Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more
We’re happy to bring you a major update focused on what makes Bot Colony unique: language-based investigation. You now have a second mission in the Intruder episode: learn more about the family members and find out why the house was empty – by asking questions that will trigger Jimmy ‘s Robot’s Visual Memories (RVM’s). RVM’s are videos of significant events a robot (Jimmy in this case) witnessed. If you do well, you’ll see all the 14 RVM’s – your new challenge in Intruder, in addition to erasing all traces of the intrusion. You’ll be offered the RVM mission after you restore 18 objects to their original position (easier now since you can now Continue from the last checkpoint!).
With this update, Bot Colony offers more than commanding robots – the focus of the previous version. Now, you can investigate using your own words to discover the key information you need to advance in the game. To do this, we made a major improvement to our Natural Language Understanding pipeline – temporal Question Answering. We’ve always wanted to bring you a credible experience of speaking with machines. We hope that this update delivers on this vision.
We went to great lengths to reduce the percentage of IDK (I don’t know) answers. The key idea was to put in place a principle guiding what a robot should know: a robot should be able to answer questions about events that he experienced first-hand. Jimmy is now able to tell you how he came to know any item of information you’re uncovering (how do you know that?) – he’ll answer I saw it, or I heard it. To offer a completely credible experience, we’ve actually placed Jimmy and the characters in the scene, and then enacted the situations Jimmy observed using our text-to-animation technology: we moved the characters around like in a theatre performance and created a textual database out of their movements and utterances, that COULD have been used to drive our text-to-animation technology IF 1) we had IK for all the animations you’ll see (slapping, hugging, playing with toys, etc.) 2) animation quality was good enough. Since 1) and 2) are not yet there, the cut scenes were done by animators – but in principle they could have been generated just by commanding the characters to do what they do. The distances from Jimmy to another character he observes and the angles were logged during this enactment process, and you can query them. We’ve done this for 48 hours for the Intruder house. In the future, we may extend this to Arrival and other levels. By placing Jimmy in the situations he actually witnesses and recording what he saw and heard, we get more credible, complete and coherent information about what happened (Jimmy would be able to tell you who he saw at 11:30:41 on Thursday 27 August 2021, and that the distance was 10.3 m). This approach provides better coverage for question answering and reduces IDK – previously, Jimmy’s fact base had to be written manually. This is why this update took several months to release.
We plan to continue investing in making our robots more ‘intelligent’, and enabling you to get to information irrespective of the words you’re using – this is what is unique about the Bot Colony game experience, that no other game offers. We appreciate any feedback about things that didn’t work as you expected.
Finally, with this Update we’re also releasing a video of Riot (Landfall Episode 3) Prototype. In the Riot Humanity Test, you converse with robots about what emotions a certain situation is likely to trigger – their goal is to learn this to be able to able to react like a person ( simulate a person’s emotional behaviour through quasi-emotions, as described in the Bot Colony novel). All done through conversation, this is truly genre-defining gameplay!
“Despite...my occasional exasperation with Jimmy, it turns out I enjoy the hell out of telling robots to do things and then watching them do things. When it works, it’s oddly satisfying. When it doesn’t work, it’s generally amusing.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Season One: Landfall is the initial Bot Colony core game featuring the Intruder and Arrival playable episodes, in addition to the pre-order and first access to Riot, this season’s third episode.
Copyright © 2014 North Side Inc.
Bot Colony is a registered trademarks of North Side Inc.
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