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The paper “Some Notes on the Nature of Game Design” by Kuittinen and Holopainen was accepted to the Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory –conference held in London 1.-4. September. The paper sums up a major portion of the work done in work package 2.1.
The project proceeds quite nicely. The first five months of the project have centred especially in advancing our knowledege on the various aspects of game design and innovation in game development. Per project plan, our two major areas of focus have been in work packages 1.1. and 2.1. In the former, our goal is to generate a deeper understanding on how game designers create and develop ideas. In the latter, the goal has been in forming a descriptive framework through which to research game design.
Recently, Microsoft announced its upcoming visual game design environment, Kodu, to be released “later this spring”. Combined with the level editor in Little Big Planet, these two should provide fascinating case studies for the project.
Another interesting piece on formal game design is the paper “An experiment in Automatic Game Design” by Togelius and Schmidhuber (find the paper in here). The authors created a program that would automatically create new games based on an underlying schema (or “meta-rules” or “axioms” as the authors call it). To evaluate the games, they had a genetic algorithm with a fitness function based on the idea of using learnability as a predictor of fun. Therefore games that are easy to learn but hard to master would get high fitness values with the algorithm, thus indicating a fun game.