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A case study of expressively constrainable level design automation tools for a puzzle game

By Adam M. Smith, Erik Andersen, Michael Mateas and Zoran Popović


Some problems in procedural content generation for games involve hard constraints (e.g. that a generated puzzle is necessarily solvable). Common techniques for generator design lack a way to specify crisp (yes/no) constraints on what counts as a valid content artifact and guarantee these constraints are satisfied in the generator’s output. In this paper we present two independent implementations of three diverse level design automation tools for the popular online educational game Refraction. All of the systems guarantee key properties of their output. Applying a constraint-focused generator design perspective in depth, we found that even emergent aesthetic style properties were straightforward to directly control. Our results with Refraction provide further concrete evidence for the claim that the expressive power of constraints and the ease with which they can be incorporated into suitably designed generative processes makes them a powerful tool for producing reliably-controllable generators for game content

Topics: set programming
Year: 2012
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