Nathan Partlan


Northeastern University, Boston, MA

(in progress)

Doctor of Philosophy

Computer Science

Northeastern University, Boston, MA


Master of Science

Computer Science

Brown University, Providence, RI


Bachelor of Science

Computer Science


Peer-Reviewed Papers

Lee, Vivian, Nathan Partlan, and Seth Cooper. 2020. “Precomputing Player Movement in Platformers for Level Generation with Reachability Constraints.” In Joint Proceedings of the AIIDE 2020 Workshops Co-Located with the 16th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE 2020).

Carstensdottir, Elin, Nathan Partlan, Steven Sutherland, Tyler Duke, Erika Ferris, Robin M. Richter, Maria Valladares, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. 2020. “Progression Maps: Conceptualizing Narrative Structure for Interaction Design Support.” In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Honolulu, HI, USA: ACM.

Partlan, Nathan, Abdelrahman Madkour, Chaima Jemmali, Josh Aaron Miller, Christoffer Holmgård, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. 2019. “Player Imitation for Build Actions in a Real-Time Strategy Game.” In Joint Proceedings of the AIIDE 2019 Workshops Co-Located with the 15th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE 2019). Atlanta, GA:

Mahajan, Shruti, Leo Bunyea, Nathan Partlan, Dylan Schouten, Casper Harteveld, Camillia Matuk, Will Althoff, Tyler Duke, Steven Sutherland, and Gillian Smith. 2019. “Toward Automated Critique for Student-Created Interactive Narrative Projects.” In Joint Proceedings of the AIIDE 2019 Workshops Co-Located with the 15th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE 2019). Atlanta, GA:

Partlan, Nathan, Elin Carstensdottir, Erica Kleinman, Sam Snodgrass, Casper Harteveld, Gillian Smith, Camillia Matuk, Steven C. Sutherland, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. 2019. “Evaluation of an Automatically-Constructed Graph-Based Representation for Interactive Narrative.” In Proceedings of the Workshop on User Experience of Artificial Intelligence in Games at FDG. San Luis Obispo, CA: ACM Press.

Partlan, Nathan, Elin Carstensdottir, Sam Snodgrass, Erica Kleinman, Gillian Smith, Casper Harteveld, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. 2018. “Exploratory Automated Analysis of Structural Features of Interactive Narrative.” In Proceedings of the 14th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment. Edmonton, AB, Canada: The AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California.

Posters and Peer-Reviewed Presentations

Sutherland, Steven, Will Althoff, Anna Amato, Leo Bunyea, Tyler Duke, Casper Harteveld, Camillia Matuk, Kate Olguin, Nathan Partlan, Magy Seif El-Nasr, Sam Snodgrass, and Gillian Smith. 2020. “Analysis of Design Decisions on Reinforcing Stereotypes in Games.” presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA.

Matuk, Camillia, Steven Sutherland, Will Althoff, Sam Snodgrass, Nathan Partlan, Gillian Smith, Magy Seif El-Nasr, and Casper Harteveld. 2019. “Synergies between Research and Game Design: Reflections on Interactive Narrative Experiments by Student Game Designers.” presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 5.

Troiano, Giovanni Maria, Sam Snodgrass, Erinç Argimak, Nathan Partlan, Gillian Smith, and Casper Harteveld. 2018. “Finding Effective Metrics to Evaluate Student-Designed Games.” In CHI 2018 Workshop on Data-Driven Educational Game Design.

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Partlan, Nathan, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. 2018. “Towards Generating AI for Generative Worlds: Evolving Behavior Trees in Unreal Engine 4.” SEEDS, December 19, 2018.

Professional and Research Experience

Graduate Research Assistant, Northeastern University



Researched mixed-initiative content creation and developed a graph-based representation for generation of modified, or novel, scenarios for StudyCrafter, an accessible platform for developing social science experiments as games.

Game Systems Engineer, Turbine, Inc.


Game of Thrones: Conquest

As a software engineer, designed and implemented central, full-stack game systems in C# for an upcoming mobile game, using Unity.

Researched, implemented, and optimized a large-scale procedural world generation system, combining several techniques, with a focus on designer customizability.

