October 14, 2004

Level 17: Tear-Jerker

by Andrew Stern · , 4:19 pm

Coming up for air after several intense weeks of crunch time at work, west coast travel and Façade debugging, I will simply link to Rob Zubek’s recent post summarizing a recent series of articles, essays and discussions about Interactive Story, starting with comments from Spielberg and Zemeckis, then a reaction from Chris Remo (who last month ranted well with “I kill you”), and follow-up reactions from Walter Kim and the Slashdot Games community.

On a related note, I’m excited to have just found out that a Game Developers Conference 2005 panel proposal of ours was just accepted, “Why Isn’t the Game Industry Making Interactive Stories?” The goal for the panel will be to discuss the obstacles to achieving a deeper vision of interactive stories / drama, and realistic ways to get there, in terms of technology and design. I’ll be moderating and participating in the discussion between panelists Neil Young of EA (fingered in the aforelinked essays), Warren Spector, Michael Mateas and more.

Michael and I also have a Programming lecture proposal accepted, on the topic of “Towards Deeper Natural Language in Games”, where we’ll discuss the need for language understanding and generation in order to create interactive experiences about human relationships and the human condition. Part of the talk will be describing the NL approach we took with Fašade, how well that worked and didn’t work, ideas for improvement and pointers to current research.

In the next week or so Michael and I plan to write up some posts describing some of our recent travel, including a workshop Michael attended at USC on evaluating embodied conversational agents, and a day we spent at USC’s military-funded Institute for Creative Technologies, one of the world’s largest academic labs focused on AI-based interactive characters and drama, applied to training.