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A video game description language (VGDL) - 0.1

A high-level video game description language (VGDL) built on top of pygame.

Tom Schaul

Our motivation is to make it easy to:

  • design new games that employ a variety of dynamics and strategies, in a simple language
  • automatically generate such games
  • use a collection of such games as benchmark for general AI approaches (possibly in competition format).

We decompose game descriptions into two parts:

  1. a high-level, human-readable description language, to specify the dynamics, which builds on
  2. an ontology of preprogrammed concepts for dynamics, interactions, control.

Programmers extend the possibilities of (1) by writing modules in (2), and game designers can very quickly compose new games from those components without programming.


The first release comes with:

  • a parser for the language
  • a basic game engine that handles collisions and graphics
  • a small ontology of components for simple games
  • working examples that are simplified variants of:
    • Sokoban
    • Legends of Zelda
    • Space Invaders
    • Super Mario
    • Lunar Lander
    • Frogger


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A video game description language (VGDL) 0.1 — 26 Jun, 2012

A video game description language (VGDL) 0.2 — 2 Feb, 2013 account Comments

  • Nate Lastname 2012-06-28 01:29

    Cool idea!  The language is a bit hard to understand, but certainly better than Python :).  Keep up the good work!

  • jer 2013-02-27 06:19

    This is a great idea. Unfortunately it's a bane to write it in python AND use the pygame module for those that wish to use this language because they will be severely limited in the amount of things they can do due to speed limitations. As you know, python isn't fast especially when coding AI and pygame is even slower with its drawing mechanisms. In order to achieve standards of 30-60fps you need to do manual optimization which won't be possible in this language i'm afraid...