Game Engines as Technologies and Medium of Metacreation

Project: Research

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This research is interested in the current creative practices of production in video games.More specifically, our research focuses on the professionalized aesthetic strategiessurrounding the use of game engines, a toolkit that offers a set of functionalities toautomatize the handling of a range of process (graphics, sound, physics, networks,artificial Intelligence) during the production of video games. The specificities of videogame engines as creative tools inform current artistic and aesthetic strategies in therealm of professionalized production of interactive entertainment.What defines video games as an interactive medium? This question has been addressedby numerous researchers in the field of game studies and new media studies (Galloway,2006). Studying video games as finished products used to be the privileged approach invideo game studies. It amounts to focus on the specific form of interactive narrativesfound in video games (Ryan, 2006) or on the ludic qualities of video games (Aarseth,2001). Some researchers are also interested in the practices of reappropriation of videogames by the players, including the reconfiguration of game levels or game charactersthrough the manipulation of the game engine (Kirkpatrick, 2013; Sotamaa, 2003).We contend that the definition of the video game as a medium is strongly informed bythe specificities of the game engines used by game developers to produce them. Aware ofthe latest developments in software and interface studies that seek to overcome thetraditional definition of interface as neutral mediations (Andersen & Pold, 2011), theoriginality of our approach, is to address the question of the specificity of video gamesthrough the study of their technological conditions of possibility (game engines) rather2/46Page 3ECS1RGC Ref No.21605315than through the study of video game as an end product. Our focus on the aestheticstrategies developed along the use of game engines invites us to go beyond aninstrumental definition of game engines and to take into account their expressivepotentialities. Through the study of game engines and the differentiated artistic andaesthetic strategies attached to them, this project asks: 1/what kind of software andinterface game engines used in professionalized video game production are? 2/ what arethe diverse aesthetic strategies developed to tap the expressive potential of gameengines? 3/ How the professionalized aesthetic strategies developed around gameengines are reconfigured by the contemporary evolution of game engines.


Project number9048054
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/1629/06/20

    Research areas

  • video game engines,artistic tools,creative practices,video game industries,