There is a long tradition, in Game Art, of transforming gameplay sessions into works of art. Lately, the trend has been accelerating and I have the feeling that in the next few years we will see an explosion of gameplay-driven art, i.e. artworks generated by turning in-game actions performed by players (humans/bots) into dots, lines, sequences, and/or performances. Thus, the ephemeral, mostly invisible gestures of the players and their avatars become visible traces. The aesthetics of game-based computation.
One seminal example is Alison Mealey's Unreal Art (2005), a series of drawings (predominantly portraits) made with Processing based on Unreal Tournament bots' movements through a level design and created by the artist. Mealey's performance was detailed in GameScenes.
Alison Mealey, Unreal Art, 2005
A more recent example is Seb Lee-Delisle's Lunar Trails (2012), an interactive installation first commissioned by the Dublin Science Gallery for their GAME exhibition, running from November 2012 to the end of January 2013. As Lee-Delisle writes on his website, Lunar Trails "features a full size arcade cabinet running the vintage 1979 game Lunar Lander. As you play the game, the path that you take is rendered on the wall with a large hanging drawing robot". Truly fascinating.
Seb Lee-Delisle, Lunar Trails, 2012 Lunar Trails flickr set
Another amazing project comes from Dutch graduate student Sam van Doorn who recently hacked an old pinball machine to create STYN (2012), a peculiar drawing device that utilizes the flippers to control a ink-covered sphere that moves across a movable poster placed on the game surface. The outcome? A series of abstract, symmetric drawings. Stynning. Pardon, stunning.
Sam van Dorn, Styn, 2012
Last but not least, gameplay sessions have been visualized by many artists and designers in the last five years. One of my favorite is Jim Blackhurst's visualisation of the spatial clustering of death by impact in Just Cause 2. As Blackhurst writes, "The video is made up of over 11.3 million player death events, specifically, death by impact with terrain or objects" (2011). The result is mesmerizing.
LINK: Alison Mealey
LINK: Seb Lee-Delisle
LINK: Sam van Doorn
LINK: Jim Blackhurst