The mathematics of games

The gaming industry is expected to be worth over $100 billion in the next few years. From video games to mobile games; from board games to pen and paper games, there is a huge market for people with programming and mathematical skills to develop, design and refine games.

Dr. Dan Ashlock works with his students to employ evolutionary computation methods to generate game maps. Gaming enthusiasts will agree that it takes longer than we might like to get the next edition and adventure for a game out.  The design process is slow, in part because the work of many designers must be coordinated.  Ongoing work in the field of automatic content generation seeks to reduce the production time for games by developing automatic tools.

A level map is a map for a level of a game that includes desirable strategic and tactical features.  Research at the University of Guelph has developed a family of methods for automatically creating maps with particular properties using evolutionary algorithms.  The designer sets goals for the map and the population based algorithm returns a variety of different solutions for the designer to choose from and tweak.

Close-up view of gaming console

High school students interested in developing the mathematical and statistical skills to tackle a real world problem such as this should consider our Mathematical Science Major, with an Area of Emphasis in Computer Science.

Prospective graduate students interested in working with Dr. Ashlock should visit his website, or read more about Graduate Studies at Guelph.