Formalizing Non-Formalism: Breaking the Rules of Automated Game Design

Michael Cook, Gillian Smith. Formalizing Non-Formalism: Breaking the Rules of Automated Game Design. Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015). Monterey, CA, June 22-25, 2015. Winner of Best Paper in Game Design track; nominations given to top 18.9% of papers in conference.


Automated game design (AGD) is an exciting new frontier for generative software and games research, one which intersects many areas of AI as well as cutting across the many creative domains involved in developing a game. However, there is a trend throughout existing automated game design work to concentrate primarily on the rules that underpin a game–objectives, obstacles, and the notion of challenge. This paper examines this trend in automated game design, and argues that a broader understanding of games is needed. We examine the history of AGD to date, and consider this work in the context of game design theories and definitions. We discuss the term secret box to describe a class of game that does not fall into the purview of existing AGD approaches, and offer a design sketch of an AGD system we are building, ANGELINA 6, to begin to challenge these ideas.

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1 Response

  1. August 18, 2015

    […] you’re interested, a PDF of the paper can be found linked from Smith’s site. Don’t worry, it’s fairly accessible as it does not go into technical […]

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