Digital Economy

Students at the Games Academy have access to industry-standard technologies, such as our motion capture studio.


Our aim is for the Digital Economy research centre to become a world-renowned hub focusing on video games as forms of art and culture and the advancement of games through Artificial Intelligence technologies. In particular, we see games as one of the most important cultural forms of the twenty-first century.

We undertake research which highlights the contribution that games make to culture and how they compare and contrast with other cultural forms such as film, literature, the visual and performing arts. 

We also have a strong technological focus within the centre, with expertise in various areas of Artificial Intelligence and game design. We are particularly interested in researching Computational Creativity, where software takes on certain creative responsibilities in art and science projects.With respect to games, this ranges from cutting-edge procedural content generation techniques, to the automatic generation of entire video games, and throws up a range of philosophical issues such as how to get software to be subjective and intentional.

We are working towards the democratisation of game design through advanced AI techniques which work as creative collaborators with people to bring down difficult barriers to the design of games. The MetaMakers Institute ( is a research group within the Centre for Digital Games.

Funded by EPSRC and European Commission research grants, we are building software prototypes which will be tested in scientific, artistic and commercial ways. In particular, we plan to commercialise our work in order to build a sustainable research fund directly from sales of our software and games to the public.

We are part of the Digital Creativity Next-Step Digital Economy Hub funded by the EPSRC (, and we work closely with partners at the University of York, Goldsmiths College and Cass Business School.

This hub is supported by more than 80 creative industry partners who have pledged time, expertise and funding to collaborative projects of benefit to creative industry firms.

We aim to work with games and other creative industry firms in Cornwall and across the country to drive forward technological solutions to the problems this sector faces.

Potential research areas

We would welcome PhD applications in areas which are in the scope of the Digital Economy. Such areas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Games Design
  • Game Studies
  • Games and Art
  • The cultural analysis of Games
  • Games as Fiction
  • Games and Transmediality/Adaptation
  • Games and Critical Theory
  • Practice-based Games research
  • The analysis of Game Media forms 

Aspects of automating game design. In particular, we are interested in modelling imaginative reasoning leading to ideas for games, and there is an opportunity to link with the EC-funded WHIM project ( which focuses on automating fictional ideation. 

AI techniques for automated game playing. Modern successes with Monte-Carlo Tree Search methods have led to AI opponents which can play certain games at human (and super-human) levels. However, there is much scope for using such techniques to build more fun/engaging players, or to play games with dynamic real-time aspects, and opportunities to study the application of new methods such as deep learning to such tasks. We are particularly interested in constructing automated game players to test automatically generated games, in order to increase the quality of the output. 

Democratisation of game design. We are interested in building tools which help people with little technological background to design games, particularly on hand-held devices. Such tools would necessarily require strong generative skills and would lead to questions of trust and collaboration in Computational Creativity research. We would like to extend this to study how tools can be built which help would-be game designers who are held back by physical disability.

Funding sources

We are funded by grants from the European Commission and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In particular, we hold an FP7 ERA Chair, project entitled GRO – Games Research Opportunities and Research Excellence in Falmouth, project number 621403 (€2.4m). We also hold an EPSRC Leadership Fellowship, project number EP/J004049 (£1m), and are part of the new EPSRC Digital Creativity Hub, project number EP/M023265 (£4m), which is joint with the University of York, Goldsmiths College and Cass Business School. In addition, we have recently won a £10k competition for "Telling Tales of Engagement", which we will be using on the ANGELINA project.

Contact us

If you like to find out more contact:

Professor Tanya Krzywinska
Professor of Digital Games

Professor Simon Colton
Professor of Digital Games Technology (ERA Chair)