Gamika is a generative casual creator app for digital fascinators: minigames designed to hold the user’s attention for a few minutes at a time. Gamika will give iPhone and iPad users the chance to enjoy fascinators designed by us and by the community, as well as the tools to design their own fascinators and share them with the world. Gamika will also include a computational creativity agent to act as a collaborator, inspiring and/or challenging the user’s own creativity.
We are developing Gamika as a platform for exploring the following research questions:
- What is the difference between a static artwork, an animation, an interactive artwork, a toy, a game level, and a game? Are these distinct categories, or do they exist as a continuum?
- For a given game concept, what is the landscape of games around it? Does it merely contain pastiches and clones, or does it contain genuinely new and surprising games? If the former, can the addition of more degrees of freedom steer us towards the latter?
- Can we democratize game design? How can we enable anyone to design their own games, without requiring them to learn how to program?
- If the secondary system is interacting with the software in the same way as a human would, is the software creative? There is joy in watching someone create something — will people derive similar joy from watching the computer create?
We are also developing Gamika as a commercial product, with the aim of generating income to fund further research. Gamika fills a distinct gap in the market: there are very few game design tools which do not require (or aim to teach) programming skills, and almost no game design tools which run natively on mobile devices.
The first product based on Gamika will be called No Second Chance, and explores a specific genre of mobile games. It is due for release on the iOS App Store in early 2017, with regular updates thereafter.