Human-Computer Interaction

Project MABEL: siMulative & Agent-Based dEsign ecoLogies

This call for a thesis or project is open for the following modules:
If you are interested, please get in touch with the primary contact person listed below.


Vast virtual worlds are often procedurally generated as modelling all the required assets and arrangements is too time-consuming, or, in open world scenarios, not even possible. The simplest way to utilise algorithmic functionality is to merely reuse individual objects and scenes but the resulting worlds hardly show any variety. The next level requires the designer to flesh out templates on how assets can be arranged - a language for crafting complex worlds unfolds (L-Systems are the first choice of defining such languages in procedural contexts). Although such language definitions open up spaces of great variety, it remains a great challenge to render them context-sensitive and craft them in such a way that they can support a continued evolution of long-lasting, open virtual worlds. Simulative processes that dynamically change assets and their arrangements according to natural cycles of temperature fluctuations etc. can drive the evolution of a virtual world. These processes are complemented by agents that proactively adapt their environment according to their needs, e.g. by growing themselves into organisms, establishing pathways, setting up bridges, or building houses.

Assuming that we have a broad variety of world-building and changing processes and agent definitions available: Considering their vast differences in representation and deployment, how can a designer utilise them to create worlds in accordance to his/her liking? How can these processes and agents further be designed to yield long-lasting desirable effects? Would, e.g., fast-forward estimates provide for sufficient previewing insights or would one need to identify certain patterns in according design ecologies in order to ensure their sustainability and robustness?

Project Goals

In project MABEL, students are asked to identify their primary procedural focus such as climatic impact on natural materials, material transport by means of water, erosion, agents evolving into complex non-player characters, growing or crafting artefacts such as plants or other organisms, infrastructures, buildings, settlements, gardens or landscapes, etc. An according implementation should show its versatility in terms of deployment situations in 3D contexts as well as the variety of its emergent artefacts. Depending on the innovation, the methodological focus of the student’s work could shift towards (a) technology, e.g. to promote highly efficient computation or to integrate various preceding Project MABEL works, (b) theory, e.g. to analyse and optimise novel algorithmic concepts for instance in the context of multi-agent-based construction processes, (c) accessibility, e.g. to design and evaluate user interfaces and visualisations for changing artefacts considering different dimensions of time. Yet, any work in project MABEL should consider aspects (a) to (c) to a sufficient degree such that it can be evaluated in terms of scientific standards and subsequent works can build on top.

Contact Persons at the University Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Sebastian von Mammen (Primary Contact Person)
Games Engineering, Universität Würzburg

Legal Information