Digital Leak


Digital Leak

Have you ever heard of game art?

If not, that is because I just made it up.

Introducing this project as a game can be confusing to a certain extent, but the consequent understanding of playfulness and interactive quality is helpful for the explanation. It is not a typical video game, but a simulation of the digital incubator, a virtual space for digital species to evolve.

The embedded artificial intelligence of these imaginary creatures allows them to learn from the experiences of interactions in the environment. This adaptive strategy gives them the potential to collaborate and for artificial society to emerge.

Digital Leak Responding is a design fiction built upon this digital incubator, narrating the possibility of the alternative society. As part of the fiction, the digital incubator has presented under the title for spectators to resonate and speculate, for curious minds to discover ideas about digital species, and reflective spirits to contemplate and to abstract.

Design Fiction

Design fiction is a medium to materialize thoughts and ideas of designers using visual materials in design products such as images and texts. Digital Leak Responding is a fictitious story distributed in different genres and dedicate to raise the awareness of alternative society.

As part of the fiction, this digital incubator is the battleground for agents representing different groups of interests to compete for their share of computational power of the central mind. For the current stage, one specific group has presented their agents in the incubator.

Individuals from this group are units. They are supposed to collect as much resources as possible and then deliver them to the base for converting consumable energies. It is quite a challenge since the environment is unpredictable and hostile. This unique world of uncertainty is generated through procedural constructing process. Therefore the creatures has to interact correspondingly with the surrounding which will shape their evolution.

Artificial Intelligence

Creatures in the incubator like units are conducted by the embedded artificial intelligence algorithms. The general algorithm in game design which I did not use is more compatible in terms of planing specific levels of difficulty for players. The deep reinforcement learning algorithms are more unpredictable, which is the quality I was looking for for these creatures. It also gives them the potential to collaborate and for a rudimentary society to emerge.
Emergent Tool Use from Multi-Agent Interaction

Unfortunately, I am still struggling with practical problems for developing advance artificial intelligence. The implementation was a significant progress for me with artistic background but the training process could’ve been improved for better results. Further more, access to powerful computational devices can definitely save these artificial dummies.

Purpose of the research

Creating this experimental game is under my intention to explore the potential of using interactive medium for expressional purpose. This incubator can be considered as an experimental game for people to relax and contemplate. Generally speaking, it is nothing more than a digital fish tank in a nutshell.

It also engages my intention to implement advance technologies alternatively, which is my reaction to reflect upon the intensifying monoculturalism in our lives. That is the reason I avoided the exploit addictive mechanisms in games and used the cutting edge deep reinforcement learning algorithm arbitrarily, comparing to other applications.

As part of my artistic research for the graduate study, the design fiction Digital Leak Responding is intended to raise the awareness of alternative societies. The research is also an exploration of generative arts, investigating the possibilities which are brought by computational driven artistic methods. Abstract shapes and forms help to reveal deeper connection between visual elements for the purpose and leverage the potential for creating unique visual styles. I’ll stop here since I’ve been talking enough about this topic in my thesis.
Generative Art, Storytelling and Society


The digital incubator is very close to the release. Currently, it can run in computers that satisfy the requirements for training neural networks in GPU. Alternatively, this tedious configuration can be saved by hosting a server for players.

Besides videos and screenshots, the currently access to the incubator is a twitch channel for hosting the live streaming occasionally. That means for now the project is simply a live screen saver like what my mum would’ve said.

What I’ve built is the framework of the project with the possibility for further content to be developed, such as the back stories, other groups of creatures and various interactions in between.