Research blog about the expressive use of digital media (more research categories in the blue menu).
Procedural Authorship: Playing Beowulf research

Procedural Creation

The Playing Beowulf project is about procedural literacy and it involves the development of an educational game authoring software. My work on it focused on the methodology, tools and user interface for procedural authorship – my activities included design, research and development, workshop tutoring and academic output.

This project is based on the London Knowledge Lab (Institute of Education UCL), where I developed part of my Split-PhD research.


Computers and Code in the Media tweets

Below is a selection of my tweets on or about what I consider to be confusions, misunderstandings and blunders, both in the media and popular culture, about topics related to my research (such as – but not limited to – technology, coding, games, AI, procedurality, language etc.).

Links may be either directly to said confusing content or to a related commentary/post on them. Enjoy!


Hour of Code education

Hour of Code (Code.org)
[Versão em português ainda não disponível para este post.]

Hour of Code is an initiative of Code.org, an organization dedicated to make computer science and programming more accessible for young students (or really anyone wanting to learn to code).1

Procedural literacy is a relevant topic in my research, which is about procedural expressiveness. I’ve been meaning to do an “Hour of Code” since it first came out, a couple of years ago. The recent release of a course based on the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens seemed like a good opportunity for that.2

  1. The project has the support of names such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Barack Obama (as well as, according to their website, many “celebrities”). Often they bring in partners such as Disney, Rovio (Angry Birds) and Mojang (Minecraft) for customized lessons in order to attract the younger audience.
  2. I should also mention that, although Code.org is about coding in general, this course (as many others) is focused on game programming. This is understandable, since games involve a very complete set of concepts from graphics and sound to logic and interaction. Also, this is a much more interesting topic for kids.

Unity tool


Unity is a cross-platform engine and authoring tool, most popularly used in games. It is being used to develop the new version of MissionMaker, which is itself a game authoring software, part of the Playing Beowulf project. Last year I worked on this project as part of my PhD at the London Knowledge Lab.

In this post I will briefly introduce Unity and present some of my own experiments with the engine.

Note: posts about Playing Beowulf, MissionMaker 2 and my research.


The Career of Harold Cohen talk

[Tradução em português não disponível para este post.]

Harold Cohen‘s speech for his Lifetime Achievement award at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 is a great opportunity to learn about his amazing career as an artist and researcher in computational art (video above).

Read the full post for selected quotes, images and commentary.


Digital Works at FILE 2015 exhibit

FILE 2015

I participated in the FILE 2015 (International Electronic Language Festival) exhibit with two works: Learn, an experiment in artificial learning, and Join Us, an “interactive cover art”.

Exhibit held in São Paulo, Brasil, in June/July 2015 (program).
Posts on previous editions: 2009, 2011 (in Portuguese) and 2013.


Words About Games research

Palavras Sobre Jogos

Rob Sherman is a writer, designer of interactive fiction games and currently writer-in-residence at the British Library. He believes that the full expressive potential for games is yet to be explored.1

In this post I present some of Sherman’s ideas, and comment on them. I also reflect on the fundamental differences between his views and my own research.

  1. Interactive fiction (IF) is a game (or narrative) genre, based mostly on text.

TIME Actually Gets Last of Us Analysis

[Versão em português ainda não disponível para este post.]

TIME did an interesting piece in which war photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson was “sent into” the action/adventure videogame The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013). KillScreen commented on this with an article titled What Time Got Wrong About The Last of Us, in which said publication is accused of procedural illiteracy – in other words, of not understanding how digital media works.

I agree. But I don’t think the creators of The Last of Us – and most game developers – understands it much either.

Read more about my research on the expressive use of digital media here.


Creative Coding: Comercial Applications cases

The following is a selection of practical examples of interesting projects and products related to creative/expressive coding (topic of PhD research). The idea here is to shift the focus from artistic, expressive or experimental projects, which I usually deal with in my studies, to the more comercial applications in the creative industry.


More Notes on Procedurality research

[Versão em português ainda não disponível para este post.]

WIRED published an article on procedural generation (procgen), as part of it’s fourth annual trends report “The WIRED World in 2016”. In this post I’ll comment on some parts of the article which I believe to be common misconceptions about the field of procgen.1

Read another post on procedurality here.

  1. This post is supposed to be a quick reply, so I didn’t do much in terms of formatting, adding links or references. If you have any corrections or comments, please contact me..

MissionMaker 2 tool

MissionMaker 2 (Unity)

MissionMaker is a game authoring tool that is part of Playing Beowulf, an educational project focused on procedural literacy, based on London Knowledge Lab (UCL IOE). I worked on the research and development team of this project as part of my PhD.


ProcJam 2015 blog

ProcJam 2015
I participated with two works in the Procedural Generation Jam 2015: Branco and Algorithmic Opera.


Neural Networks (Google Research) blog

Here is an amazing post at the Google Research blog about some very interesting work being done in Neural Networks and image interpretation/classification.

I selected some quotes below – but the post is worth a read (emphasis added).


Janet Murray’s 1998 TED Talk talk

[Versão em português ainda não disponível para este post.]

An interesting 1998 TED Talk by Janet Murray is now available online (here). For those who follow her work most of this is already known, but I think it is still worth it to check it out.

Here is Murray’s introduction to it from this post on her blog:

The folks at TED have kindly dug up for me my 1998 talk which I still stand behind and which predicts the future well, but is also still timely. It is longer than the current crop, and more spontaneous. It falls into 4 segments and it references other talks, some of which are on the TED website but most of which are not.


Computer Generated Poetry research

Nick Montfort (MIT) talks about computer generated poetry (or does he?) and shows some of his hypnotic work in this interesting Google Talk, titled Literary Generators and Computational Art (watch below).

Read full post below for excerpts from the talk and some of my own observations.


Chris Crawford research

Chris CrawfordChris Crawford

Chris Crawford is a game designer, but the importance of his ideas about the expressive potential of computation goes much beyond gaming.

Like Alan Kay and other researchers in the field, Crawford wants to show that the computer is capable of doing much more than simply simulating traditional media (the word processor essentially imitates the function of a typewriter, for example).