ProcJam 2015 blog

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

ProcJam is an event focused on metacreativity. It is not limited to games, or even to digital media – this year’s call for submissions asks for any “game/ nongame/ artgame/ thing/ tool/ toy/ experiment/ art piece with procedural generation in it”.

ProcJam website | ProcJam 2015 website and video

Let It Grow

Among this year’s talks, I particularly enjoyed Kate Compton’s “Let It Grow” presentation, since it resonates with my own research, which focuses on the creator (or artist) and the creative process itself.

Compton argues that it is problematic to have an Outside-In approach to game design, beginning with a procedural game/world idea, and only then deciding on how to implement it in a lower level. She proposes an Inside-Out approach instead, starting from the data structures and rules, experimenting and “growing them”, which would lead to the game idea.

I believe this ideas applies not only to games, but to any creative or artistic endeavor based on procedural strategies. As I argue in my own research, in order to fully embrace the procedural approach to creation, expression and meaning-making, it is necessary to think differently than an artist or creator would in a traditional language or medium, based on a static or linear logic.1

A writer or a painter, working in a traditional manner, for example, usually expects to have control over what their audience is going to experience, and often early on in the creative process they already have expectations for a specific outcome for their work. An artist creating based on procedural strategies, via programming and systems, on the other hand, seldom depends on specific outcomes in order to consider their creation successful.2

  1. Of course, I am only arguing for the particular situation in which an artist wants to fully embrace this particular medium. This is not necessarily always the case – writers and painters often use computers in their work, but are not interested in fully exploring the expressive potential of digital media.
  2. An intermediary situation would be artists working in traditional media, but adopting similar metacreative strategies, such as Action Painting or most manifestations of Conceptual Art. I elaborate on that in my research.

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