What’s This? An Update?

(This is a long update, so in summary … there’s a (short, rough) demo available! And the game is gonna take a veeerrry long time to complete without additional funding, like Kickstarter or something. And we want your opinion on the matter! But please, read on …)

As you may have noticed, we’ve dropped off the edge of the Earth for the last couple months or so. What is our tale of woe? Gather round SteamSaga’s low-poly fire, my friends.

Back in 2013, we were making the rounds at conventions, some of us [i.e., me] far too confident in our ability to get an RPG (short, yes, but pretty darn complex, with a brand new AI system and 3D art) done by our original release date of 31 October—a mere six months after properly getting started. The schedule looked lovely and practical, all laid out in Microsoft Project, and I was seduced by an incredibly good start to our venture. Characters were leaping off the page and into the computer, art assets went from moodboard to sketch to 3D animated creatures in barely more than the blink of an eye, AI systems all go … all looked good … and then …

Well, then reality hit. Going to the conventions gave us some valuable feedback, along with a very heartening flood of goodwill and interest (thank you!), and we wanted to adjust a few things. (We also met with a Sony rep, and that also gave us good feedback … and more adjustments we wanted to make.) For example, the story I’d written never really grabbed anybody but me (that being the story on the backs of the postcards we were handing out); I think I had a case of 1980’s fantasy mixed with a shot of old-style D&D, along with hefty amounts of Final Fantasy—none of it bad, but not exactly new, either. Then I played some very nifty indie games (including Digital: A Love Story by Christine Love, and Blendo Games’ Thirty Flights of Loving), and Epiphany! I was released from the Old Ways. (Which is funny, since my AI system is all shiny and new … must’ve been using all my creativity for that …) So we asked for some extra help on the writing front, and a new, cool, mysterious, fun (funner?) storyline was created. Which, of course, took time.

We also discovered that the game’s already cool art style could be enhanced by all kinds of fun tweaks and twists, including particle systems, various kinds of shading, different animations, etc. Possibly too much ‘etc.’, actually, as all this also took time. Lots of time.

The conversation system had to be invented fresh as well (that’s where my OTHER creative brain cells went!), in order to show off the AI system as best we could without trying to invent a way to use natural language processing in an RPG. And it’s very cool … but it also took, you guessed it, time.

And 31 October came and went, and then Christmas, and then January … all with errant promises from us about when we’d have the game out, or even just a demo … until I felt kinda broken-hearted from it all.

And while I already seem to be playing the weepy weepy violins for myself, there was another reason it all has gone into “go slow” mode—money. For while we had the proper budget for a game coming out at the end of October, or even stretching on to the end of last year, the money began to run out after that. And so, to catch ourselves in a Catch-22, we had to get paying jobs to supplement our incomes (to BE our incomes), and then work on SteamSaga when and where we could, after work … and thus there were even fewer hours to put into the game, which meant it would go even more slowly, which … well, etc.

What does all this mean to you?
Right. So we’re still coming out with SteamSaga, and we have a fifteen-minute short-short demo RIGHT NOW (yea!) that you can download from www.quantumtigergames.com/steamsaga/SteamSagaDemoSetup.zip. It ain’t all polished up, the music isn’t necessarily what we’re using, and it’s the tiniest of story arcs, but it shows the basic elements of the game. You can play as any of the four main characters, Fighter, Healer, Thief, or Bard—in fact, you get a different experience playing as each of them! The personality changes are ratcheted up to eleven, so the tiniest actions you take have outsized effects on how the characters react to you; you can see this at the end of the demo, or possibly even in battle, if you’ve pissed someone off enough that they won’t fight for you. Or if they’ve lost all respect for your leadership abilities. And of course you can replay it to see how your choices change the way people react to you. (So really it’s more than just a fifteen-minute demo!)

At our present pace, the rest of the demo (about an hour of gameplay overall, just playing as one character) will be done by the end of the year. And then, if nothing else changes, it’ll be about a year before the whole game is complete. Yup, only two-years-plus late. Ack.

Can We KickStart It? Should We?
One option to get this moving faster is to put the project up on KickStarter. I estimate that for every $5000 raised, we could knock a couple months off that release date. (To a point, obviously; $25K isn’t going to get the game done yesterday.) If we were to ask for $5K, that would move release up to maybe summer of next year; $10K would move it up to spring-ish of the year. Actually, I wouldn’t want to promise any sooner than that. But what do you guys think? Try KickStarter? Don’t? Try something else? Please write us at info@quantumtigergames.com or visit our forums at www.quantumtigergames.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11 and let us know. We REALLY, REALLY value your input, so please give us any thoughts on the subject.

