Last month, ANGELINA entered Ludum Dare for the first time. Ludum Dare is a game jam – a friendly contest where people get together to each design a videogame in a short period of time, normally from scratch. This was a pretty big landmark for the project, and marks the start of an exciting new phase for the research. I haven’t talked about it much since the results, but with the publication of a feature on Eurogamer today I can finally go into more depth.
We entered two games. Very few people knew about it, one plucky commenter realised just hours before voting ended, but ANGELINA created two games for Ludum Dare last month. The first, To That Sect, has been talked about a lot over the past week or so, and I’m grateful for every word of discussion from journalists and readers and through Twitter and all over. It’s incredibly encouraging to see people discussing, loving and hating the project, and to see so many firsts for the system (like its first big Let’s Play) being made. If my stats are right, over 16,000 people have played the game.
Stretch Bouquet Point, however, sat in obscurity in the Ludum Dare Jam track, 551st overall and with just 26 ratings to its name. As I say over on Eurogamer, my intention was to investigate how people react (both socially and in terms of ratings) to games made by software if they aren’t aware in advance. And while exact voting data isn’t made available, my feelings are that there are obvious biases in place here, and it’s healthy for everyone to know about them.
With our first game jam entry behind us, I’m able to take the last few years of work aside, and begin to collect it together for the writing of my PhD thesis which starts in the next few weeks. I’ll still be researching and working on ANGELINA, but it’s going to get a bit busy. Nevertheless we have a lot to do – I want to bring over Mechanic Miner into ANGELINA so it can begin exploring code again; I want to give the system more independence and autonomy so I’m less involved in the process of starting and finishing a game; and I want ANGELINA to get better with each game jam entry, even if only in a very small way.
Thanks to everyone who had a hand in helping ANGELINA get to where it is today, in particular to Azalea Raad who has had a hand in every single thing that has happened since before ANGELINA ever existed, and is the main reason I’m able to do what I do; to Tony Veale, Stephen Clark and Mark Granroth-Wilding for linguistic advice in the final sprint finish in November; and to Simon and the group at Goldsmiths for discussing the work and always providing suggestions and support. Thanks also to Joe Martin for being Joe at precisely the right moments.
I have a lot of busy work to do this month, including paper-writing, updating the site with links and info for the new games and press coverage, and more. But I will say that I have a few more exciting announcements to make in the coming months. More on this soon, probably on Twitter first.
Thanks for reading! Here’s to the future.