It’s been a while since I updated you all on what I’ve been working on, and since January is Official Paper Writing Month if you’re in Computational Creativity, I thought I’d write a quick post to tell you about something I’m submitting to the conference that you might find interesting. It’s more technology-related than games-related, but like all of the work I do, I intend to build it into ANGELINA someday soon! The work is all about getting ANGELINA to express opinions that aren’t yours, aren’t mine, and aren’t random. It’s about generating opinions that you could actually argue with.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Did you come to this year’s Games and Media Event at Imperial College? If you did, thank you so much! I hope you had a great time. I can honestly say that this year’s event was the best we’ve organised yet. Over the course of six or seven years the event has slowly grown in scope, brought in a wider spectrum of attendees, and is now a driving force for getting students interested (and into) jobs in the games industry. Thank you again if you came, and particularly if you were one of our excellent speakers!
The day before GaME I wrote up and submitted a paper to AIIDE, which means I’m relatively deadline free for a month or two. It’s a nice feeling! I get this about once every six months at the moment, and it’s a good time to reflect on how the PhD is going, as well as a nice justification for playing with side projects. One of the purposes of this blog is to keep people in the know about what I’m working on, so here’s a quick list of the things I’m pottering between these days.
I mentioned that I’m writing a paper about the latest edition of ANGELINA, but I haven’t really explained what it is that ANGELINA can do that’s different from a few months ago. It’s been very changeable up until about a week ago, but I’m finally producing games and getting reasonable results. This post is about what new capabilities ANGELINA has gained over the last few months, so that the games make the most sense when I post them soon.