AI-designed Puzzle Platformer ‘A Puzzling Present’ Released

Michael Cook, a brainy type over at Imperial College’s Computational Creativity Group, has been researching and developing unique Artificial Intelligence systems for his PhD project. The culmination of his work is an ‘autonomous games designer’ known as Angelina, which is capable of unassisted creativity in game mechanics and level design.  A Puzzling Present is a playable fruit of these labours, and has just been released as a free download for PC and Android platforms.

A Puzzling Present is the product of Mechanic Miner, a new module for Angelina which allows for the creation of game mechanics without any human interference. In this case, Angelina produced a different platforming mechanic for each of the game’s three worlds, including a VVVVVV-style gravity-switching mechanic. The game in question isn’t all that remarkable – a fun but fairly limited 2D platformer with a festive theme. However, the fact it was developed by software as opposed to human creativity is truly mind-boggling, and is a development that could have huge and far-reaching implications.

Michael Cook’s project is wholly intriguing and impressive in its overall success so far, and A Puzzling Present is a worthwhile download just for a glimpse of what his technology is capable of. However, the long-term ramifications of projects like Michael’s may prove more controversial. Imagine a future in which technology like this is more advanced and readily available – do you embrace a world in which development is simplified for indies, or do you think artificial intelligence could destroy the handcrafted creativity of traditionally developed games? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

You can find out more about Michael’s project on the official Angelina website here. A Puzzling Present can be downloaded here in Windows, Mac, Linux and Android formats.


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