I just found out about a Java game programming contest you guys might be interested in. It's actually three different contests: Two AI (one based on performance, another on learning) contests and one level generation contest.
The idea of the contest is to use an existing API to either program an Artificially Intelligent Mario or create a program that generates random Mario levels based on some input.
I've been focusing on the level generation contest. I've just started playing around, and it's pretty simple to get a basic level up and running. From here there are a ton of different algorithms I could use for generating a level (the winner of the contest is the person whose program creates the most "fun" level). I wouldn't mind hearing about some ideas for the level generation algorithm, but mostly I just wanted to throw the contest out there because it seems like a fun pet project for people interested in Java game programming.
For anybody interested, here are a couple other links (to videos) about the contest I found:
A group called Expressive Intelligence Studio (EIS) is making progress on the level generation contest: [http://eis-blog.ucsc.edu/2010/04/infinite-fun-mario/|http://eis-blog.ucsc.edu/2010/04/infinite-fun-mario/]
Amazing video of last year's winner of the AI contest (I'm pretty sure the level generation is new this year): [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s3d1LfjWCI|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s3d1LfjWCI]