Last week, I attended a two-day autumn school on serious games and contemporary artificial intelligence (AI), organised by SIKS. Several people presented their views on serious games, among which Joost van Ooijen (VSTEP) on multi-agent systems in serious games, Ivo Swartjes (Ranj) on narrative design, and Thomas de Groot (T-Xchange) on AI in board games. I also had the opportunity to present my thoughts on what is important for serious games.I addressed this by asserting that playing games is more than just abiding by their rules: the complete interaction with the system is important for the experience. You can find my slides directly below.
For the contemporary AI part, all participants of the school had to implement an AI for characters playing a modification of Neverwinter Nights, a computer role playing game. Included with this game is a toolkit that lets people design their own maps and play modes and, under guidance of Pieter Spronck from the University of Tilburg and the University of Maastricht, we made AIs that played against each other in a ‘domination’ game mode (see here for the map it was based on). My team opted to implement a fairly simple strategy, as opposed to other teams who opted for more complex approaches. Nonetheless, this resulted in our reaching 2nd place (out of 4). That was an obvious, but welcome, lesson.