IGGI students will be talking about their research throughout the 2 conference days. All talks, as well as the panel, will take place in the Lecture Theatre!
The Game and the Game. Why players look but don’t see
Wednesday, September 12th (13:15 - 13:35)
In China Mieville’s novel “The City and the City” two cities occupy the same physical space but the residents of each city have trained themselves not to see the other city or acknowledge its existence. The session describes a series of experiments on a simple self-paced game which show that players only see part of the game they’re playing and are effectively blind to the rest. Players only paid attention to elements of the game which were important to gameplay and ignored the rest. The more immersed they were in the game the stronger this effect. This has implications for game design, particularly in the areas of serious games, violent video games and player toxicity.
- See how the design of a game changes the elements that players focus on
- Find out how more immersive games focus players attention more strongly
- Discover how to test how much players remember from a game and how well their attention is held
User and Procedurally Generated Content to Increase Minority Representation in Games
Wednesday, September 12th (13:35 - 13:55)
Representation of minority groups in other media, such as film, has been found to be beneficial for the wellbeing of the represented groups as well as to increase tolerance towards these groups as a whole. However, minority representation in games has previously caused controversy and harassment of developers who chose to include it. This talk discusses the possibility and consequences of adaptive Procedural Content Generation and User Created Content to include representation for those gamers who wish to see it, while minimizing the impact this representation for those who might be “offended” by inclusivity.
- The various benefits of representation of minority groups in games
- The advantages and disadvantages of representation for developers
- How PCG could be used to create adaptive content that tailors to minority groups
- Why restricting this representation to those who choose to see it can be a bad idea
Sprinkling Magic in Game Design
Wednesday, September 12th (13:55 - 14:15)
For millennia, magicians have designed illusions that are perceived as real regardless of their impossibility, inducing a sense of wonder in their audiences. This talk peeps into how magicians have mastered – crafting believable and engaging illusions – and provides a window into the untapped wealth of design principles and techniques that game designers could benefit from. For this, the talk focuses on two key principles of magic, affording perceived causal relations where none exist, and forcing perceived-free choice as a teaser for designers to further look into the field of magic and beyond.
- Pique interest in magic priciples as tool for deisgn thinking
- Inspire people to look beyond games for game design ideas and techniques
- Give concrete ideas and examples of how magic can be used in game design
- Provide an example of how applying a lens on non game fields can retrieve principles, ideas and techniques
General Video Game Outcome Prediction
Wednesday, September 12th (15:10 - 15:30)
Pause the game you're playing, half-way through. Are you going to win? This turns into an even harder question for AI game players, as they often realise only at the end of the game how bad (or well!) they did. This talk showcases a general early game outcome prediction system for AI players, based only on their experience gathered while playing, opening the possibility of switching to a more successful approach. The system was tested in real time on a range of different games and the estimated applications are diverse, impacting both AI research and the games industry.
- Insight on general player performance analysis criteria
- How game outcome (win or lose) can be predicted with high accuracy based only on AI agent experience
- Game outcome prediction applications in general and specific games; in AI research (e.g. dynamic AI adjustment), as well as game development (e.g. balancing)
Using a Team of General AI Algorithms to Assist Game Design and Testing
Wednesday, September 12th (15:30 - 15:50)
This talk introduces a methodology to assist game design and testing and its possible applications in the industry. It proposes using a team of Artificial General Intelligence agents with differentiated goals (winning, exploring, collecting items, killing NPCs, etc) and skills levels. General AI provides a flexibility that could not be matched by any kind of specific methodology. Also, focusing on different objectives can provide a lot of information to detect anomalies, tweak the design or fix bugs. Two methods will be discussed to aid game design: 1) the evaluation of a game based on the expected performance in the behavior of each of the agents, and 2) the provision of visual information to analyze how the experience of the agents evolves during the play-through.
- What General AI is and which frameworks and algorithms are available.
- Approaches for automatic testing and AI-assisted game design.
- Learning about the proposed methodology that presents how a team of General AI algorithms could assist game design and testing. It includes an overview of the methodology, a description of its strengths, applications, limitations and possible extensions.
Autograff: A Procedural Model of Graffiti Form
Thursday, September 13th (12:30 - 12:50)
Graffiti art is an intrinsic feature that characterises cities across the globe and thus is an useful feature to take into account when designing realistic urban environments for video games and CGI movie scenes. Towards this goal, we present AutoGraff, a system that generates images that resemble real instances of this art form, while providing a flexible parametric interface to the user. In this talk, we demonstrate different use cases of the system ranging from the generation of procedural assets to the generation of natural looking animations embodying the graffiti production process.
- I will emphasise how a more realistic rendition of graffiti art can improve the realism of virtual environments.
- I will propose how taking into account the (human) artistic production process (e.g. body movement) has advantages for procedural modelling applications.
