ANGELINA is an AI system developed to investigate how software can design videogames autonomously. Several versions of ANGELINA have been developers in different game engines and targeting different game genres, with the first beginning in 2011. Some of its earliest games are still available to play online – click here to play the arcade game Revenge, developed by the very first version of ANGELINA. Since 2011 ANGELINA has developed games for the New Scientist, released a game in the Android app store, had its work exhibited in the babycastles gallery in New York, and in 2013 became the first piece of software to enter a game jam.

Much of the research work around ANGELINA puts an emphasis on theme and message in games, and the different ways that a creative AI can express these through the way a game is desigend. An early version of ANGELINA built games based on news articles in The Guardian newspaper, finding pictures, music, sound and other assets that complimented the tone and content of the article. Below is a playthrough of a game called The Conservation Of Emily, created by ANGELINA in response to an article about a British MP and his links to illegal deforestation. Throughout the game you can see simple thematic content like photographs related to the article as well as images and sounds representing the themes and tone of the article.

A more recent theme for the project is investigating how different people respond to creative AI, and in particular to an artificial intelligence being inserted into a creative community. ANGELINA entered the popular game jam Ludum Dare in 2013, entering two games – To That Sect and Stretch Bouquet Point. The second game was submitted anonymously to explore how people responded to games that were publicly labelled as being from an AI, and ultimately we concluded that other jam entrants felt positively towards ANGELINA, rating its game higher than expected when they knew they were dealing with an AI. This work has also been influenced by the press coverage that ANGELINA has had, and being able to look at the spectrum of responses from developers, players, publishers, journalists, critics and academics. Understanding how these groups respond to creatively autonomous systems gives us a better understanding of how we can better integrate AI into our society in the future.

The current focus for ANGELINA is aimed at exploring the skills of the 3D designer, and looking at how lighting and architecture can be incorporated into an intelligent level generator, by considering the player’s vision during the design of the space. We’re also looking at other aspects of the game design process, such as mechanic invention, in smaller isolated projects. ANGELINA is currently broken into smaller strands, which we hope to pull together into a new version of ANGELINA in the future which is able to develop more sophisticated 3D games, and explore less commonly-considered game genres. For more information about ANGELINA, including links to more playable games, be sure to visit Games By ANGELINA.

What To Read Next

The ANGELINA Videogame Design System, Parts I and II [PDFPDF]
IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, 2016

Formalising Non-formalism: Breaking the Rules of Automated Game Design [PDF]
Foundations of Digital Games (FDG), 2015

Would You Look at That! Vision-Driven Procedural Level Design [PDF]
Experimental AI in Games (EXAG) at AIIDE, 2015