November 6, 2018

Game Design Universities Represented at Athens Game Festival 2018

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The Institute of Digital Games (IDG) – University of Malta had a strong presence at the Athens Game Festival this year. Prof Georgios Yannakakis and Prof. Stefano Gualeni were invited to speak at the national video game event.

Prof. Yannakakis provided a workshop on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Games, which he has recently written a textbook on, appropriately titled: AI in Games. The workshop introduced the background and key techniques used before moving on to discuss ways to use AI for playing games, for generating content, and for modelling players and designers.

Prof. Yannakakis in the AI in Games workshop

Our other IDG representative Prof. Gualeni presented and examined videogame worlds as playspaces built with technologies of control and quantification, how their means-ends rationality pervades how they are made, understood, and valued as social objects.

Prof. Gualeni presenting Big Trouble in Little Cities

Masters in Game Design

The Athens Game Festival dedicated a chunk of its floor space to the Educational Institutions active in Digital Games. The Institute of Digital Games presented their Masters in Game Design together with a number of other Universities. The Festival was organised by the Secretariat General for Media and Communication of the Hellenic Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media. The Minister spoke briefly to the representatives of the Institute of Digital Games and was impressed by the research and education done in Malta.

Other education institutes that were present at the Festival included the National Technical University of Athens, SAE Institute, University of the Aegean, University of West Attica, amongst others.

University of Malta was an official partner of the Festival

Princeton Review Game Design

The Institute of Digital Games was ranked among the top 25 post-graduate game design programs by the Princeton Review in 2017 and 2018. We were invited to speak at the festival because our work is at the forefront of innovative games research. We explore games and play, uncovering new playful and generative possibilities in game design and technology. Our multidisciplinary academic team spans computer science, literature, game design, philosophy, media studies, and social sciences.

Game Design Degree: Looking to the future

The Festival itself was heavy on industry presence including speakers such Maciej Binkowski, Lead Designer of Dying Light, now with Artifex Mundi (and one-time Institute visitor), Alessandro Canossa, Senior User Researcher and Data Scientist at Massive Entertainment – A Ubisoft Studio, and Kari Koivistoinen, Senior Producer at MachineGames (Wolfenstein: Youngblood). However, it is clear that as the industry continues to professionalise and grow a game design degree can help students understand how they can contribute to the massive multi-disciplinary project that is making a game.

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