More about Bot Colony, a conversational video game, where it’s all about interaction with English speaking chatbots.
This natural interaction in English is novel, entertaining, and uniquely immersive, as our characters possess human-like conversation abilities.
Before you start reading, you might want to have a look a the video below:
Here’s what I found on their website:
Comparison with previous games:
Until Bot Colony, dialogue in videogames took the form of dialogue trees, essentially canned choices from a list (for example, Mass Effect, Hotel Dusk, The Last Express and older text adventure games), voice commands (EndWar, Sega Seaman), or an attempt to key on a word or extract a sentiment from the input (Façade, Starship Titanic). In Bot Colony, the player speaks freely, asking questions, seeking clarification, or requesting the characters to carry out actions, and the game attempts to respond intelligently. In this respect, the North Side language understanding technology is superior to chatbots, which are limited to serving ready-made answers incorporating words or clauses previously uttered (or typed) by the user/previous users; this makes a chatbot seem responsive for a small number of dialog steps (Jabberwacky, Allen, Alice). Façade relies on word polarity and a shallow processing of language, rather than deep semantic processing as in Bot Colony.
English as a scripting language
The dialogue pipeline running on a server-farm is the key technological innovation in the game. While North Side is not claiming to have passed the Turing test. That would mean that if a person saw only the transcript of a dialog between the player and a game character, he would not be able to tell if the dialog was between two humans, or a human and a computer. North Side does not claim that its software performs perfectly. Natural language understanding is a very hard problem, and the company’s objective is to understand language well enough in order to complete the levels of the game, or to help people improve their English. In many cases, the software may not understand the player and will ask for clarification. This is part and parcel of the Bot Colony gameplay. It is not difficult to say something that a character will not understand – the real challenge is to get through to characters, and advance in the game. The language software is general purpose, and not tied to the Bot Colony game in particular. In general, the hardest problems in understanding language are tied to the lack of sufficient world knowledge: things that are obvious to a person are not known to a computer – but they are needed to understand what someone said.
In Bot Colony, game objects behave and interact like objects in the real-world, further enhancing this feeling of immersion. The Bot Colony game engine, Anitron, is data-driven, so all scenes are actually real-time simulations. There’s no need to use cut scenes.
Bot Colony is not programmed in a traditional way. All game logic, animations and interactions are entirely scripted in English. English-based scripting will enable players to extend the game world with their own content. A script describes in simple English how a game entity should react, when its context and probable goals are taken into account.
The language software attempts to extract the correct meaning from a player’s utterance, irrespective of the particular words or the syntax used, and attempts to it to a familiar context. This means that a player may formulate the same message in many different ways and the game will extract the same semantics in all cases.
North Side believes that its innovative use of English as a scripting language will enable players to extend the world by adding their own content. This English-based scripting technology has additional applications, for example to rapid visualization of movie scripts, workflow visualization, debrief, and exploring alternative courses of action.
ESL: English as a Second Language
There is a special beta program for non-native English speakers. But there are more beta testers. http://www.botcolony.com/beta.html
We’d like to be partner of Bot Colony. What could we bring to the table?
-bring advanced testers to their beta program (for example, senior members who have written more than 50 postins in AI Zone).
-help them find talented people (they have job openings)
-publish news about Bot Colony on a regular basis
-sell the game once it’s live
In return, I’d like to have:
-those characters on Chatbots.org
-a position within the game about Chatbots.org
-a link on their partner page
-help with setting up our animation forum
Do you have additional ideas how Bot Colony and Chatbots.org could help each other?