October 4, 2011

A Map Generation Speedrun with Answer Set Programming

There’s nothing really special about this map-looking thing, other than that you can’t get from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner in less than 42 steps (I looks to take 56 or so). What is special here is how quickly we’re going to develop a flexible, style-ready generator for it. Set the clock for 50 lines-of-code, and let’s get started.

That’s right, we’re going to write this map generator right here in the blog post. If you want to follow along at home, download Clingo (a state-of-the-art answer set solver) and fire up your favorite text editor.

December 3, 2010

From Breakout to Space Invaders, All Over Again

In the past, I’ve written about game design as a new domain for automated discovery, in which one might build discovery systems which uncovered new and interesting knowledge in game design. However, unless you are already familiar with discovery systems, all this might sound too blue-sky to even visualize. So what does it even mean for machine to discover something about game design?

September 27, 2010

Brian Lande at UCSC

Brian Lande
“‘When You Are Strange’: Mutual Intelligibility, Intercoporeality, and Accountability in Stranger Encounters”
Brian Lande, Ph.D, Program Manager, DARPA, Arlington VA

Date: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Time: 11:00 am
Place: Engineering 2 Room 399

This lecture is free and open to the public, but visitors should purchase a parking pass from the visitor kiosk at the main entrance. There they can also provide a map showing the best parking for the School of Engineering.

March 8, 2010

Epic Game Design Tour

This surprisingly broad lecture on game design was given by Noah Wardrip-Fruin to help students review for the final exam in our Foundations of Interactive Game Design class. However, if you are not one of the 300 students in the class, you might find it quite interesting to share with a friend. Perhaps you know someone who is very serious about games but is a little too attached to their fanboyism to see the bigger picture. Tell them to skip past the first two minutes of class business and jump right into the real intellectual meat.

November 12, 2009

cfml: the context-free music language

For the ears: cfml-prototype.mp3

Context Free is an excellent tool for exploring generative spaces in the domain of 2D visual art (and Structure Synth does a fantastic job in 3D), but can a language of circles, rectangles, and triangles mutated by rotates, translates, and scales be translated into the domain of music? The result is not just a rich analogy, but a fun and expressive software performance instrument.

August 24, 2009

Xorex: An Abstract Matching-Shooter

Screenshot showing the players ship charged with pink ammo, carrying some yellow inventory.

Screenshot showing the player’s ship charged with pink ammo, carrying some yellow inventory.

Xorex is a haphazard pastiche of various games I’ve played over the years.  It has several elements you’ll feel right at home with: gems to be arranged into color-matching linear groups, a forward-firing ship with flexible inventory and ammo storage, a grid-based board to which you can add and remove tokens, an unstoppable source of new clutter to be blown away, and a timer and leader-board for use in posturing with friends.  While making this game was a fantastic first-experience with open-source Flash development tools like HaXe and FlashDevelop, I must admit to a hidden agenda.

July 30, 2009

Game Design as a Science

In my recent PhD thesis proposal I described how I am going to tackle game design as a new domain for automated discovery.  A key piece of this is figuring out game design might be explained as the kind of knowledge-seeking effort you might expect from science or mathematics.  With successful systems performing discovery (such as Simon Colton’s HR system which contributed some new and interesting knowledge in pure mathematics) and new projects beginning to automate the process of exploring a space of games (such as Julian Togelius’ Automatic Game Design experiment), the idea of mashing these together into a “game design discovery system” seems quite attractive to me.

June 18, 2009

Game Designers Design Players Too

A sketch for a cute little dungeon crawl

A sketch for a "cute little dungeon crawl"

I’ve got a whole philosophy of game design I’m sitting on here, but today I’d like to share just one little provocative tidbit: game designers design players too.

June 16, 2009

You Have To Mine The Ore

Here’s a nice, simple game prototype that explores the core movement, inventory, and timing mechanics of Motherload that took just 10 minutes to design and 60 minutes to program using our new design tool.  Rather, this is the half of a nice, simple game prototype that supports human play testing, but there is more to it than that.

Powered by WordPress