Live Programming for Game Development
Thursday, September 13th (12:50 - 13:10)
Live programming is about immediate feedback. Many game development tools make it possible to tweak a game while it is running. However, with more complex changes, these tools and their feedback cycles start to break down. This talk discusses the barriers that must be overcome to make live programming the default for the entire development process, and some ways that we might overcome these barriers.
- Understand live programming and its potential value to game development.
- Understand some of the difficulties in making it a reality.
- Learn about some approaches to tool and language design that may help to overcome these difficulties.
Believability Assessment in Racing Games
Thursday, September 13th (14:00 - 14:20)
A talk which focuses on how to assess believability in video games, specifically within the racing genre. It presents the results of a study which used Forza Motorsport 6 and Speed Dreams as testbeds. It was based on previous successful competitions such as the 2K BotPrize - which used the well known Unreal Tournament 2004 - and the Mario AI Competition. However, unlike these, it focuses on the assessment parameters of the questionnaires and how these affect the believability scores given by 110 participants. I welcome anyone from any background and expertise to join this presentation.
- Teaches what believability is in a video game context.
- Shows a novel approach to believability assessment.
- Shows frameworks for believability in characters.
- Features highlights of answers on believability from over 100 participants.
New And Surprising Ways to Be Mean: Intrinsically Motivated Adversarial NPCs
Thursday, September 13th (14:20 - 14:40)
Creating Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that can robustly react to unforeseen player behaviour or novel game content is difficult and time-consuming. Crucially, failure can impede the believability of characters and impact player experience. This talk demonstrates how intrinsic motivation can address this challenge to create highly robust and adaptive NPCs. Being intrinsically motivated, the NPCs do not rely on externally specified rewards or training samples. Following an introduction of the principle, the talk showcases the formalism employed in adversarial NPCs, allowing them to adapt to changes in their abilities and the game world, yielding new and surprising ways to be mean.
- Learn how models of intrinsic motivation can complement existing game AI techniques.
- Get an intuition on Coupled Empowerment Maximisation (CEM), a formalism to design robust companion or adversary NPCs.
- Get to know how CEM-driven NPCs perform in challenging scenarios, and how parameter tweaking can yield opportunists and supervillains.
Almost Humans in VR Games: Humanoids for Social Interaction
Thursday, September 13th (14:20 - 14:40)
This talk tackles the humanoid’s non-verbal behaviour in social interactions from Virtual Reality environments. It introduces the subtle cues from human to human conversations and how are these signals are transposed into Virtual Reality games. It covers aspects of people’s perception of conversations with humanoids in virtual words and how these experiences can become more natural by implementing subtle conversational cues.
- The attendee is introduced to general interaction cues that contributes to a natural conversation
- The attendee is introduced to current state of art in the area of social interactions in Virtual Reality
- The attendee learns how non-verbal cues influents immersion in VR games
Finding the Fun: Game Stream Highlight Detection Using Deep Learning
Thursday, September 13th (15:30 - 15:50)
This talk presents a methodology for detecting highlights in streamers playing video games using deep learning. With game streaming becoming a popular entertainment format this automatic detection allows for promotional highlight reels to be generated automatically. To do so, this method uses the game footage from the stream along with the social cues from the streamer to select interesting points in the stream.
- Understand Highlight Detection methods for studying gamers.
- Understand why studying both player and game allows us to detect a range of highlights.
- Learn how these techniques could be used in an industry setting.
Towards human-like artificial intelligence using StarCraft 2
Thursday, September 13th (15:50 - 16:10)
To improve how artificial intelligence research and the cognitive sciences can inform each other, we argue the StarCraft II Learning Environment is an ideal environment where humans and artificial agents can be tested on the same tasks. We present a study using this environment, where the goal is to investigate how RL can be extended to enable abstract human abilities such as moments of insight. We claim this is valuable for advancing our understanding of both artificial and natural intelligence, thereby leading to improved models of player behaviour and for general video game playing.
- See how StarCraft 2 is a great research environment for player modelling
- Gain new viewpoints on how to achieve human-like behaviour in games
- Gain insight on how biology based player modelling can lead to improved AI
Panel: How game design can impact social play
Wednesday, September 12th (17:00 - 17:40)
Gaming with other people is great fun, right? Digital multiplayer games are incredibly popular right now and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. Why is this? What is it actually like for the players? Why do some multiplayer games retain players and attract news ones and some don’t? What might cause toxicity in a game community? What does inclusivity and accessibility do to social experiences? What does Artifical Intelligence have to do with the social aspects of gaming? That’s a lot of questions. Come along to our panel discussion find out how game design might influence social gaming.
After the panel delegates will be able to:
- Give examples of positive and negative social play experiences
- Explain what could prevent new players joining existing gaming communities
- Explain how aritificial intelligence, accessibility and inclusive design features could impact multiplayer experiences
- Identify design considerations for positive social player experiences