My research focuses on Artificial Intelligence as an autonomous creator or as a facilitator of human creativity. His work includes computationally intelligent tools for game design, as well as computational creators that blend semantics, visuals, sound, plot and level structure to create horror games, adventure games and more. To accomplish co-creative software, I look at existing methods of computer-aided design and enhance them by making the computer more proactive, generating suggestions or increasing the level-of-detail of the user's creation. To accomplish that, content is generated procedurally either to maximize a quantifiable measure of game-specific (or level-specific, or artistic) aesthetics or to maximize the novelty of the content pool. Since most game content must fulfill a number of criteria regarding playability, balance and often quality, constrained optimization methods have been developed to allow for a more efficient exploration of a segmented search space containing both feasible and infeasible content. Beyond mixed-initiative tools, my academic interests include fully-automated procedural content generation, digital aesthetics, computational creativity and evolutionary computation. I have also been involved in designing and developing games for a variety of purposes and audiences.
The entries below provide some more insight into the different topics that my research tries to tackle. Each entry contains a short overview of the publications relevant to this line of research. An overview of all 101 publications can be found in list form here.
Divergent search targets unseen or unexpected solutions rather than maximizing an expressly stated objective. For the purposes of my research, I experiment with divergent search for open-ended game content generation as it can break designer fixations and create surprising content.16 entries
The player's emotional reactions to in-game events, generated content, or suggestions of a computational co-creator are paramount to the players' enjoyment of a game as well as to designers' creativity. I have looked into computational models of affect, such as frustration, tension and others.9 entries
Whether to construct predictive models of user behavior or player affect, to find mappings between game elements and their aesthetics, or to figure out the goals of a human co-creator, machine learning based on neural networks is a powerful tool for realizing artificial intelligence.13 entries
Artifical Intelligence is traditionally associated with controlling agents, such as robots. On the one hand, my research has introduced novel evolutionary methods for robot control (e.g. to ambulate or solve a maze). On the other hand, my work includes gameplaying agents that play games to win or to express idiosynchratic desires.13 entries
"Game aesthetics" is a broad and ambiguous term which encompasses believability, challenge, surprise, novelty, visual and aural appeal, interestingness, and more. Examining the "human" aspects of games from a computational perspective is of particular interest to my research.18 entries