Simoroshka & games

Mar
15

Thesis progress

I found out that for me writing is easier in the wordpress. Has something to do with the blogging experience, I believe.
I have these drafts that are parts of my thesis. I am not going to publish them here, because, in my opinion, they are too formal and academic. I also don’t feel all that excited about my thesis anymore, as you may guess. And I have less than a month to hand it in for review. Writing cram mode is on.

thesis drafts

Feb
23

I am back

I have been silent. The winter wasn’t that easy on me. Let me make a recap of what was going on.

C++ wasn’t that difficult to pick up again. After all, it was my first programming language and I used it for quite a while during my undergraduate studies. The most difficult part was to find the right IDE, install a proper compiler and learn how to use external libraries. Never before a working “Hello World” program was that exciting and rewarding! I experimented with SDL graphic outputs, tried out a couple of tutorials, wrote a flocking simulation, and got a very useful code review from a good friend.

blurred flock 2

I participated in Global Game Jam and made way too many mistakes for one weekend. So I have no project to show. But maybe I will write about this experience later. Reflecting always helps to learn from your own mistakes, and sometimes you learn more from bad experiences than from good ones.

I am volunteering in media team at the local IGDA branch (one of the biggest ones, and probably the coolest). I like being useful instead of just trying to casually hang out and feeling out of place. I am not very good at networking, but I have my ways of connecting with people. Like actually doing things together.

Also, I am trying to write my master’s thesis, which is coming along way too slowly and which I have to submit in 7 weeks or so. The topic is quite interesting, I am just not a fan of academic writing. And I thought that I might try something different to boost my work and to give this blog a bit of life back.

Soon(ish) I am going to write a post about co-creative game design, using the materials for my first chapter.
And if there will be time and inspiration, I’ll also tell why I think my first GGJ was a failure.

Nov
27

Thesis? Games, please!

After 2 or 3 months of reading scientific papers, taking notes, reading more, making plans, rewriting them, reading more, and so on, I can finally say that I have my master’s thesis on the way. At least now I know what I am writing about. And I want to share, because even if the about section here says that this is a blog about computational creativity, among other things, I haven’t said a word about it so far.

Let’s say that computational creativity is a subfield of artificial intelligence studies. As I see it, it is actually a combination of many different things: AI, psychology, algorithms, art, philosophy. It studies creativity in humans and attempts to make computers creative, or at least model some aspects of creativity. That’s it. You can imagine that the area of application is as vast as it gets: starting from art generation and ending in creative problem solving.

And of course it has strong ties with games. Computational creativity and games walk hand in hand, and benefit from each other. In fact, that old thing called procedural content generation (PCG) that gives us endless sets of levels, is an example of computational creativity in its infancy. The procedural systems are not being very creative as we understand it, but it is a start. One day computer software will be generating complete games, making its own creative decision and even participating in competitions. Oh, wait… it already does.

I am going to do some research on creative idea generation, particularly on how to generate ideas for games. Preferably interesting ideas, those you wouldn’t probably think about yourself. Oh, and they should make sense. And be connected to the providied theme or keywords. So basically I am going to dive into linguistic computational creativity and then try to make use of all sources like ConceptNet, WordNet, MetaphorMagnet and alike. We will see if anything cool will emerge from this.
Sadly, master’s thesis in computer science should be about reading and writing and then, maybe, just a little bit, about practical implementations. I am a practical person, all that scientific writing slightly upsets me, I would rather do things instead.

Okay, back to writing. I mean… blog posts don’t count as work, even if they are about the topic. Right?

Oct
10

What’s going on

I was silent for a while, but it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on. On the contrary. And a lot of that has something to do with games. Here is an update on what I am doing right now, game-wise.

One game a month – October

I participate in the One Game a Month movement. The idea is to make one finished game every month (duh). Last month was the first one for me, and I logged our Quantum Cat as the game of September. This time, I am doing a small game project in javascript + canvas. I took a very simple game from an online course as a base. Well, it is a pong game. But I added a twist.
I am learning a lot about game logic, simple 2d physics and collisions, game loops, asset uploading and so on – things that you generally don’t need to know if you use an engine, but they are nice to understand if you want to be a proper game developer.

Portal Tennis

Team project – Escape Puzzle

Three of us are making a new game. It is going to be one of those room escape puzzle games, where you need to look for things and solve puzzles in point and click manner. I am studying Godot game engine for this, because it is free, it looks nice, and it almost has working exporting to HTML5 (or so they say). And I love the way the documentation is written.
I think Unity3D is an overkill for a game like this, and it is generally not a good choice for a browser game. Plus learning new tools is fun.

logo_godot_boceto1

Thesis topic wanted

I decided that for my master’s thesis I will go with computational creativity (sub-field of AI studying how we can make computer programs more creative). And, of course, games. This cross-over might include things like procedural content generation, advanced AI for games, game development smart assistant tools and so on. I am reading lots of scientific papers and trying to think of all cool things I can do during the next six months. Unfortunately I need to choose one.