Prototyping games with BIPED

Adam M. Smith, Mark J. Nelson, Michael Mateas (2009). Prototyping games with BIPED. In Proceedings of the Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, pp. 193–194.


We demonstrate the use of BIPED, a system that explores a new approach to supporting the early stages of game design. Using BIPED, a game designer can leverage a single, concise game definition to get both a playable prototype and a formal rule system. In this way, BIPED's two legs give a designer access to insight: the first through feedback from human players (revealing player hesitation, engagement, or fun) and the second through automated analysis (revealing emergent properties, exploits and puzzle solutions). Our system focuses on board-game-like prototypes. On screen, human players manipulate individual tokens that are arranged on board spaces linked by paths. Using the mouse, they can trigger game events that interact with the designer-specified game mechanics. On the design side, designers have access to timers, allowing them to create interesting, real-time dynamics. In addition to play testing with human subjects, we support a form of machine play testing. Using only the game definition, our analysis engine is capable of imagining complete play traces showing a log of game state and events over time. To drill down on interesting scenarios, the designer may specify additional constraints and ask the engine to show only (and possibly all) traces that fit these constraints. Examples include: defeat happens at time seven, no more than six monsters are slain, and the player character always picks up treasures.

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