Art, code, and inventions by Kate Compton
Maker of many interesting things


galaxykate at gmail

@galaxykate, GalaxyKate G+

GitHub, , LinkedIn

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Kate Compton

I'm a PhD candidate in computer science, I'll be a summer 2015 Google intern, but I'm looking for clever ways to fund my research in the fall. Got a creativity tool that needs a great design? Need some strange and lively new infovis? Does your company want to sponsor a their very own pet academic? Contact me!

My research focuses on the development of AI tools to augment user creativity, especially in casual or playful audiences. I specialize in designing and implementing systems that assist users in quickly moving through the possibility space of a creative problem, a genre I call Casual Creators. These systems which have included a design tool for 3D printable necklaces, music visualizations animations, laser-cut robots, and gameplay for a game to crowdsource network security.

I've also invented a (patent-pending) augmented reality headset, cofounded a company to produce it, spoken at Hackers, Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop, GDC, SIGGRAPH, and Grace Hopper, and baked at least 10,000 cupcakes.


"Now, two doctoral students at UC Santa Cruz are programming a ruse on the cosmic scale: They've designed a game that tries to make astrophysics fun.

Kate Compton and April Grow, both students at UCSC's Center for Games and Playable Media, hope players will feel like they're "farming" in space as they cultivate star gardens. In doing so, gamers also will learn about nucleosynthesis, the process by which stars forge atoms into the elements that make up the periodic table. But Stellar, which will be soon be available on Google's Chrome Store, is first and foremost a game -- and its programmers hope the approach will help spark children's interest in science."

Matt Davenport, San Jose Mercury News

"In just six months, 100 EA employees created 15,000 items, [Will Wright] told us. The designs of one of those employees in particular consistently caught my eye: GalaxyKate. One of Spore's most social features is the Sporecast – an RSS feed of sorts for another Spore player's creations that any player can subscribe to. Here, I was crawling through GalaxyKate's creations, both Will and myself marveling at some of the things she's built. My favorite: A building that looked like an ice-skating figurine, with snow-mound base and pirouette pose."

Joystiq hands-on: Spore

"June 5th, PhD student (completing her second year at UCSC), game maker and crafter, Kate Compton came on the radio to talk about her research and practice..."

An interview with UCSC's Artists On Art Radio Program

Casual Creators

Dissertation work: defining casual creativity software

A Casual Creator is an interactive system (often software) that encourages the fast, confident, and pleasurable exploration of a possibility space, resulting in the creation or discovery of surprising new artifacts that bring feelings pride, ownership, and creativity to the users that make them.

The easiest way to get familiar with the concept of Casual Creators is to read this initial blog post.

Those seeking more information, or more in-depth references and context should skim my official advancement document

...Or read the slides from my advancement presentation.


Story grammars for casual users

Now available a library form on github! (IN ALPHA. tutorial and better readme coming soon)

Write grammars online

Try an example Victorian Novel Generator

Learn more

Procedural Generation

Tutorials for generative methods techniques

Now available a set of editable tutorials on github! (IN ALPHA. tutorial and better readme coming soon)

Procedural Generation Tutorials by GalaxyKate from Kate Compton on Vimeo.

Tiny Ocean

Procedural ocean waves and flying, diving, and sailing gameplay

This prototype was made as a gift for a friend who took me to Hawaii, and was addicted to Tiny Wings

Procedural Generation Tutorials by GalaxyKate from Kate Compton on Vimeo.


Now you're playing with science!

A very shiny 2D/3D HTML5 game that simulates the process of stellar nucleosynthesis.

Feed your stars, inflate them until they blossom into supernovas, and harvest the remains to build brighter, newer stars and their planets.

Generative little people

I make a lot of procedural animation works, including this procedural face

Procedural Generation Tutorials by GalaxyKate from Kate Compton on Vimeo.

Other Projects


An ASCII dungeon-crawlermade as an April Fools day joke at Spore. In Processing!

The published content that I made at Spore. Ah, memories.

Making an upper-body workout machine with Katamari Damacy

Projector Shenanigans

It's easy to make a Madame Leota head for your Halloween, hjst like they have at the Haunted Mansion!

Did you know that you can project your face on a styrofoam head, too?