September 1, 2018

Procedurally Generated Game: DATA Agent game released

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Not a Completely Randomly Generated Game

DATA Agent, the game entirely generated on Wikipedia data and OpenStreetMap, has been released on and is playable both online and via download for both Windows and Mac. Its basis in real life data allows for the game to be procedurally generated vs randomly generated from an algorithm. DATA Agent has been designed and developed in a collaboration between IDG staff member Antonios Liapis and the NYU Game innovation Lab members Gabriella A.B. Barros, Michael Green and Julian Togelius.

Data Games: Moving Beyond Bar Chart Games

DATA Agent is a game which takes advantage of information on open data repositories and transforms it into an adventure game. In this game, the player is an agent of the Detective Agency of Time Anomalies (DATA) tasked with solving a bizarre mystery. An assassin has traveled back in time and killed a famous person, masquerading as another famous person somehow related to the victim. Since the assassin does not know everything about the person they impersonate, the DATA Agent must find in a lineup of suspects which one does not have all their facts right. The correct facts about the suspects can be found by talking to other people in different cities. Finding the suspects themselves is no easy task either: the agent must talk to other people, read books and break into dark and locked places.

The game has been presented in a number of academic papers, namely "DATA Agent" (presented at FDG 2018) and "Data-driven Design: A Case for Maximalist Game Design" (presented at ICCC 2018).

Procedural Generation in Game Design is a Focal Point of our Research

The Institute of Digital Games – University of Malta focusses on procedural content generation in its research, in fact in 2017 our first PhD graduate, Dr. Phil Lopes, researched the possibilities of procedurally generated games as regards sound and developed a tool named Sonancia to procedural generate sound in a horror game. Ph.D. student Daniele Gravina is looking into procedurally generating balanced weapons with surprising characteristics. These will be used in Unreal Tournament III: an arena FPS focusing on head-to-head deathmatches. Ph.D. student Daniel Karavolos is working on an neural network that can predict the outcome of matches on the basis of the level design, which ultimately could be used to procedurally generate balanced levels. He has also presented this research at FDG in 2017.

The Institute of Digital Games - University of Malta was ranked among the top 25 post-graduate game design programs by the Princeton Review in 2017 and 2018 and is proud to continue publishing impactful research in areas related to game design and artificial intelligence.