About Us

About The Project

The EvolvingBehavior project is developed and run by a multi-disciplinary collaborative team of researchers at Northeastern University and the University of California Santa Cruz. The project focuses on developing a free, open, and practical tool for game designers to co-create NPC behavior within Unreal Engine.

Tools for game design are at the forefront of human-computer collaboration, requiring complex and human-focused communication. By combining the strengths of human creativity with computational processing power and attention to detail, co-creative tools can provide novel interfaces that meet these challenges. Working directly with game designers and developers, we are employing participatory design to build EvolvingBehavior, a co-creative tool that generates novel output with transparent and flexible human interaction, now available as a public prototype for Unreal Engine 4 developers to use freely in their projects.

The EvolvingBehavior project will illuminate new possibilities for human-computer collaboration with a novel, transparent, and practical approach to future tool development, providing both a tool for Unreal Engine 4 game developers and a set of general advances for computational co-creativity and transparent AI research. Its results will be presented both in academic communities, through papers published at peer-reviewed conferences, and in game development circles, through the open-source EvolvingBehavior plugin for Unreal Engine 4.


Nathan Partlan (NPCDev)

Nathan leads the implementation and research effort, both developing the tool and running user studies with game designers. He is a PhD student at Northeastern University, where he performs research on computationally co-creative tools for game NPC design and procedural content generation. Nathan worked as a professional gameplay programmer before returning to academia.

Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr

Dr. Seif El-Nasr is a professor of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz. Her research spans human-computer interaction, game user research, AI, and game design, drawing on her interdisciplinary background in computer science, theater, and game design. She advises on user studies for requirement gathering and testing.

Dr. Stacy Marsella

Dr. Marsella is a professor at Northeastern University, jointly appointed at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the Department of Psychology. His influential research in AI for virtual agents, human psychology and behavior modeling, and AI for health provides valuable insights to guide the development of AI tools for virtual character behavior.

Past Contributors

Erica Kleinman | Jim Howe | Luis Soto | Sarthak Shrivastava | Sabbir Ahmad | Muhammad Ali | Zheng Fang | Alex Grundwerg | Isha Srivastava