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Since my early years in life I had a great curiosity and was always amazed by electronic games.

I believe they enhanced my creative thinking and my perseverance to overcome challenges.


Moreover, games made me question how can one make them? And why did I enjoy them so
much? This being said, I would like to go deeper in these two topics, because they brought me
here.
Firstly, I believe that coming out with creative solutions and being driven by challenges are
some of my personal features that games helped me to improve. For example, the first time
me and some cousins defeated Bowser in the Super Mario 64 game is a good example. We
spent the first hour struggling, each one at a time, making a try to defeat him. However, I was
able to identify and breakdown the tasks needed in order to defeat the boss, identify in which
of those tasks each one performed well and create a new strategy, so each one of us could
perform the task we were assigned to in the same trial. Because of that we were able to defeat
it, in our very first try, using this new plan. This was an amazing display of leadership, out of
the box thinking, management and teamwork, with only eight years old.
The second point is about the questions I had. To begin with, I had an urge to know how one
could make games. I got this answer in my Software Engineering graduation. During my course,
I was able to get in touch with plenty subfields and topics that are related to the development
of software and information technology. During my graduation, I also worked as teaching
assistant for some courses. Anyway, it was a natural step to map the contents I was being
exposed to with the development of games. Thus, I actively tried to apply the things I was
learning whenever I could, whatever it was in research or projects.
About research, I was also fascinated by the theory behind games. During my fifth year in
college, I took the first class in a brand new course named Introduction to Electronic Games. I
designed a tower defense game that was chosen by the group to be our project in the class.
From the five initial members, three dropped out in the first weeks of class. I developed the
game from scratch using OpenGL and SDL, and the other remaining member did the portability
for a console. By developing the entire game by my own I was able to get my first touch with
the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field and the responsibility it had to convey a great and immersive
experience for the player. I also took an Introduction to Distributed Systems class in which I
proposed to research about networking in games. I got so thrilled by the topic that I read an
entire book during the following weekend and got the presentation ready. Later, the professor
responsible for the course contacted me and the Professor Dean Carla Silva Rocha Aguiar in
order to invite me to present again the Games & Distributed Systems Seminar at the Gama
Software Engineering Conference at my university.
Concerning projects of games, in my second year, I designed a digital version of the memory
game toy Simon for my group in the Object Orientation Class. At first, the other groups
members were hesitating. However, I was able to convince and motivate them. Later, in the
fourth year, I designed another game for an Introduction to Computer Graphics class. The
game scope was as big as a serious game developed by any medium to big company would
make. However, we had the maturity of focusing in only what would expose the knowledge we
acquired related to the course. The result was a primitive game engine made from the scratch

with OpenGL and some prototypes using the Kinect API that asserted the feasibility of the
game conceived.
After that, I decided to deep my knowledge in the AI field for my graduation project. In the first
half I researched about the AI field and how it was related to the development of games. I
decided to implement Neuroevolution in a game that could potentially be commercialized.
But, in order to do that, I needed more knowledge about AI and Game development in
general. Thus I pursued and achieved a Brazil Scientific Mobility Program scholarship hosted by
the Georgia Institute of Technology.
During this program, I was able to experience what my sponsor called academic training.
This opportunity leads me to work in the ADAM lab at my host university. There I worked in a
unit testing framework to support one of the projects. Once the framework was ready, I
developed tutorials and the initial tests so the teams could use them in future
implementations. The second task I had was to implement a solution to another project. This
time I designed a machine learning solution to a classification task that was hard-coded.
Moreover I coursed several classes, among them I took Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
and Machine Learning Courses to get the basics of AI techniques and theory. I also took Mobile
Apps and Services, Computer Vision and Computer Animation courses for they are interesting
for the game development context and were challenging courses. Finally, I took Game AI and
Game Design courses. All of them contributed to my gaming development background, but
these last two would be the core for the second half of my graduation project, after I returned
to my country.
These game courses I took at the United States were somewhat special to me. The first reason
is because they answered my long lasting question: Why did I enjoy games so much? I
learned about the game flow and fun theories and could finally understand some aspects of
why some games had such a great impact, both in the history of the industry and the players
life. After that I conceived a life goal for me: create games that will make the difference. In
other words, I would like to bring novelty for the game industry in the form of concepts, ideas
and technologies. Moreover, I want to apply them to games that will compel meaningful
experiences for the players.
Then, after I returned from this study abroad program, I applied that to my graduation project.
I focused in using the Neuroevolution as a tool to obtain high quality intelligence concerning
the players perspective. At the end of the course I was able to achieve some promising results
by applying some techniques used in other contexts to accelerate the bots learning rate and
making them able to take reasonable decision in comparison to a baseline bot using a standard
state machine technique. For all my work, I got my graduation diploma and an award for
having the highest GPA in my course.
Finally, I see in this PhD program an opportunity to achieve my personal and professional goals
as a game developer, designer and researcher. Moreover, I believe my background and
motivations make me a reliable, effective and efficient team member able to contribute in this
domain.