robin hunicke

Video games are boring when they are too easy, and frustrating when they are too hard. While most games allow players to adjust basic difficulty (easy, medium, hard, insane), their overall level of challenge is often static in the face of player input. This lack of flexibility can lead to mismatches between player ability or interest and overall gameplay.

My research explores the computational and design requirements for dynamic difficulty adjustment. It examines different techniques for representing and reasoning about uncertainty, to see how these approaches can be extended and combined to create flexible interactive experiences that adjust on the fly.

I'm also interested in how notions of fate, meaning and consequence can be communicated via video games. I believe that consequence is the key to expanding their narrative repertoire - for without consequence, actions have no weight and choices can do little more than satisfy our basest instincts and curiosities.


In my industry-related work, I strive to learn as much as possible about the process of designing, implementing, and marketing games - so that my academic research is tempered by a concrete understanding of the realities of game development.