UNIVERSITY OF MALTA GAMES SHOWCASE


Game Playing AI for the Pandemic Board Game:

Pandemic is a well-known and commercially successful board game, designed by Matt Leacock and first-published by Z-Man Games in the United States, in 2008. Some of its unique characteristics lie in the very well-designed cooperative gameplay, adjustable level of challenge and high replayability value.

Konstantinos Sfikas, in his Masters Thesis “Game Playing AI for the Pandemic Board Game” (MSc in Digital Games, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta | Supervisor: Antonios Liapis), developed an AI agent that can play and beat the game by controlling all of the players and forming group-strategies. The purpose of developing this agent was to analyse the game’s complexity, from a computational perspective, as well as to examine the possibility of automatically generating variations of Pandemic or other, equally complex, games in the future.

The relevant presentation will include a brief overview of the AI methodology, as well as a short demo of how human players can play together with the AI.

Relevant publications:

  • Konstantinos Sfikas and Antonios Liapis: “Playing Against the Board: Rolling Horizon Evolutionary Algorithms Against Pandemic” in IEEE Transactions of Games, 2021
  • Konstantinos Sfikas and Antonios Liapis: “Collaborative Agent Gameplay in the Pandemic Board Game” in Proceedings of the Foundations of Digital Games Conference, 2020.
  • K. Sfikas, “Game playing ai for the pandemic board game,” Master’s thesis, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta, Malta, 2020.

J92

J92 was developed by a group of students, in the context of the “Game development” course (MSc in Digital Games, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta). 

It is a 3D platform game which combines puzzle and action elements with some novel mechanics that relate to shifting the point of view from side-ways to top-down and vice versa. The game’s setting is rather abstract with dark, but humorous, futuristic elements. 

Students’ team / credits: 
Harris Apartoglou: Level design
Andrea Falzon Garret: Game design, script writing, music / audio
Konstantinos Sfikas: Programming
Jean Paul Vella: 3D modelling, graphics

Supervisors:
Stefano Gualeni, Antonios Liapis


Closing Time

Closing Time was developed by a team of students during the Game Development course, in the scope of the MSc in Digital Games at the University of Malta.

Lovecraft meets M.C. Escher in this first-person psychological horror game where you explore a nightmarish gallery. The longer you linger, the deeper you descend into the uncanny valley, until the laws of physics finally betray you.

Credits:
Alexander Amato-Gauci – game design, programming, additional animation
Lara Caruana Montaldo – game design, programming, audio, animation
Aphrodite Theodora Andreou – game design, 2D art, 3D sculpting, additional audio
Eva Škerlj Prosen – team lead, game design, 2D art, 3D modelling, audio, animation, UI

Supervisor:
Stefano Gualeni

Materials:
Trailer
Game download

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