Nevermind Creations

Korona: Solar Chaos
Korona: Tinker's Curse


Dublin TravelApp

Aerial Videos

Texas 2016

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Nevermind Creations

Founded in 2015, Nevermind Creations brings together Game Design with Cognitive Science, especially dealing with elaborate Artificial Intelligence Algorithms, insights from Neuroinformatics, Machine Learning/ Reinforcement Learning, HCI, Decision and Game theory, psychological incentives and Virtual Reality.

Scroll through our recent projects, demonstrations and theses, explore, share and support.

Korona: Solar Chaos
     Category: Board Game

Latest Version: No release yet

Solar Chaos is a board game depicting the events and the universe of Korona.
It is playable with 2-6 players, where 1 additional player (white) may appear, which is totally controlled by the game itself.

In the beginning of the game, every player chooses a color (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet or Black).
Dependent on this color, certain actions can be played in the later game, that can alter the game's status drastically.
The game is round-based, proceeding in a clockwise direction, where each player can decide in each round, whether he channels himself (increases his energy by 1), or moves forward with one of his units (where a rolled dice declares the precise number of fields).
Should the roll end in a sun symbol (which replaces the 6 on this special dice), one of 49 unique event cards is triggered instead, which can yield both positive or negative effects for the current player or the whole state of the game.
If the white player is activated, one of 33 unique sun-event cards is triggered additionally.
Also, apart of the first game unit (the commander), one can spawn an additional regular unit at his start point, at the cost of 1 energy.
Should the route of a unit end on a field occupied by an opponent's unit, a battle is held.
For this, a dice is been rolled (2 in case of the commander), where the player with the higher rolled number keeps his unit. In a tie, both units die.
If the commander of a player dies, he loses the game immediately.
Winner is, who gathers the sun in the centre of the board and leaves it via the gate located at the border.

Problems, Questions, Suggestions:

Korona: Tinker's Curse
     Category: Trading Card Game, AI, Machine Learning

Latest Version: No release yet

Tinker's Curse is part of the adventure Korona and depicts a classical Trading Card Game.
The player can construct himself a deck out of 85 unique cards, which will end in a collection of 40 cards, where duplicates can occur.
These cards can be found during the progress of the game Korona - also, new opponents with various deck types appear as the story proceeds, which can be challenged arbitrarily often.
The exceptional specialty of Tinker's Curse is without any doubt the game's opponent, who does not follow mere simple rules or heuristics, but, as a part of the Master thesis "Challenge yourself: A cognitive agents' machine learning framework for adaptive, intelligent and interesting competition in video game opponents", establishes an artificial intelligence agent which adapts to the play style of the human player, predicts his turns and decisions with a certain probability and develops an understanding of what actions are crucial for winning and losing the game.

Before the actual game begins, the player constructs his deck of 40 cards out of a card pool from all cards that he unlocked in the adventure so far.
One should keep in mind here that units of a certain color can only be played when a certain amout of energy of the same color has been played before.

The match against one of the opponents that you find in Korona consists of 7 repeating phases:

1. Draw a card.
2. Play an energy.
3. Play a unit.
4. Activate an ability.
5. Battle
6. Activate an ability.
7. Proceed to next round.

However, it is not mandatory to play energies, units or abilities, but what should be played at what particular point of situation will be learned while playing the card game, both by the human, as well as by the artificial player.
In the battle phase the units of both players duel, if they exist. Either one of these, both or none dies, depending on their strength and defense values, and they may trigger additional effects.
If only one player controls a unit at this time point, it deal damage directly to the opposed player, who then loses cards from his deck into the graveyard.
The first player who is not able to draw a card anymore, loses the game.

Problems, Questions, Suggestions:

     Category: Adventure, Puzzle

Latest version: No release yet

Korona is a classical 2D Point-and-Click Adventure in a fictional universe, in which all life and being is composed of atomic parts consisting of colored energy. This energy determines the structure, the appearance and also the nature of the particular object, plant, landscape, animal or human.

The world of Korona was created as a comparably tiny object, which later is only refered to as the sun, released a sheer boundless amount of energy, colored energy, which brought life and character to a former bleak, grey planet.
Even the humans which appeared in this process are a conglomerate of these various different energies, if not the most complex composition.
As such, they consist of...

Red energy, which constitutes blood, fire, passion, ...
Yellow energy, which constitutes value, trade, community, ...
Green energy, which constitutes life, growth, chemistry, ...
Blue energy, which constitutes air, water, freedom, ...
Violet energy, which constitutes mind, will, intellect, ...
Black energy, which constitutes shadows, death, secrets, ... and
White energy, which constitues purity, integrity and faith.

But although all humans were built out of the same of these energy components, they developed themselves in a different fashion. They learned to dominate and control the energy resting in each and every object and form of life, and to manipulate it to their benefit.
Human that were talented in controlling blood and fire began to establish the red people and set themselves apart from the rest of the society - which continued with all of the other colors, resulting in a humanity split into 7 nations.
After many catastrophes caused by the vast power of the sun, the sovereign of the white people decided to destroy this force and constructed a city in which all nations should live together in peace and harmony.
The red nation provided warmth and protection,
the yellow nation economy and administration,
the green research and agriculture,
the blue seafaring and weather management,
the violet education and crime clearance,
the black funerals and observation,
and the white religion and governance.
This city was called Korona and it should constitute the central utopia of the world for many hundred years.
But a young, innocent nomad merchant carries a message for the citadel of Korona which could destroy the solid structure of the whole city once and for all.