Thanks so much, and we’ll chat again soon!
Jeff

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Why AI Use the Five-Factor Model

I’m always saying, like some sort of carnival barker trying to get people to listen, that the AI used in SteamSaga is based on real-world personality theory, that our NPCs act as human as they do because of this adherence to actual psychology, and that we’re using the Five-Factor Model of human personality. I think all of two people who’ve heard this actually knew what the heck I was going on about, and so here’s a little primer as to why I chose it and what it is.

Why the Five?
As one can imagine, there have been many, many theories of personality over many, many years. It seems we’ve always wanted to explain why we act the way we do; as far back as Hippocrates there were ideas about extraversion and neuroticism. So I had a cornucopia of theory from which to choose to create my AI system; what made me choose the Five-Factor Model?

First and most importantly, it seemed about as up-to-date and accepted as is possible for a personality theory. Developed (although not originated) in the 1980s and 90s by several sets of researchers, including JM Digman (1989) and Lewis Goldberg (see especially 1993), extensive research and testing has been done since then, including especially PT Costa, Jr and RR McCrae.

Second, the theory gave me the sort of fine-tuning I felt would be necessary for really giving an NPC depth of feeling, ideas, and so forth. Older two- and three-factor theories only tested along a few axes and were too broad. And actually, only five factors would have seemed too broad as well—but the Five-Factor Model divides the five factors (Openness (to Experience), Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (which neatly become OCEAN when acronymed)) into a total of 30 personality facets, and these gave me the fine-grained control I sought for AI development.

Note that, even though thirty sounds like a lot, I’m often operating with combinations of these facets to make up more complex feelings/attitudes, and so can test potentially hundreds of millions of combinations—which I doubt I’d ever need to do, really. Can you think of hundreds of millions of human attitudes? In fact, right now I test around 40 attitudes.

Note as well that I needed these to change in a realistic fashion over time (and yes, there’s some debate as to how much personality can change over a lifetime, so ‘realistic’ is a vague measurement), for I wanted the NPCs to react to changes in their environment with changes in attitude—if no longer living with the oppressive fear of that dragon on Stone Mountain, one might feel a weight has lifted, feel openness and opportunity, feel perhaps a bit less pessimistic about life. Again, having a fine-grained way in which to do this seemed imperative, for trying to make tiny changes in broad strokes would be difficult to make appear realistic, and I wanted the NPCs to be able to grow and change without outside manipulation or sleight-of-hand (e.g., ‘knowing’ as programmers that the dragon has been killed, and therefore ‘making’ the NPC say certain things, would be faking it; the NPC finding out about the dragon and making her own decisions about how to react is what I’m striving for). I guess the idea is to ultimately make the NPCs actors in their own lives, rather than puppets.*

Getting all this behind-the-scenes stuff to show up in a world of tree-delineated conversations is difficult, I’ve discovered; imagine trying to describe some complex emotion in a foreign language in which you know only three sentences. So output is still a bit of a challenge, until I get to something approaching natural language or trees complex enough to give the NPC enough range. But this has little to do with the personality model chosen. It’s more a gripe. So much to say, so limited the means to do so.

So What Is the Theory?
Right, I’ve started this already, but basically (very basically) the Five-Factor Model uses the OCEAN factors as general areas of personality. Openness is willingness to seek out new experiences; Conscientiousness is about organisation, control, and goal-directed behaviour; Extraversion is outwardly directed social energy; Agreeableness includes things like compassion, trust, and modesty; and Neuroticism includes anxiety, depression, hostility, impulsiveness, and the like. There are six facets in each factor; for instance, within Openness are Fantasy, Aesthetics, Feelings, Actions, Ideas, and Values, each of which represents a finer grained kind of openness. High marks in Fantasy would mean one is receptive to imagination and creativity stemming from that; low marks would give one a very solid grounding in the real world. (For a complete list, see various sources online.)

Speaking of the real world, there’s a test for all this developed by Costa and McCrae, the NEO PI-R. If one had the inclination, one could be scored on all this and have one’s personality evaluated. I haven’t, except on a sample test. (And no, I’m not telling.)

