Phd Student David Melhart

<institute of digital games>

Restless Brain Heart of Gold Bottomless Belly Magic Hands Legs of Steel


gamejam projects

onirikonrole: graphic design

Onirikon is a puzzle game where you take control a Frenchman. Eating cheese will increase your weight, while drinking a healthy glass of wine will reduce your weight. To pass certain areas you'll need to be either thin or big. If you find the exit, you win.

A genetic algorithm evolves the levels to produce progressively harder levels. The fitness function optimizes for levels that require more A* search optimizations to find the shortest path. It guarantees that the random initial trajectory remains a valid solution through the course of optimization.


the ship of babelrole: game design & graphic design

Build and repair the spaceship you are trapped on with other aliens. Your life depends on communicating with other aliens in the same ship, but you don't speak the same language so you need to make your own language with the symbols available and coordinate the work.


flying frenzyrole: Team Lead, Project Management, Game Design, Graphic Design & JavaScript Development

Flying Frenzy is a short and simple infinite runner-like app made on the extremely tight deadline of 8 to 10 hours. The project was completed with an extreme lean development strategy, with the only commitment being smooth controls. The game went trhough quick iterations and the art was finalised only an hour or so before deadline.

Flying Frenzy won the friendly comptetition at the Multidisciplinary Game Research, Utrecht University Summer School at the Dutch Game Garden for its polish and dev strategy.


support for other projects - graphic & web design

FDG 1st Workshop on Tabletop Games 2018 Webdesign

The goal of this workshop was to advance knowledge in tabletop games by bringing together researchers and fostering discussion about the current state of the field.

The workshop was ogranised by Antonios Liapis at FDG 2018, Malmo, Sweden.


1st international summer school on AI and Games Webdesign & paper media

The 1st International Summer School on AI and Games was dedicated to the uses of AI techniques in and for games. After introductory lectures that explained the background and key techniques in AI and games, the school introduced participants the uses of AI for playing games, for generating content for games, and for modeling players.

The summer school was organised by Georgios Yannakakis and Julian Togelius.


AAMAS 2018 Tutorial: From Game Theory to AI in GamesWebdesign

Tutorial on how to use the principles of agent modeling and machine learning as overarching elements for connecting Game Theory to AI in digital games.

The tutorial was given by Georgios Chalkiadakis and Georgios Yannakakis.


The Newborn WorldWebdesign

The Newborn World is a storytelling game, played in a social setting and facilitated by a single mobile device. In this game, three or more players influence the evolving history of the First City, the first attempt of men and women to form a society.

The game was designed by Antonios Liapis.



Iconoscope is a game deployed on tablets and on the web which aims to foster the creativity of its players. The inspiration behind Iconoscope comes primarily from non-digital construction and guessing games. Iconoscope motivates players to creatively interpret concepts (described linguistically) as icons (depicted visually) which convey the same message.

Iconoscope was designed by IDG researchers under the C2Learn project, supported by the European Commission.




Melhart, D. (2018). Towards a Comprehensive Model of Mediating Frustration in Videogames. Game Studies, 18(1). ISSN:1604-7982.

Melhart, D., & Jiwandono, H. P. (2018). The Infectious Aesthetic of Zombies: An Exploration of Zombie Narratives and Unit Operations of Zombies in Videogames. Acta Ludologica, 1(1). ISSN: 2585-8599.


Melhart, D., & Jiwandono, H. P. (2017). The Infectious Aesthetic of Zombies - An Exploration of Zombie Narratives and Unit Operations of Zombie-Like Entities. In Abstract Proceedings of the Central and Eastern European Game Studies Conference, ISBN 978-80-8105-873-8. Trnava, Slovak Republic.

Melhart, D. (2016). Frustration and Adaptation: Orientational Shifts in Motivation. In 1st International Conference of DiGRA and FDG. Dundee, Scotland, UK.


Melhart, D., Konstantios, S., Giannakakis, G., Yannakakis, G. & Liapis, A. (in press). A Study on Affect Model Validity: Nominal vs Ordinal Labels In Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, 86. ISSN: 1938-7228.


academic work


Affective ComputingSpring Semester 2018

In Professor Georgios Yannakakis’ "Affective Computing" course

  • Weekly supervision of MSc project work
  • Lecture on Emotion Elicitation & Annotation
  • Lecture on Sensing for Emotion Detection
  • Tutorial on Using Physiological Sensors
  • Tutorial on Facial Feature Extraction

Qualitative Game Research Methodology Fall Semester 2017

In Dr Daniel Vella’s "Methods for Games Research" course


Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference2018

Hellenic Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Human-Habitat for Health @ AMC International Conference on Multimodal Interaction

IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games

IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing

IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games

IEEE Transactions on Games

International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games

#gamesUR EU - Games User Research Conference

Press Start



Game Research - Philosophiae Doctor in progress since 2017

Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta

Supervisors: Professor Georgios Yannakakis & Dr Antonios Liapis

Cognition & Communication - Master of Arts2013-2016

University of Copenhagen

Supervisor: Andreas Lindegaard Gregersen, PhD

Thesis title: “Frustration and Adaptation”

Communication & Media Theory - BA Supplementary Studies2012-2013

Corvinus University of Budapest

Political Science - Bachelor of Arts2008-2012

Pazmany Peter Catholic University

Supervisor: Professor Balázs Zoltán

Thesis title: “Legitimacy Crisis of the European Union”


Computer Vision and Machine Intelligence2018

VISUM Summer School

Artificial Intelligence and Games2018

1st International Summer School on Artificial Intelligence and Games

Multidisciplinary Game Research2016

Utrecht University Summer School


Research Support Officerin progress since 2017

Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta

Game Designer & UX Specialistfirst half of 2017

Team Guide2015


Director & Lead Designer2013-2015

WireMind Ltd.

organisational work

19th EPIA Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Artificial Intelligence for Games (AI4G) Track2019

Member of the Program Committee

Malta Global GameJam2019

Member of the Organising Committee, Art Direction, Web Management

1st Workshop on Tabletop Games @ FDG20182018

Web Design and Management

1st International Summer School on Artificial Intelligence and Games2018

Web Design and Management, Social Media Management, Online & Local Organisation

Malta Global GameJam2018

Volunteer Social Media Management & Local Organisation

gamejam awards

1st International Summer School on Artificial Intelligence and Games - GameAI jam2018

Best by Popular Vote
Role: Graphic Designer
Team: Alberto Alvarez, Gaël Delalleau, Olivier Delalleau, David Melhart, Dominik Scherer

Multidisciplinary Game Research Summer School, Utrecht University - JavaScript Game Workshop2016

Best Game Design and Implementation
Role: Team Lead, Project Management, Game Design, Graphic Design, and JavaScript Development
Team: Carlos Abel Garcia, Haryo Pambuko Jiwandono, David Melhart, Jose Perez-parras Toledano



Python, C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, HTML + CSS

Adobe Suite

Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator

Game Engine

Unity 3D


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