If you’ve been reading this site for a year or two, you’ll know that I like to post lots of screenshots and video whenever I’m building a new version of ANGELINA, even playable demos. This time I’ve been quieter, and the screenshots on Twitter have been fewer and further between. That’s because next week ANGELINA is going to be entering Ludum Dare - the first game jam entry we’ve attempted. It’s going to be a big debut for the new system, and I’m rather nervous indeed.
The next International Conference on Computational Creativity published its Call for Papers this week, which is normally only interesting to researchers who like receiving emails that start with “Sorry if you receive this more than once”. However, I want to write a little something about it on here, because this year’s conference is going to be bigger than ever, and is branching out to be more inclusive, well-defined and full of potential than ever. If you’re a developer, researcher, coder, hacker or anyone else interested in the field, please read on!
Earlier in the year, I helped my supervisor write an application for funding that would let me work on ANGELINA beyond my PhD funding end date (which was this October). We learned a couple of weeks ago that the funding had been approved, which means that ANGELINA and I are secure in our research for another two years, working at Goldsmiths College in London where my supervisor has now moved. What are we going to be doing there? Lots of things! Below is some early details on what I hope to get done.
I’m currently working on a new tool for ANGELINA that will let it automatically rip and compress images from the web into sprites that can be used in-game. Here’s a few examples of dogs:
A Puzzling Present is finally out! The festive platformer I’ve been working on this month is now available on Android, Windows, Mac and Linux, and it’s completely free! Click the present to go to the download page.
Today I’m going to be watching over the release, talking to a few journalists, and working on an optimised Android version that irons out a few bumps here or there. You can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to ask anything or report a problem. Below is a few words about the project – I’m really excited to have it released!
Later this month, deadlines permitting, I’ll be releasing a game for desktop platforms and Android called A Puzzling Present. It’ll be a Christmas-themed platform game, with game mechanics and level design by the new Mechanic Miner system. It’s going to be released for free (because it should be!) and it’ll also include a way for you to help ANGELINA and myself out with the research by telling us what you think of the game as you play it! Continue reading
Working on a new idea is always good fun, but I particularly enjoyed the Mechanic Miner stuff I’ve been doing lately because it threw up a lot of interesting ideas and is making me think a lot about future work as well. If you read the post about it and weren’t too sure, I wanted to write down a few big things that I got out of Mechanic Miner that you might find more exciting.
I originally had this plan for a very elegant introductory piece about the new things I’ve been working on, but I’ve been faffing around for too long and I’d rather just start talking about it. So this post will introduce a new system I’ve been working on called Mechanic Miner, what it does, when it’ll produce something playable, and what it might mean for ANGELINA in 2013.
Since I returned from AIIDE I’ve been thinking a lot about procedural content generation, and where automated game design fits into it. Since I started work on ANGELINA I’ve kind of always lumped it in with all other procedural content research, but the more I think and talk about the system, the more distinct automated game design becomes as a term. Here’s a few hundred words on the idea, how the two differ, and why it might become important in the future.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been picking away at a sidetrack in the work on ANGELINA, and it’s spiralled into something a bit bigger that’s now genuinely captivating me. I talked about it a little today at Essex University’s Workshop on Games, and pretty soon I’ll be back from AIIDE and working on it quite hard until the end of the year. It’s all about tackling a problem I’ve had with ANGELINA since the very beginning – how can we automate the discovery of fun game mechanics? This is the first of two blog posts explaining the new approach I’m trying out.