That’s the total nutshell version. I’m not sure how much further to go here, as I don’t want to go all wordy and academic, but there are many, many scholarly sources, both online and in libraries, if you’re intrigued by all this. Or feel free to ask me directly 🙂

*Of course, given that in a game the NPCs are there for storytelling reasons, and thus have to say and do certain things to make the plot advance, there will always be a certain amount of puppeteering. But I do want them to have the potential to live their own lives.

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AI Work on SteamSaga

So I go on and on about personality AI, but what does this do for our RPG, SteamSaga? Make it more fun? Make the NPCs have more fun? Sow the seeds for Skynet? *mad scientist laughter, fading*

The main way you’ll learn about the way the AI works is through interacting with the NPCs, which will occur in two ways: through talking to them and through actions (such as fighting them, or fighting alongside them, even). Our dialogue will still use choices (haven’t developed natural language in the last few weeks!), but most conversations will have more than the few you see in other games (well, if you have choices at all in those games); you’ll see a “group” of possible choices, such as “Answer honestly …”, “Actions, not words …” and so forth, as in the screenshot below.

AI_Speech_groups

Clicking on one of these options gives you another set, the actual words you’ll say (or action you’ll take). For instance, if you’d chosen “Answer honestly …”, you’d see something like the following:

AI_Speech_actual_response

Depending on your prior interactions with this NPC, or on how you interacted with this NPC’s friends (who may have told her all about what you’ve said to them, and how they feel about it), you may not even get this set of options; the conversation may go very differently. Or you may have this set of options, but how the NPC interprets your speech/actions may lead to the conversation proceeding very differently. And the NPC will remember this conversation, and how she felt about it and you, for the next time you interact. (And of course she may report these feelings to her friends.)

In addition to your conversations with others, you have conversations with yourself!  You’ll have to play the game to find out why you have this “inner voice”, but it will give you occasional insights and  suggestions as to what it thinks you should say or do in a given situation. Whether you follow this advice or not is up to you, but it may eventually lead to consequences (rewards or penalties) for you and your party. The “inner voice” will also remember how you’ve reacted to it throughout the game, just as NPCs do. You can see examples of this voice in the upper-right of the two previous screenshots.

Finally (well, not necessarily finally, but finally for this discussion), in battle you will control the actions of your group—attack, cast spells, fall back—and the NPCs with you will not only notice this, but give you feedback. For instance, the Healer is not particularly thrilled with being sent to the front lines, and she will let you know this. Eventually, if you continue to do things she doesn’t like, or if you’ve treated her badly in other situations, you may ask to be healed and get a response you don’t like … *

AI_Speech_battle

This sort of rebellion won’t be easy to create, and of course you might be so nice to everyone that you get every effort and nicety out of your group, but remember that your actions have consequences—and that making one person happy might make someone else not so pleased. After all, these are individuals, and they react differently. There’s nothing to stop them from being jealous of your lavish praise on someone else, or from disagreeing with your tactics and coming to think of you as not so much a leader but a quivering mass of contradictions and cowardice, or somesuch.

In these ways (and others!) SteamSaga will be different from other RPGs, with more depth and replayability. And it has nothing at all to do with Skynet.

* Note in the screenshot she’s been hit twice in quick succession, and hence her repeating the phrase about being singed. Going to fix that …

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Why Do AI Have Personality?

It’s my favourite example of why I think we need more complex personality AI systems.

While game graphics have leapt to the point where they are absolutely beautiful, smoothly rendered, and almost uncannily real, AI has been left behind. Often, you still get NPCs whose only line is “There’s a dragon over there. And it has treasure.” And you say, “Well, thank you for that information.” But then you go do stuff, and many hours or days later you return, and the NPC still says only, “Dragon. Treasure.” Umm, yeah, thanks, I got that the first time. And he’ll still be saying the same thing no matter how many times you come back. If you’re lucky, if you do go kill that dragon, and then return to that NPC, he’ll say something different, like “Woo-hoo! You killed the dragon!” After which he’ll sing your praises … but then he’ll do that ad infinitum, becoming just a sort of useless speck on the landscape, just a part of the scenery you never want to approach again. Such a simple state machine sort of approach has been in use since the early days of computer RPGs, and often seem little-changed; some of the NPC conversations in, say, Final Fantasy XII are similar to those in the first Final Fantasy games.