--- Puzzles ---
Korona integrates a variety of unique puzzles that the player has to face, often inspired by psychological tests and insights or algorithms of artificial intelligence.
Cryptarithmetic (after Henry Dudeney)
Game of Life (after John Horton Conway)
Hill Climbing (classic AI)
Prediction Puzzles (resembles Hidden Markov Models, after Andrei Andrejewitsch Markow)
Tradeoff chains (classical problem of the evaluation of value)
Number Series Problem (classic Eureka effect)
Trading Card Game (Korona: Tinker's Curse)
Text-Based Adventure
Arcade elements

Problems, Questions, Suggestions:

     Category: Virtual Reality


Latest Version: v.0.20 Codename: "Pyx"
Playable in VR-Mode and Desktop Mode

Gaze is an innovative puzzle approach, exploiting VirtualReality as not only out- but also input. By mere gazing you will slip into the role of a telekinetic ubermensch and take control of valuable atoms, leading them past dangerous hazards, combining them to develop interatomic effects and making use of their energy to raise your score or construct new worlds - Just by looking.

The features of Gaze show up successively, presenting puzzles and possibilities, ending in a final boss level, where the learned structures have to be integrated and applied. These are for example:
- Basics, Controls and various Fragments (1~10)
- Atom differences and combined applications (11~20)

- Atom sizes and growing structures (...)
- Defeating acting enemies strategically (...)
- 3D Puzzling (...)
- Constructing pre-defined objects (...)
- Free Constructing of structures (...)
- Multiplayer: Co-Op missions (...)
- Multiplayer: Vs. Mode (...)
- ...

--- Key binding ---
Main Menu:
Esc - Quit
Left/Right/Up/Down/W/A/S/D - Parse through levels (you already unlocked)
Space/Enter/Return/E - Enter Level

Esc - Return to Main Menu
Space/Enter/Return/E - Proceed
R - Reset Level
V - Switch VRMode / DesktopMode
S - Skip Level (Testing purposes)
Z - Reset Progress(Testing purposes)
+ - Zoom In
- - Zoom Out

Problems, Questions, Suggestions:

Gaze was the prototype for a usability study accessible at Gaze Usability Study.

     Category: AI / Neuroinformatics


Latest Version: v.0.12
Playable on Windows. Java required.

C.U.T.L.A.S.S. is an 2.5D open-World survival demo which was mainly developed for being a ground for my Bachelor's thesis in Adaptive Competitors in Video Games. The Islands building the world are 100% random and generated along a series of multiple multivariate gaussian distributions. The combat system adapts to the users moves, predicts strategies and plans an optimal set of actions to challenge the player given what it has learned.

C.U.T.L.A.S.S. needs a version of Matlab to run for now.

The downloadable version presents the idea of the Bachelor thesis, one is able to fight against an opponent who estimates and fits the player's actions over time and challenges him. Learning curves and scores are visualized at all time.

Problems, Questions, Suggestions:

TravelApp: Dublin
     Category: AI / Neuroinformatics

From 2015-2016, the University of Osnabrück developed an intelligent Travel App designated for the city of Dublin, with cooperation of IBM and access to the spectrum of cognitive services they offer in IBM Bluemix, as well as a private instance of the famous AI question answering system Watson. In later stages, usage of Microsofts Cognitive Services as well as Google mechanics have been added.
In this time, my work focused mainly on designing, prototyping and developing the Travel app itself, as well as auxiliary applications for it. In the end, a platform-independent cognitive travel emerged, consisting of the following features:

I) Communication via natural language
II) Real-world location attribution
III) Assessment of the user's mood (from conversation)
IV) Interpretation of the user's emotions (from images)
V) Access to a hierarchical system of place recommendations
VI) A rewarding gamification system that encourages the exploration of the city
VII) A context-dependent image display supporting the conversation
VIII) An understanding of a large corpus about collected facts and documents about the city

The intended use of the Travel app is rather unconstrained, in that the user can choose to interact with the guide in different ways and not pre-defined sequences. E.g., the user has the choice of submitting his message via text or voice, where the guide will answer both aurally as well as textually. Above that, it makes no difference whether the user is asking right away after a particular place (e.g. "Show me some restaurants."), or is having some smalltalk with the guide, which in the course of the dialog attempts to estimate the places to suggest from the mood and/or hierarchically arranged place cues. To estimate the emotion not only from the conversation, but also from the user's face, he is able to shoot a photo using the camera button, which results in a classification of the basic facial expressions. These can be further used to assign emotions to places, in an emotional review feature.

     Category: Auxiliary

Before the first prototype of the actual Travel app emerged, several subfunctionalities and tools were developed, including the Image-Graph-Annotator.
Already in the first week of my participation the need for a tool came up which would be able to describe content in images via manual tagging. Hence, over 6 months of refinements, I completed the IGA, able to record tags about objects in images, attributes, affordances, relations inbetween and manage the whole work on a cloud-system base, effectively enabling untroubled working with multiple users on the database in parallel. To drop the work load of the respective taggers, a great number of comfort functions found their place in the process of development.

IntoThinAir: Texas (2016)
     Category: 4K Aerial Video

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Johannes Pfau
Design, Development, Production, Web

Johannes Pfau
Eichenkamp 12
31319 Sehnde

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