A student asked me today whether he could do research on videogames. The answer was a strong yes. Of course, all topics are valid ones. (Yes, you could even do research on porn, though it might be embarassing at times.)
I decided to have a look at what journals and conferences there are in Computer Science:
- Computers and Games is a workshop/conference held every two years. Some of the content seems to intersect machine learning and theoretical computer science. Next one will be held in 2008, I guess. Seems like the game of Go is still the big open problem out there. How boring is that? We claim that intelligent machine are around the corner, and we still can’t have a computer play a good game of Go?
- Network and System Support for Games seems to be an active workshop which stresses multiplayer and networked games.
- The International Journal of Intelligent Games & Simulation looks to be a dead journal (please correct me if I’m wrong!).
Overall, judging from the dedicated conferences and workshops, it does not sound like video games is a very good topic in Computer Science. Not something to really specialize in. Of course, I’m sure e-Learning, Machine Learning, Graphics, HCI, and TCS researchers do a lot of great research on video games, but few of them would describe themselves as “video game researchers”.
The key point is that the practionners are way ahead of academia on this one.
One paper I really liked while doing this research: Smart Moves: Intelligent Pathfinding.