FSM-simple-NPC

More extensive scripting can solve some of this, but it’s still very rigid, and can thus become rather unrealistic. Say you kill the dragon, but you destroy half of the NPC’s town along with it. How happy is that NPC going to be with you then? To say nothing of the various conflicting and conflicted feelings of the other NPCs in that town. Scripting has trouble dealing with that in any sort of condensed fashion. And the same responses are going to happen in the same way every time you play the game, or when two different players play the game. Scripting also has trouble with any sort of internal character growth over time.

The solution, it seemed to me, was to make the NPCs more human. And to do this, I wanted to provide them with personalities.

Some games go a bit down this same road. For instance, Xenoblade introduced an Affinity system, a one to five star rating telling you how much an NPC or a town likes a player, and this has an effect on game play. But this is not really giving an NPC a personality; it’s just a one dimensional, like-or-dislike scale. Our personality engine, on the other hand, has this … and 36+ other dimensions on which you can query NPCs’ attitudes, their tendencies toward aggressiveness, or timidity, or impulsiveness, or straightforwardness, or any of the nuances of human interactions.

Better yet, the NPC personalities evolve, depending on how players interact with them, or other NPCs interact with them, or even due to world events. And they can keep track of how individuals interact with them, and have different reactions to different people.

Why do all this? Why should we risk NPCs that run amock (although with our engine this is not a possibility unless you want it to be), that might react in a way differently than planned, that would require extra dialogue and possible changes in future actions?

For me, it’s enough that they react more like a real person. But realistic personality AI is more than just interesting: it’s also more immersive, in the same way a film with more in-depth characters is more immersive. And it adds to the fun of replaying a game, as a player’s interactions can change the course of the game (as they will in SteamSaga).

From a game company’s point of view, this ultimately adds to the profitability of the game; more immersed players leads to more word-of-mouth leads to more buyers, and definitely more repeat buyers when you release the next game using the engine.

I do realise there are potential drawbacks, such as the NPCs reacting in ways that aren’t strictly delineated; this requires more work on the programming side to both account for what the NPCs might want to say or do and to make sure they still function as good game characters (as in, they tell the player necessary information, etc.). But there’s no need to fear that the NPCs will revolt and become an angry mob, marching through the game killing player characters and searching for those who created them (I suppose this is the programmers’ counterpart to the fears of the general public that AI [e.g., Skynet] will rise up and destroy us); it’s relatively easy to create a sort of “Three Laws of AI” to keep games running smoothly, while still giving the NPCs a chance to flourish.

And flourish they should.

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What AI Read

(Really, I just know that someday I’m going to run out of ways to [mis]use AI in my titles, but let’s see how long I can keep it up.)

I’ve been asked a few times now at talks I’ve given what AI books have been most helpful to me as a programmer, and I find I continue to give the same answers now as I did a few years ago: Millington and Funge’s Artificial Intelligence for Games (I happen to be using the 2nd edition), and Buckland’s Programming Game AI by Example. Millington is more in-depth, covering—well, kinda everything, from general issues such as processor speeds and memory, to movement behaviours and pathfinding, to decision-making and tacitics, to learning algorithms … and more. Of particular interest to me were the chapters on decision and behaviour trees (which formed a part of my thesis) and other types of decision-making. Each chapter ends with a set of exercises suitable for serious review, but as I was already engaged in my own more immediate needs (and wasn’t using this book for a course), I didn’t work any of these, so I can’t tell you much about them. (You can have the fun of working them yourself!)

I will say the in-chapter examples were good, and the text was very readable, although a background in maths and AI is helpful.

Speaking of readable, Buckland is extremely so, and although a little old now (imagine 2005 being old! But there it is …), I still find this book useful. Less experience with AI and maths is necessary, although programming experience is a must (of course, if you’re dealing with game AI, you probably have lots of this already). The examples are, as the title would imply, thorough and good. Again, the book covers all the usual bases, from pathfinding to tactics to behaviour (and fuzzy logic! Oh, how I love ya!). I kind of wish there were an updated version, but that’s mostly because I’d like more stuff, not because this one’s lacking anything.

