Looking for Love on Pandora - A VideoBrains Talk
Hey gang,

So here's a video that's not part of AI and Games itself but most certainly related to it: a talk I gave at the November 2016 VideoBrains.  

VideoBrains is a patreon-funded event (URL at the bottom of this post) that runs in London every month where a bunch of folk from across gaming - ranging from developers to journalists, students to lecturers - can pitch talks discussing games in an intelligent way.

And then they let me tag along...

I've funded VideoBrains since its inception as I loved the idea of it and have watched the videos for some time now.  And it wound up that I met Jake Tucker - who is one of the brains behind VideoBrains - through a mutual friend at the Wild Rumpus back in September last year.  Jake, who had heard of me through Twitter and (several) mutual friends told me to submit a pitch.  

So after actually getting to attend a VideoBrains, given I now live within an hour from London (which is in truth closer to 2 hours depending where in London you're going) and really enjoying the evening, I figured I'd give it a shot and the VideoBrains team accepted my pitch.

The talk I presented is about audiences interactions with procedural content generation and really how Borderlands 2 is one of the best examples of meshing a PCG system with the expectations of its players.  It actually started out as a talk about No Man's Sky given the reaction it had received from players.  This was something that was eating at my for a while, but then I wound up watching Mike Cook's video from EGX 2016 Rezzed sessions about PCG in games, followed by attending PROCJAM at the University of Falmouth that my thoughts on this topic really began to take form.   The issue wasn't about the marketing (even though it is) or the players (but yeah that too), it's about expectations of what PCG delivers based on how that system is integrated into the core game loop.  That's when things began to take shape and I plan to actually write an academic paper on this when time permits.  

Naturally, it's delivered in my typical idiosyncratic fashion (anyone who was taught by me can attest to this).   I had a lot of fun doing this and it was a real pleasure to be invited to do so.

Be sure not just to watch my video, but the other talks by Alice Bell, Ed Smith, Aubrey Hesslegren, Natalie Clayton and Ed Fenning.  The November theme was 'Running With Guns' and we all approach that topic in completely different ways, ranging from poignant to outright hilarious.


P.S. From one patreon funded show to another, be sure to check out their patreon campaign if you haven't done so at


P.P.S. A special thanks to my buddies Mike Cook, Mark Nelson and Mark Johnson whose input (even indirectly) was quite influential on the final talk.

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