Advent Calendar 2009

14 - The intelligent game designer: Game design as a new domain for automated discovery

Today, we have a tech­ni­cal talk from Adam M. Smith of the expres­sive intel­li­gence stu­dio at University of California, Santa Cruz. He makes the claim in his slides, which appar­ent­ly out­line his Ph.D. research project, that a machine can become a cre­ative enti­ty that designs a game. To achieve this goal, he aims at devel­op­ing an “intel­li­gent design­er” (a com­pu­ta­tion­al agent) that turns expe­ri­ence into com­mu­ni­ca­ble knowl­edge. Intelligence in this sce­nario comes from expe­ri­ence, which he describes as knowl­edge pro­duc­tion based on fixed knowl­edge of past designs and expand­ing knowl­edge of dis­cov­er­able actions. The design activ­i­ty in games is reduced then to its very basics, being an action that pro­duces rule sys­tems and the nec­es­sary log­ic behind those. Thus, the more basic a rule sys­tem is, the more com­plex the actions result­ing from human inter­ac­tion with it might be.

His take on cre­ativ­i­ty as a ratio­nal pur­suit of curios­i­ty, result­ing in a sur­prise, is quite inter­est­ing (and debat­able). Using a design gram­mar or a set of struc­tur­al ele­ments of games, the game design agent could be ready to per­form his task. The only thing I am left to won­der is how to make the game real­ly excit­ing (appeal­ing to human emo­tions — for this a library of infor­ma­tion about emo­tion­al per­cep­tion of game design ele­ments could be high­ly use­ful) and feel not only “playable” but much like a game from a real design­er. The slides are def­i­nite­ly thought pro­vok­ing and well worth look­ing through.

More Papers

Togelius, J. and Schmidhuber, J. (2008) An Experiment in Automatic Game Design. IEEE CIG 2008.
Smith, A., Romero, M., Pousman, Z., Mateas, M. (March, 2008) Tableau Machine: A Creative Alien Presence. AAAI Spring Symposium on Creative Intelligent Systems.
Nelson, M.J. and Mateas, M. (2009) A require­ments analy­sis for videogame design sup­port tools. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2009), Orlando, Florida, USA.

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