and developing unpredictably, based on its unique digital genetic code and competitive experience. The vision entailed the selection of digital beings, training them, and pitting them against one another individually or in teams as they learned, adapted and evolved in the game via the Internet, game arcades, home consoles and licensed location-based theme parks. But the technology Johnson needed did not exist. The artificial intelligence (AI) that then drove computer games only used information and outcomes generated and “programmed in” by people. AI inherently was limited to what human beings already knew – a mere repository for the products of human intelligence. It was not capable of discovering anything new.
In late 1999, Johnson joined ranks with one of the world’s most accomplished computer scientists, David Fogel, Ph.D., master of an advanced “open-ended” machine intelligence technology involving sophisticated evolutionary algorithms and artificial neural networks known as “evolutionary computing”. This powerful technology relies on the principles of evolution and human biological neural networks, and emulates the process Charles Darwin called “natural selection.” Evolutionary computing technology applies the processes of random variation and selection to allow computer programs to generate powerful new solutions and strategies, all on their own. Together, Johnson, Fogel, and Tom Lang, a successful entrepreneur, along with pioneering programmer, Tim Hays, built upon Dr. Fogel’s fundamentals and computational intelligence techniques and developed a proprietary process that enabled them to bring digital characters to life.
The company dubbed the proprietary technology Digenetics and in 2006 was awarded its key patent that governs how digital characters evolve on their own truly unique physical, intellectual, and personality traits. Over the past two decades, the video game industry has successfully crossed two critical frontiers graphics, and physics, both of which have been key drivers to the growth of the industry. After several years in R&D’ mode, Digenetics is now on the forefront of crossing the next frontier in video games – intelligence, and leading the way to the ultimate frontier – evolution.