Robin Hunicke



Computer Science Department

Northwestern University

1890 Maple Avenue, Suite 3000

Evanston, IL 60201



University of Chicago

1995                             B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, with honors


Northwestern University

2001                             M.S., Computer Science

2006, expected            Ph.D., Computer Science,  Advisor: Ian Horswill

Academic Experience

University of Chicago

1991-1995                     Undergraduate Assistant and Tutor, Ryerson Lab

1995 - 1998                   Research Assistant, Department of Computer Science


Northwestern University

1999 - 2003                   Research Assistant, Autonomous Mobile Robotics Group

2000 - 2004                   Research Assistant, Interactive Entertainment Group

Summer 2004               Research Assistant, Kellogg School of Management

Honors and Awards

2002                                      Graduate Fellow, Center for Art and Technology

2003                                       Scholarship, International Game Developers Assoc.

Projects, Systems and Designs


1995 – 1998      FindMeSystems                                                with Kris Hammond, et al.
Interface design and Knowledge Represenation for a series of web-based Information Retrieval and Case-Based Reasoning systems.

1999 – 2000      TheWhisper Space                                           with Kris Hammond, et al.

Design for an interactive museum installation based on the works and life of Edward Hopper. Visitors use voice queries to activate short “whispers” which reveal stories and information about the life and work of the artist.

1999 – 2000      The Portal                                        with Center for Arts and Technology
Interactive installation at the Block Gallery and Museum in Evanston, IL, designed and build in collaboration with faculty and students of the Center for Arts and Technology.

2002-Present     TheWheel                                                                        with Ian Horswill

Design for faction-based game set in prison, where character groups are defined by psychological and personality disorders. 

2002-Present     The Hamlet System                    with Ian Horswill and Vernell Chapman

Dissertation project. Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment system for first-person shooter HalfLife. Via inventory and control theory, the system estimates user performance, adjusting game difficulty at run time.


Workshops and Events


2000-2006         Instructor, Game Design Workshop,                                                        Game Developers Conference, San Jose.

2003-2006         Jammer, Annual Indie Game Jam, Oakland

2004-2006         Co-Organizer, Experimental Gameplay Workshop,                          Game Developers Conference, San Jose.

2002-2006         Co-Organizer, IGDA Academic Summits,                                          Game Developers Conference, San Jose and London

2004                 Co-Organizer, AAAI Workshop on Challenges in Game AI,     Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.


Academic Proceedings

Hunicke, R., 2005. “The Case for Dynamic Difficult Adjustment in Games.” Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference, Valencia, Spain.

Hunicke, R., Chapman, V. 2004. “AI for Dynamic Difficult Adjustment in Games.” Proceedings of the Challenges in Game AI Workshop, Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M., Zubek, R. 2004. “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research.” Proceedings of the Challenges in Game AI Workshop, Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Khoo, A., Hunicke, R., et al, 2002.  FlexBot, Groo, Patton and Hamlet: Research using Computer Games as a Platform. Technical content paper for Intelligent Systems Demonstration, Proceedings of the Eighteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.



AI Section Editor: DeLoura, M and Pallister, K. Eds, Game Programming Gems 5. Boston: Charles River, 2005 (Forthcoming).

Contributor: Newman, J and Simons, I., Eds., Difficult Questions About Videogames Nottingham: Suppose, 2004.


Trade Press

Hunicke, R. “Putting Your Game Development Education To Work: How to choose Coursework for Your Game Career.” Game Developer Magazine’s Annual Career Guide, Fall 2003.

Hunicke, R. “GDCE and the Academic Summit – Researching the Future of Games.” Game Face Magazine, (in translation). Berlin, January 2004.

Presentations and Demonstrations

“The Case For Dynamic Adjustment”. Games, Learning and Society Conference, Madison, 2005.

“Game Design Workshop” with Mark LeBlanc and Eric Zimmerman. Games, Learning and Society Conference, Madison, 2005.

“AI for Player Expression in World of Warcraft.” Presentation and panel discussion for "Speaking of Games: Studying Games Across Disciplines" with Eric Zimmerman, Rene Weber, McKenzie Wark, Richard Smith, Bart Simon and Rikke Magnussen, DIGRA Vancouver, 2005.

“Towards Relevant Research: Collaboration 101.” Presentation and panel discussion with Will Wright, Raph Koster, Mark DeLoura, and Michael VanLent. Game Developers Conference, 2004.

“Playing with Time in Games”.  Experimental Gameplay Workshop, Game Developers Conference, 2004.

Indie Game Jam Showcase.  Nebulae physical drawing  program demonstration,  Experimental Gameplay Workshop, Game Developers Conference, 2004.

“Babysitter AI”.  Game Design Workshop, Game Developers Conference, 2004.

IGDA Education Committee. Presentations and panel discussions, with Warren Spector, Doug Church, Eric Zimmerman and Jason Della Rocca. Game Developers Conference San Jose, Game Developers Conference Europe, SIGGRAPH. 2002-2004

“Consistent MMOGs – Tools and Techniques.” Panel discussion with Dan Schleris, Emma Westecott, Sebastian Berthelet and Cristina Cavalli. Imagina Festival, Monaco.  2004.


Curriculum Development

2001-Present     IGDA Game Development Curriculum         with Warren Spector et al.
The IGDA Game Development Curriculum serves as a guide for all those who want to implement, or improve upon, game development courses, programs and degrees.

2004-Present     Animate Arts Curriculum                                      with Ian Horswill et al.
The Animate Arts program teaches introductory programming in the context of electronic and interactive arts, using the Meta programming language.

Teaching Experience

Northwestern University

2000                 Introduction to Programming, CS 110

2001-2002         Art and Technology Colloquium, CAT 390

2002                 Computer Game Design, CS 370

Since 2003        Animate Arts, CS 396 / CAT 380