Tanya Krzywinska is Professor of Digital Games, Director of the Games Academy at Falmouth University, and co-director of The MetaMakers Institute. She is also editor of the journal Games and Culture. Her main research interest is in game aesthetics and design. She undertakes research into games from a philosophical, cultural and arts-based perspective. She has written extensively on the way in which games remediate and adapt existing art forms, as well as on what games offer uniquely as an art form in their own right. She is an artist and her current work is mainly in the area of augmented transmedial content creation.

Rob SaundersRob Saunders is Associate Professor in Computational Creativity and co-director of The MetaMakers Institute. Rob’s research centres around creative application of computing and the computational modelling of creativity. Using techniques from machine learning, robotics and video games he has explored the role of curiosity in creative design processes and developed computational models of creative systems at individual, social and cultural levels. His models of curious design agents have demonstrated useful abilities for autonomous design systems, including problem-finding and open-ended exploration. His models of social creativity exhibit emergent dynamics including clique formation, fashion cycles and the evolution of design specific languages. Rob works with artists and designers across a range of disciplines to support and engage in the creative application of computing and has applied his research in the development of design customisation systems, smart environments, online learning systems and robotic artworks.

Research Fellows

Joan Casas-Roma is a Research Fellow in The MetaMakers Institute. He holds a PhD in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya on the analysis of the dynamic mechanisms involved in the creation of imaginary worlds, both from a philosophical and a formal perspective. Prior to his PhD, he worked as a game designer and developer for mobile games, specifically focused on designing the core concept of new games, their rules and balancing, as well as the storyline and characters. He also worked as a research assistant in topics including ontologies, description logics and the semantic web. He is interested in artificial intelligence, ethics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, logics and video games. When he’s not philosophically rambling, he also composes original music for theatre plays, short movies and video games, and acts in different theatre projects.

Swen E. GaudlSwen E. Gaudl is a Research Fellow in The MetaMakers Institute. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Bath, on the subject of advancing the development tools and approaches for creating better character AI for digital games. Previously, he worked for three years as a researcher and project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology, Germany. During this time, he was responsible for software development, project management and project acquisition. His main work during this period was in areas related to digital games and software development and software design. Swen’s main interests are to broaden the available knowledge on the understanding and replication of human behaviour and agent design with the aim to create something applicable beyond the confined academic space. He is interested in evolutionary and genetic algorithms and rule-based systems, as well as software engineering, data-mining and cognitive research. His skills are not just restricted to technical skills such as programming in Java/C#/Prolog/Python/Cpp and project management. He also enjoys working in interdisciplinary teams, and he is always interested in new concepts which could benefit the creative expression of authors and how to enrich their design/toolset.

Petra Gemeinboeck is Senior Research Fellow at The MetaMakers Institute. She is an artist and researcher, working across creative robotics, performance and feminist theory. In her current creative research, Petra collaborates with AI researchers to develop robotic works that explore our entanglements with machines and make tangible the vulnerabilities and politics involved. She currently leads a funded research project, which investigates the potential of movement, and dance in particular, for reimagining how machines look, learn and affect us. Other recent works include Accomplice (2013-present), which investigates the co-evolution of humans and machines by deploying autonomous robots embedded into the architectural fabric of a gallery. Previously, Petra has developed interactive installations, locative media works and virtual environments that engaged participants in scenarios of encounter, provoking them to negotiate with a machinic co-performer. Her works have been exhibited internationally, including at the Ars Electronica Festival, AT, International Triennial of New Media Art at NAMOC, Beijing; Centre des Arts Enghien at Paris; Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool, UK; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, AU; ICC Tokyo; and MCA Chicago, IL. She has published widely on issues of interactivity and machine agency.

Edwige Lelievre is Research Fellow at The MetaMakers Institute. She is a game researcher specializing in video games for cultural and natural heritage valorisation. At the MetaMakers Institute, she is working on a natural heritage video game using procedural generation focusing on showing the relationship between human and nature. She holds a PhD in Digital Arts from the University Paris 8. She is detached at Falmouth University from her Associate Professor position at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines where she has been appointed in 2013. Her main research project there was the online video game OFabulis, created in partnership with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (equivalent to English Heritage for France), valorising 19 monuments including Mont-Saint-Michel and Panthéon.

