2015 Publications

Sebastian Risi, Joel Lehman, David B. D’Ambrosio, Ryan Hall, and Kenneth O. Stanley (2015)
Petalz: Search-based Procedural Content Generation for the Casual Gamer
In: IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2015 (9 pages).

The impact of game content on the player experience is potentially more critical in casual games than in competitive games because of the diminished role of strategic or tactical diversions. Interestingly, until now procedural content generation (PCG) has nevertheless been investigated almost exclusively in the context of competitive, skills-based gaming. This paper therefore opens a new direction for PCG by placing it at the center of an entirely casual flower-breeding game platform called Petalz. That way, the behavior of players and their reactions to different game mechanics in a casual environment driven by PCG can be investigated. In particular, players in Petalz can (1) trade their discoveries in a global marketplace, (2) respond to an incentive system that awards diversity, and (3) generate real-world three-dimensional replicas of their evolved flowers. With over 1,900 registered online users and 38,646 unique evolved flowers, Petalz showcases the potential for PCG to enable these kinds of casual game mechanics, thus paving the way for continued innovation with PCG in casual gaming.