Ludic Computing is the study of the design, construction and evaluation of computer systems for play. Computers support a huge range of playful and creative activities: from video games and interactive art, to tools for creative expression and playful exploration; as artificial players of games, and as creators in their own right. It is a highly interdisciplinary area with links to many other fields, including Graphics, Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence.
This module covers a range of topics in Ludic Computing, concentrating on three main themes:
The following books are not required reading, but provide additional context to the course:
This lecture course is available for third year undergraduates and MSc. (Computing Science/Specialism) students. The lectures for this course are at 4pm and 5pm on Thursday in room 311. There will be one tutorial per week, at 2pm on Friday in room 145.
We will put the final lecture notes for the lectures here on the Monday before the lectures. We have decided not to hand out printed copies of the notes - so please print your own copies if you so wish.
We may examine you on material from the following papers:
Lazarro (2004) Why we play games: Four keys to more emotion without story PDF
Brown & Cairns (2004) A Grounded Investigation of Game Immersion PDF
Costikyan (2002) I Have No Words & I Must Design:Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games PDF
Evolutionary Design: evolutionary search, coding, parameter vs. program evolution, fitness functions, elitism, truncation, fitness proportionate selection, tournament selection, intermediate populations, one and two point crossover, tree crossover, parameter and program mutation, evolving buildings, evolving shape grammars, the Avera system
Shape Grammars: context free grammars, random generation, shape grammars, the CFDG language, visual arts applications
L-Systems: L-systems, the LSystem language, vegetation/terrain modelling, city generation (CityEngine, Subversion)
Image Filtering: transforms (median, threshold, lookup, convolution), compositors (arithmetic, extremal, binary), filter trees
Non-Photorealistic Rendering: brush paths, simulating natural media, image segmentation, boundary smoothing, active contours, bezier curves, rendering colour regions, painting interfaces
Computational Creativity: definitions and aims, artefact generation (evolutionary programming, case-based methods, conceptual blending), creative methodologies (analogical reasoning, combining systems, creative responsibility), assessing creativity, artefacts vs. process, Ritchie’s measures, The Wundt curve
Steering Behaviours: reactive vs. planned movement, the steered agent model, seek/flee, arrive, pursue/evade, modes and blends, weighted and prioritised blends, emergent behaviour, flocking
Pathfinding: pathfinding queries, navigation graphs, A* for pathfinding, cluster heuristic, HPA*, A* variations, resource limitations, pre-computed paths, division schemes, tiles, waypoints, navigation meshes, path smoothing
Behaviour Trees: FSM-driven behaviour, behaviour trees (conditions, actions, selectors, sequences, decorators), concurrency, semaphore guards, behaviour blackboards, reuse, limitations
Adaptive Games: action prediction, N-grams, hierarchical N-grams, Q-learning, dynamic difficulty adjustment, adaptive pacing, adaptive content
Monte Carlo Tree Search: The basic MCTS algorithm, MCTS and UCT, strengths and drawbacks, game-specific and game-independent enhancements, open research topics
Interactive Play: conceptualising player experience, emotion (Norman, Lazzaro), pleasure (Tiger, LeBlanc, Koster), immersion, the immersive fallacy, flow
Designing for Play: defining games (Suits, Costikyan), gameplay, meaningful play, story vs. intention, benefits design, MDA design, measures of experience, CEGE model
Social Networks: social games, Milgram’s small world experiment, social networks, centrality, structural properties, random networks, small world networks, scale free networks, growth and diffusion, ludic applications
The course will be assessed by an exam and a single coursework.
The deadline for the coursework is Thursday 8th March, 2012.
Coursework description: pdf
Coursework sketchbook: zip
Slides on general feedback: pdf. Any reports not collected in the lecture have been returned to the teaching office - please pick them up from there.
Previous MEng. tests are not available - students should see the old summer exam papers for guidance. The MEng test will have one question, to be completed in 50 minutes (there are no optional questions on the paper).
Please contact Alison Pease: apease AT doc.ic.ac.uk if you have any questions. It would help if you put Ludic Computing in the title of your email.