Save Santa, a game designed by Angelina. (Right) The win screen, after I beat the game. (via GamesByAngelina.org)
Angelina isn’t your everyday game designer (or programmer for that matter). She’s a little different in that she doesn’t need to eat, sleep or take the ‘required’ coffee breaks normal game developers do. You see she’s not human; she’s Artificial Intelligence (AI). While her games may be on the simplistic side, they are still impressive none the less.
Project ANGELINA was created by Michael Cook, from the Computational Creativity Group located at London’s Imperial College, for his PHD project to see if games could be created from nothing. This is where Angelina comes in; Michael designed her by using what’s called ‘cooperative coevolution’ (CC). CC essentially takes a big piece of information and breaks it down to smaller individual pieces (or species) which are then solved and put back into one piece. The project uses three ‘species’ that generate maps (or level layout), passable or impassable walls and ‘rulesets’ that dictate how NPC’s (Non Playable Characters) move as well as how objects behave in the game. Angelina can’t create games entirely from scratch as of yet. However, she (or it) can create a game level by first selecting the layout (or space) from a list and then populates that level with objects such as power-ups and enemies. This may sound rudimentary, but the AI actually takes into account the ‘human’ factor meaning that she plays the level against a simulated human opponent and decides if real humans would enjoy playing it.
Each level that Angelina creates is potentially different in its layout or design and becomes increasingly better through each level iteration that the AI designs. This is still an ongoing project so all we can do is wait to see how Angelina evolves over time to see what it’s actually capable of however you can play a few games already designed by Angelina from Michaels website located here: http://www.gamesbyangelina.org/games/