Faculty Candidate Talk: Procedural Content Generation for Game Design

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
ENGR 4201 
Gillian Smith

Host: Dr. Sean Luke 


The future of digital games lies in the development of new technologies that
support new game genres and player experiences. One such technology is
procedural content generation -- the use of a computer to create game
content that would normally be made by a human designer -- which offers a
number of opportunities for game design: it can be employed as an on-demand
game designer, capable of assisting human designers with creating content or
crafting a unique experience for each player. However, such abilities can
only be achieved through imbuing the generator with an understanding of game
design principles and creating a means for a human designer to communicate
about these principles with the generator. This talk describes an approach
to procedural content generation that incorporates an understanding of game
pacing, and discusses the implications of this design decision for the game
design process through examining two different projects: a tool that uses
procedural content generation to support players in designing their own game
levels, and a game that has players explore an infinitely generated world
that morphs according to their choices. 

Speaker's Bio

Gillian Smith is a PhD candidate in the Center for Games and Playable Media
(Augmented Design Lab and Expressive Intelligence Studio) at the University
of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests sit at the intersection of
artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, game studies, and
design studies. Her current focus is on procedural content generation and
how it changes the game design process, in terms of both creating tools for
novice designers and enabling entirely new kinds of games. Her latest
project, Endless Web, is a game that uses procedural content generation to
create an infinite world for the player to explore that adapts to the
choices they've made. She is also interested in studying gender issues in
games, and methods for increasing girls' and women's participation in
computer science and game design.


We have reserved a time slot at 12 PM (just after the seminar) for PhD
students to meet with the candidate.