I’ve completed my chat bot experiments in Excel. What an eye opener. Overall it was difficult, but I came up with some clever little techniques. I didn’t follow through on all the experiments. I was satisfied with what I saw and decided not to invest more time programming in VBA.
To move on to Walter, a bot who lives and interacts with the virtual world that is synchronized to the real world, I need to learn how to do some things a lot better. For the moment I’m setting aside NLP to focus on something that is calling for my attention. My goals for building a better world for Walter are:
1) Practice and develop my C++ skills (intermediate and some advanced stuff). I’m pretty good but I think my 2D engine can be a lot better by taking advantage of the rich set or resources available in the language, STL, and Boost.
2) Physics Engine. In order to interact Walter must be able to avoid bumping into things, grab items, react to external (virtual) forces, etc. I’ve done my own physics work but never implemented a proper engine. I’m interested in using Box2D.
3) Scripting Interface. I can load data files (CSV and INI) but I’ve never used a scripting language to reduce the the endless cycle of writing code, compiling, and testing. I’m interested in Lua or Angelscript.
4) AI - Artificial Intelligence. My AI routines have been somewhat basic. I’ve used a sequence of bot states to move Walter about but it was too simple. I need to design and test very levels of AI such that Walter can seem natural, but the animals can behave like animals in his world. Also interested in event driven speech, so Walter can express himself more naturally. I’m including speech recognition in this section because it would be interesting to have Walter respond to voice commands or questions.
Having dropped 25 pounds recently and shifting my diet away from tasty greasy and salty food, to mostly veggies and fruits of the past 10 weeks, I’ve got a lot more energy now. The organic garden in our backyard has served me as a good source of fuel. I want to seize upon that and work on a project to learn these various bits above.
To that end, I’m working with one of my sons to design and build a RTS (Real Time Strategy) game over the course of the year. He’s the game play pro and talented musician. I will take my existing game (simulation) engine and attempt to improve it by adding a physics engine, scripting, and sophisticated AI capability. Voice commands are a possibility.
I’ve been working on a specification, or a GDD - Game Design Document. I’ll be documenting this on another forum where game development fits…doesn’t quite fit Chatbots.org. =) I’ll come back and post a link when I’ve got the thread established.
As always I’ll be keeping tabs on this site and the quest to win the Loebner Prize. I do read the emails that are automatically sent my way.
I’ve updated my “I love me page” with all of my games and editors at games.chuckbolin.com