Our Games Academy students work in ways that mirror real games studios and work on projects collaboratively across courses, meaning they get an incredible insight into the games industry while they study. For one student, this multi-disciplinary working lead to the opportunity to present her cutting-edge research project at the Foundations of Digital Games Conference 2018 in Malmö, Sweden.
Maddie Kay, who graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Computing for Games last year, developed an interest in game AI and its effect on player behaviour during her studies. She focused her dissertation on visualising AI pathfinding, determining whether players explored a specific level differently once an enemy NPC's route can be seen.
Maddie worked with a student team from the Game Development BA(Hons) course called Bears Are O.P, on a first person Metroidvania game entitled Gates of Amenti. It served as a final year project for the Game Development students and simultaneously an AI testbed for Maddie's research.
Maddie explained: "I was the AI programmer for Gates of Amenti and I worked on the non-boss enemies, collecting the data for my research by observing their behaviour and the impact on player exploration. It was amazing to work in a team where everyone was so passionate and committed to developing our game."
Gates of Amenti was produced from scratch in Unity, with Bears Are O.P utilising the diverse range of facilities at Falmouth, catering to each of their specific disciplines. The artists had access to high-end drawing tables, the audio producers had state-of-the-art sound equipment at their disposal and the programmers used industry-standard software development tools.
After Maddie had completed her research, she submitted her final paper to the FDG conference for academic review and was selected to discuss her findings and their impact in front of the assembled scholars, game developers and other computing professionals at the event.
Maddie reflected: "It was an incredible experience to present my work and very interesting to see the variety and level of research occurring within the game industry. It was a fantastic opportunity and studying at Falmouth surrounded by world-class researchers, such as the MetaMakers Institute, really inspired me to go for it!"