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.