While I was over at ICCC 2014 I met Dan Ventura, who heads up a research group over at BYU in Utah. Dan always presents interesting work at ICCC, and has wonderful students doing great work. Right now they’re running a survey to evaluate DARCI, a piece of software that can create, modify and evaluate images using a nice bit of visual intelligence that lets it understand the kind of image it’s looking at. They need your help! The survey only takes 10 minutes and it would really help them out.
I’ve just got back from Ljubljana, Slovenia where I spent last week attending the 5th International Conference on Computational Creativity. It was one of the best conference experiences I’ve had – we had a wonderful host in the Josef Stefan Institute, an amazing array of papers, and the generally superb atmosphere that ICCC always has. Most importantly, it felt like we were moving forwards on a metalevel too. The conference was colocated with an amazing exhibition of art, and we streamed all of our conference talks live online, with all the papers online and freely available on the day the conference started. It feels a step ahead of a lot of the conferences I’ve been to.
Darius Kazemi, one of the most fun people on the Internet, launched a bot today which tweets pictures and descriptions of pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love bots like this, and I also really like the idea of bots which riff off one another. For a while now I’ve wanted to write a bot that named colours put out by EveryColorBot, but never thought of an elegant enough trick to doing so. Today I knocked up AppreciationBot in about an hour, which tweets comments about the pieces presented by MuseumBot.
Games are great platforms for research, and one of the reasons for this is that you can easily distribute experiments and gather great data quickly. If you’ve got ten minutes to spare, you can help out two great research projects right now just by playing a couple of games.
Last weekend was Ludum Dare 29, the latest run of the thrice-yearly game jam. ANGELINA entered for the first time last December, but the intention was always to have ANGELINA enter the jam regularly. If we can get the system to enter on a regular basis, then we can show a pattern of change and progress, as well as building up the image of ANGELINA as a designer that can learn and participate in a community. Continue reading
Things are still quiet on the Games By ANGELINA front, but I do have some exciting news – my talks from Eurogamer Rezzed and Indievelopment are now both online for you to watch! My Eurogamer talk was a 25-minute retrospective on my work on ANGELINA, and included lots of tiny prototypes and things that I don’t show very often. You can view that right here:
My Indievelopment talk was titled Generate Everything. In it, I argue that game developers should try to generate every part of their videogames, because in doing so we discover new and exciting things! You can watch that on Vimeo right here:
I’ll be updating my talks page and whatnot very soon with links to these, too. Let me know what you think!
I’ve set up this scheduled post to let you know that you can watch me give a short talk at Eurogamer’s Rezzed event right now by clicking here to watch via their Twitch stream. There’s already been some great talks at Rezzed today, so I hope I can keep up with their level. I’ll be showing some lesser-seen games, demoing some of ANGELINA’s new Unity tricks, and talking about the questions of the future.
Phew! There’s a lot of exciting things coming up. I just wanted to write a little post to let you know:
March 28th, Birmingham, UK - I’m honoured to be giving a Developer Session at EGX Rezzed, a big games event organised by Eurogamer. Come see me at 5pm on the Friday where I’ll be talking about ANGELINA and showing off some games that I rarely or never show people!
Mark Riedl – March 31st, Goldsmiths, London – We’re very fortunate to have Mark Riedl coming to talk at Goldsmiths this month. Mark is a hugely important researcher in interactive narrative and virtual worlds, and you’ll have seen some of his supervised work in previous Saturday Papers. Come and see him talk about his research! Full details of the talk are here.
April 7th, Utrecht, The Netherlands – I’m talking at Indievelopment, a day of talks about videogames. I’m going to be giving a talk called Generate Everything and it’s going to be great. I’m very excited about this. More info over on their site.
If you see me at any of these events, come and say hi! I’ll probably be carrying around floppy disks which you’d be most welcome to, and it’s always nice to meet new people. Both of my talks will be recorded and put online too, which I’ll link to later.
As you may have noticed, the last few weeks have been quiet over here. Things are really busy – lots of talks coming up, I’ve started writing my thesis, and there’s lots of little side projects that are filling in all the crevices with task-based rubber cement. At times like this, something has to suffer, and in this case I’m going to have to put The Saturday Papers on hold for a little while.
The good news is in that time there’s going to be some great conferences, so when we come back I’ll have plenty to tell you about! I also have some little projects in the meantime that will be of interest to anyone who liked The Saturday Papers. It shouldn’t be more than a couple of months, but I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out the ongoing work on The Procedural Generation Book and of course the archives of The Saturday Papers past. Thanks to everyone who continues to read, comment and share – we’ll be back soon!
Is there anything that can’t be generated? In the past, games have tried their hands at generating level designs, monsters and items, world histories, musical scores, artwork and puzzles - it seems like there’s nothing we couldn’t try to generate. I like that attitude a lot. I think that trying to generate every bit of a videogame we can think of can help us shine a light on new game mechanics, new ways to approach game design, and new ways of thinking about game creation. This week we’re looking at a system I put together just over a year ago for generating simple game mechanics for platform games.
-  There are many other examples for this list – these were just the ones that leapt out at me. ↩