For Christmas I received Game AI Pro (Steve Rabin, ed), which looks very promising and is a collection of articles written by AI devs, covering (you guessed it) pathfinding, decision-making, and so forth. I’m particularly looking forward to reading the Architecture section, as that’s something I tend to lose a bit as I work, rework, and rerework the same code and end up with well-commented, but difficult to follow classes and methods.

So there you have it: the two (possibly three) AI books I consult most often. If you’re looking for web resources, the main one to go to is Alex Champandard’s AIGameDev (aigamedev.com). Lots and lots of good stuff there to take a look at!

Until next time! (I’ve given up trying to predict what ‘next time’ will bring … I still haven’t delved into the Skynet dilemma …)

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D’oh! What am AI saying?

Nearing the end of a thrill-packed second period, Canada again come rushing down the ice. Germany’s defenders fall back, back … then at the last moment try to pressure the puck carrier. But he dances around them, dekes the goalie, and wrists a shot into the net! 4-0 Canada heading into intermission.

Yup, says the commentator, Germany’s play is certainly earning them a chance to play another day …

What?! But they’re losing. Palpably. Thoroughly. Whatever adverb you want to choose to advertise just how much they’re losing. Maybe the announcer misspoke. Or maybe I misheard it. Surely that was meant to be Canada’s play earning rewards.

But no, five minutes into the third period, now 6-0 Canada, and we get another gem. “Germany are definitely playing well … they must’ve had a note pinned to the board in the locker room saying, ‘Win to play another day.’” (Or it was something equally inspiring … can’t remember the exact quote, just that Germany seemed to be using it to win the game … only they weren’t. At all.)

In the real world, this announcer wouldn’t even be broadcasting at this level. Or wouldn’t be for long. But this is a video game, and the announcer AI seems to have been left out to become delusional in the hot sun. And this wasn’t some small title—this was EA’s NHL 2013, and the announcers make a lot of inappropriate comments, such as

  • in tournament mode, they’ll make comments about how young the ‘season’ is (‘not even played ten games’), when there isn’t a season at all—just round-robin play, which is nearly over.
  • in the same mode, they’ll make comments about living to play another day, or being out of the playoffs, or it being a must-win—again in round-robin play, where records determine seeding in the upcoming tournament playoff, not whether or not the team gets there.

Now, these aren’t exact quotes (I didn’t think to write them down as they happened, since I was busy scoring goals 🙂 ). And they don’t, I’d hope, indicate the level of testing the actual player AI underwent. And ultimately the commentator AI may very well have been little more than a series of if statements, if x are ahead say ‘yea for x’. But it’s this kind of thing that’s both incredibly obvious and throws one out of the gaming experience. It should have been easy to catch and fix. I mean, I’ve played the game a lot, but not as much as it should have been played in development. And if a big company with loads of dev money can miss things like this … well, it’s a cautionary tale for those of us on tight budgets with small dev teams. The moral of which is, be very alert, test EVERYTHING a LOT, and don’t be afraid to come out late if that means catching a few more obvious errors. And playtest EXTENSIVELY.

Or it may be that, like Germany’s EA hockey team, you can’t win for losing.

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What we talk about when we talk about AI

What do you think of when I say ‘artificial intelligence’? STNG’s Data? Skynet? Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics? Or more technical things … in games, things like pathfinding, or in academics, human-computer interactions, speech processing, and more? Since all of these things ‘are’ AI, it would be exceedingly vague to say Quantum Tiger Games is working on AI and leave it at that … like saying we’re creating a building, but failing to mention whether it’s a skyscraper, pyramid, or underground cave complex. So what do I mean when I talk about AI?

As you’ve probably gathered, really, my focus is on giving game characters human-like personalities—not only emotions but general inclinations toward a number of things, such as trust/distrust, sociability, assertiveness, creativity, neuroticism, and many more. For our They Vote! demo, we condense these tendencies and others into political leanings, so now we’re creating conservative, liberal, etc. AI creatures, assuming their political values are based mostly on personality and experiences. But despite my own inclinations, there’s more to it than this.

