Continuing APACE

At the end of my CIG 2011 talk I said that ANGELINA would be sitting on the bench for a few months while I worked on formalising the techniques behind her and presenting them elsewhere. But I couldn’t keep away from the game design gig, and seeing the breadth of competitions at CIG made me think about what ANGELINA will be doing in future. So I’ve started working on an API for designing point-and-click adventure games, and it’s called APACE – A Point And Click Engine.

Obviously, I want ANGELINA to be able to make games like this in future. But as I started planning how the design would work, it occurred to me that writing all these custom game engines and hardcoding them into ANGELINA was stupid. So I’m planning to release this, open-source, when it’s done so that (hopefully, one day) other people can write automatic game designers that make point-and-click games too. If we’re all using the same game engine, we can really start to compare different approaches (as well as saving everyone time in the process).

The engine can handle simple interactions at the moment, but no conversations or inventory which are obviously crucial. So I’m still hacking away at it. It’s all written in Java, which makes it super-portable and easy to code for, two things that the API really needs. The only thing it relies on is the super and very handy Slick2D game library for Java.

I’ll post more about it when I’ve got a version that people can play with. Right now it’s a little clunky and it’s not feature-complete, even in a beta form. Keep an eye out for it though, because I’m hoping to get human designers to use it too, so we get a few example games out before ANGELINA tries her hand at it!

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