Researched, implemented, and improved upon a recent AI pathfinding technique.

Batman: Arkham Underworld

As a software engineer, implemented a flexible mission population system.

Infinite Crisis

As a software engineer, implemented full-stack MOBA features in C++ and SQL.

Developed adversary and tutorial AI using Utility-based decision-making logic and Hierarchical Finite State Machines.

The Lord of the Rings Online

As an associate engineer, implemented full-stack MMORPG gameplay and UI features in an existing, large codebase and custom engine, using C++ and an internal Java-like language.

Intern Engineer, Demiurge Studios


As an intern engineer, implemented gameplay, camera, and UI features for The Nightworld, a 3D stealth-action game for iOS, powered by Unreal Engine 3.

Coded within limited memory and CPU budget for iOS, in UnrealScript and Objective C.

Independent Research Study, Brown University


AI for Leges Motus, Supervised by Dr. Chad Jenkins

With another undergraduate student, researched, designed, and implemented a raycasting algorithm based on the computer graphics technique of bi-directional path-tracing, to convert the zero-gravity game level space (in which players can only jump in straight lines from wall to wall) into a graph that could be traversed by A* search for pathfinding.

Researched and implemented a flexible opponent AI using utility-based reasoning to select between behavior strategies.

Research Assistant, Brown University


Authenticating Email Search Results, Supervised by Dr. Roberto Tamassia

Implemented an applied research project to verify the integrity of a user‘s email in Google‘s Gmail service.

Google Summer of Code, Thousand Parsec Project


Successfully completed this Google-sponsored program both as a student and, separately, as a mentor to another student.

Intern Engineer, Thousand Parsec Project


Implemented new gameplay features in a large existing, open-source code base, using Python and wxWidgets.


Teaching Assistant


Northeastern University

CS5170: AI for Human Computer Interaction

CS4100/5100: Foundations of Artificial Intelligence

CS4150/5150: Game Artificial Intelligence

Head Teaching Assistant


Brown University

CSCI 1950N: Android Game Engines

With another undergraduate student, significantly updated and improved course material for the second run of a student-led course. Gave lectures on topics in Android game engine development, supervised student projects, and graded student work.

Teaching Assistant


Brown University

CSCI 1660: Computer Security

CSCI 0320: Introduction to Software Engineering

CSCI 0530: The Matrix in Computer Science

Funding Proposals

Epic MegaGrants (under review)


Proposed "EvolvingBehavior" project for the Epic MegaGrants program. With Dr. Stacy Marsella and Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr.


Founding Member, Khoury Graduate Students Association


As a founding member of the Khoury Graduate Students Association (Khoury GSA), served as an organizer to advocate for student needs, coordinate community events, and improve the graduate student experience at Khoury College of Computer Sciences.

Program Committee Member


Foundations of Digital Games

Program Committee Member


Foundations of Digital Games, Late Breaking Work

Program Committee Member


Experimental AI in Games Workshop at AIIDE

Program Committee Member


The 10th Workshop on Procedural Content Generation at FDG



Transactions on Games



Conference on Games

Teacher, Computer Programming, Turbine


Designed and taught informal programming classes to interested colleagues.

Founder and Organizer, Brown Independent Games Expo (BIGExpo)


As a founder and organizer of BIGExpo, enlisted and organized professional speakers and presenters from the games industry, and student presenters from Brown University and RISD, for annual conferences at Brown. Also obtained sponsors and distributed promotional materials.

Founding Member, Brown Game Developers Group


As a founding member of the Brown Game Developers Group, organized sessions, coordinated meetings with RISD students. Assisted in planning joint projects and in creating, and finding advisors for, student-led classes.

Invited Talks

Panel Member, Q&A with Professional Game Engineers


Northeastern University

Participated in a panel Q&A session, giving advice and information about professional gameplay engineering to students in the Northeastern University Game Developers Group.

“Lessons Learned from A Year in the Game Industry”


Brown University

Gave a talk on engineering tips and advice learned after a year in professional game development, in a presentation to the Brown University Game Developers group.

Professional Memberships

Member, AI Game Programmers Guild


Student Member, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence


Research Interests

Game AI

Procedural Content Generation

Computational Co-Creativity