For SteamSaga, besides dealing with personalities, we’re dealing with some of the same issues as in any game—well, almost any game. For instance, any game with combat has some kind of AI to decide when the enemies will attack, how often, from which direction, etc. Some of this can be covered via personality, but some will be determined by pathfinding algorithms dealing with whether the enemy can see the player, how it can get there around any intervening obstacles, etc. Pathfinding seems to have become the more important element for game AI, and we now have myriad ways for enemies to figure out where our characters are and how to reach them, including A* (that’s “A-star”), Dijkstra, D*, Best First Search, etc. In SteamSaga, our turn-based battle system uses relatively simple pathfinding (as there is only an 8×8 grid to deal with), but the personalities of the enemies figure largely in their choice of who to attack or even whether to attack. Hate the Healer from past experience? Attack her first! Respect the Thief’s tactical abilities? Use caution when attacking. Attack as a pack? Follow the leader and all leap on the same poor player character …

Combining a sort of simple personality and pathfinding isn’t new at all; way back in Pac-Man the ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde) each had a different ‘personality’ (e.g., Blinky was set to always target Pac-Man’s current position, whereas Pinky would try to get ahead of Pac-Man and target four squares in front of our hero), and they also had general pathfinding algorithms (can’t move through walls, yet could ‘see’ through them to know Pac-Man’s position and direction).* Ours is different because we’re trying to get the AI to make human-like decisions in battle, and these evolve over time depending on NPC experiences (well, if they survive the first encounter, that is). Learned to love the Healer? Well, let her be for the moment. This time.

Remembering Pac-Man makes me think about AI in other old games, and maybe I’ve come up with one that had none: Asteroids. I mean, they’re just randomly moving asteroids (or moving due to the physics of the game), not calculating the best path to strike your ship. Unless you want to impart some kind of ‘Ghost in the Machine’ intelligence to the whole thing. And Space Invaders … maybe? Unless the firing pattern is more than just random. But anyway …

Beyond pathfinding and personality, we’d like to create AI-driven characters who can understand ‘natural language’—that is, could take any input speech (probably written to begin with) and actually parse it in a way that makes sense, then respond in kind, just like a person. You could thus type in anything rather than having to navigate dialogue trees, and the NPC could respond in a number of ways, rather than having to limit their ideas and inclinations to the trees as well. We’re nowhere near that; I’m not sure, actually, how close anyone is. I do know that I have yet to meet a chatbot that doesn’t spout jibberish (or deliberately vague language that could apply to anything) within a few sentences of dialogue. But I would like to use my background in English to make some headway on this. For now, though, SteamSaga uses a complex dialogue tree system, with NPC choices driven by the situation and their personalities. (Plus, even if you could give the NPCs free reign language-wise, they’d still need direction to make sure the game progressed. Then it’s NPCs as actors helping create their own scripts … hmmmm.)

That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about AI, at the moment, anyway: personality, pathfinding, and language. Next time, maybe an aside about Skynet and its ilk …

* Not that I noticed all this back in the day; I neither played Pac-Man well enough nor often enough to deduce the ghosts’ strategy, although I knew they seemed to behave strategically. This info is from GameInternals (http://gameinternals.com/post/2072558330/understanding-pac-man-ghost-behavior).

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What am AI talking about?

To open this blog I want to give you a look round at the kinds of things I’ll be chatting about, maybe define a term or two, and … get used to blogging again! I’ve not done this for years, not since I blogged at university to keep records of my master’s thesis progress and to let everyone back home know what I was up to. My first post back then was about waking up in the middle of the night after a nine-hour flight to London, watching Countdown on catch-up TV, and trying to make words from random letters whilst groggy as heck. It was, I gather from my notes, a mystical experience.

Although my experience at uni is now the fondest of faded memories, I still find working with AI, coding and research and creation, an amazing and, yes, sometimes mystical experience. My focus is on personality AI, so I spend many hours melding the logical madness of coding with the scientific intuition of human psychology. My Extreme AI engine takes the best of these hours and gives changing, human-like personalities to NPCs, and is exhibited in our upcoming RPG SteamSaga and the playable demo They Vote!. But you can read more about that elsewhere (and later in this blog, I’m sure).

So obviously I’ll be discussing human personality systems and their use in creating realistic and immersive NPCs, but I’ll also be talking about AI’s other uses, not only in games but in ‘traditional’ applications, discussing AI in popular culture, and even debating a few debates. I’ll likely wander a bit off-topic as well, knowing me. And if I were to have a small personal dream come true, at some point an AI I create will write an entry in this blog … and none will be the wiser! (Mad scientist laughter is, I think, implied.)

But for now, I’ll sign off and gear up for the next entry: What we talk about when we talk about AI.

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