Mark NelsonMark J. Nelson is Senior Research Fellow in The MetaMakers Institute. He is an artificial intelligence researcher specializing in automated videogame design and procedural content generation. His work aims especially at supporting player and designer creativity by intermixing their choices with intelligent computational methods, allowing people to visualize, understand, and sculpt generative design spaces through the help of software and interfaces that smooth over the messy details. Other interests include understanding the scaling properties of game-play algorithms and the challenge/strategy structure of single-player games. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Falmouth University, he was at the IT University of Copenhagen (2011-2015, Assistant Professor), where among other things he co-wrote the first textbook on procedural content generation in games.

Edward Powley is Associate Professor in the Games Academy. His research interests are centred on artificial intelligence for games, particularly on developing general-purpose AI methods which can play a wide variety of games. He is also an independent game developer, with particular interest in the emergent gameplay possibilities of cutting-edge AI, procedural content generation and physics-based gameplay. Ed is investigating the use of AI agents as playtesters and assistants in automated game design systems, and using his game development expertise to bring the Institute’s research to market and into the hands of the general public. Despite being a lecturer on Falmouth University’s BSc. Computing for Games course, he is working towards a future where anyone can create games without writing a single line of code.


staff-peter-iveyPete Ivey is a software engineer at The MetaMakers Institute. A 20 year veteran of the games industry, with an extensive background in cross-platform game engine development, real-time rendering, performance optimisation and content creation tools. He joins us after 8 years as Lead Render Engineer at Disney Interactive, where he worked on the Disney Infinity 1, 2 and 3, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 game titles. Prior to that, you would have found him working in various game technology groups at studios such as Black Rock, Electronic Arts and Microsoft Games. A compulsive optimisation junky who enjoys the simple things in life. Now at MetaMakers, he looks forward to applying those skills to an exciting new set of problems and help empower others to create.

Blanca Pérez Ferrer is a cultural mediator for the Games Academy. She has a background in the history of art, having worked at international organisations such as UNESCO and several museums and art institutions in Paris ; Museé Cernuschi, Museé du quai Branly. She studied at the Ecole du Louvre. Her interests involve studying digital games as an art form, presenting the richness and artistic value of games to the general public, and investigating the overlap between games and other art forms by translating academic research into practical mediation projects. She has wide experience of event planning and coordination, curating contemporary art exhibitions, designing and executing educational projects.

Tim Phillips is a game designer and researcher best known for his work on the campaign game CorbynRun which went viral before the 2017 general election. He has also worked on numerous independent projects including the augmented reality game Invisible Garden, co created with Rosa Carbo-Mascarell, which exhibited at Somerset House’s Now Play This 2017 and was featured in the Guardian’s “13 games that will change the way you think about gaming”. Academically, Tim is interestested in game formalisms, grammar, and design methodologies, he also has a keen interest in psychology, religion, myth, and philosophy. Tim holds an MA with distinction in Video Games Theory And Design from Brunel University and a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Kent. Having joined Falmouth University’s MetaMakers Institute in 2018, Tim hopes to do his part in pushing the boundaries of games as a medium.

Giovanni Rubino is a game designer for the MetaMakers Institute. He’s been working as an indie game developer with a focus on disruptive, experimental interactive art. His games have been selected for MyGEOSS, Call for Innovative Apps, Tranzfuser, Game Happens, and shortlisted for the Tribeca New Media Found and Jennifer Ann Game Design competition. He holds a MA in Digital Games Theory and Design from Brunel University. He has also worked as a screenwriter, narrative designer and experimented with VR filmmaking, with his films and screenplays presented in a number of international film festivals.

Heidi Ball Selfie 2016b Heidi Ball is the Senior Administrator for the Games Academy. With over fifteen years of experience in providing administrative support, the last five years of which have been for Falmouth University. Heidi has a BSc (Hons) Industrial Management from Nottingham Trent University and an MA Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University.  As well as having a great perspective on the needs and challenges of the Academic Department here, her Masters qualification also provides her with an insight from the student and research perspective as well.  She is also a practising illustrator with a freelance business and a keen interest in dystopian storytelling.


Former members

simoncoltonSimon Colton was ERA Chair in Digital Games Technology and director of The MetaMakers Institute from 2014 to 2018. He is now Professor at Queen Mary University of London and Monash University.

Michael Cook was Senior Research Fellow in The MetaMakers Institute from 2016 to 2018. He is now RAEng Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

Erik Geelhoed was formerly a research fellow in The MetaMakers Institute, with expertise in user research and experimental psychology. He continues as a research fellow at Falmouth University, now within AMATA.