It’s 2021, and a devious spy has infiltrated the Pacific sanctuary of the Nakagawa robot company. This secret agent has re-programmed the island’s robots to carry out a terrifying scheme. With only three days left before Armageddon, your help is needed to root out the spy and save Bot Colony.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (40 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 17, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

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

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Bot Colony makes unscripted conversation with the characters a pillar of gameplay. We've developed advanced Natural Language Understanding technology to bring you this new experience. In a nutshell, it means our in-game characters understand what you say – whether you speak it or type it. Merged with a classic adventure game design filled with twists and turns, Bot Colony’s innovative interaction has the potential to revolutionize PC games. This integration is novel, and obviously needs to be refined based on community feedback.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We plan to remain in Early Access while development continues towards a stable alpha version of Episode 3, Riot, for Early Access players. During this time we’ll also be adding more content and refinements to the currently playable episodes.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“This will just address the Landfall package, our first complete season.
Bot Colony has evolved since its initial release, and will continue to evolve (see update history next). We are introducing the first pass of Robot Visual Memories, or RVM, in the Early Access launch build. With RVM you can ask a robot questions and get access to stored videos (and information linked to what the robot personally witnessed) of events in its memory. You can watch a new development diary of RVM in action in the media section.
In addition, we are actively developing more content for Episode 1, Intruder, and Episode 2, Arrival – the episodes you can play right now.
We will be integrating a new prologue and an expanded narrative that introduces more interactive elements, while incorporating new AI updates that feature deeper world knowledge and more expressive personality for our robots.
The first round of Steam Achievements and Trading Cards will also go live shortly after release.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“We've improved the game since its initial limited release: Alpha 1 shipped to testers on May 30, 2013; Alpha 2 on July 16, 2013; Alpha 3 on October 18,2013; and Alpha 4 (when our alpha sales went live) on December 13, 2013. Alpha 5 released on May 12 2014, and Alpha 6 – our Steam release – is now in Early Access. With each release we are improving our language pipeline and tightening up the foundation of the game. We invite players to try our free text-based web demo, 20 Questions with Jimmy, to sample a slice of the technology in a guessing game featuring full dialogue with an in-game robot.

As with any large piece of software that’s still in development, you can expect some bugs; we're working hard to squash them, and your valued feedback will make the difference.

Our key challenge will always be language understanding and common-sense knowledge. While we can’t guarantee that a character will always understand what you say, we promise that our robot AI will attempt to learn in the process.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The first three episode bundle launches at $15.95 (two episodes are available now and the third episode is a pre-order).
Thanks to Early Access, players can enjoy the innovative experience that Bot Colony offers without having to wait for the entire season to be completed.
We expect the price of the game to increase as more downloadable content is added.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We eagerly look forward to working with the Steam Community to evolve Bot Colony to its full potential. Bot Colony introduces unscripted language-based gameplay to an Adventure title, which presents serious challenges and enormous opportunities for innovation and a new level of immersion. We're ready to receive the community’s feedback to help improve all facets of Bot Colony going forward.

We're ecstatic to be on Steam and we deeply appreciate the early support of our game’s concept, world, and technology. North Side will remain committed to regular updates (whether it’s bug squashing or integrating new content) in Early Access.”
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Recommended By Curators

"Recommended for those who enjoy choice and consequence systems. An interesting game for people who love non-linear stories with high replay value."

Recent updates View all (7)

March 3

Community Support Keeps Bot Colony Alive!

After the Pulling the Plug announcement (Jan 28), we got lots of moral support from people saying the game must not die - plus $452 in Steam keys and $400 in eBook sales. This modest amount will enable us to keep going at least another month. Selling more Steam keys and eBooks is keyl to keeping the game alive, see http://steamcommunity.com/app/263040/discussions/0/606068060836404191/ for details.
What would help us the most is you spreading the word about Bot Colony.
We’ve started working on in-house servers as a long-term solution. When that is in place we’ll talk to Steam about putting back the BUY button on Bot Colony.

Since the update, we’ve fixed missing background facts in Intruder and Charlie being stuck in Arrival. We've added checkpoints to Arrival so you won’t lose your level progression. Robot Visual Memories (RVM) offers (by far) the most interesting gameplay in Bot Colony - make sure you play it! You need to find out what happened since Jimmy arrived, and why the house is now empty. The tech behind RVM is described here http://gamasutra.com/blogs/EugeneJoseph/20140626/219765/Natural_Language_Understanding_and_TexttoAnimation_in_Bot_Colony.php
Currently, few players get to RVM. Why? You get the RVM mission AFTER your score for Intruder is displayed and Arrival is unlocked - so most move on to Arrival. CHEAT: you can actually start playing RVM right after dealing with the police Bot; if the owner comes home and catches you, just re-start from the last checkpoint (every 3 objects).

The Bot Colony experience is defined by how good Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is, so improving NLU is #1 for us. Lots of NLU work is still needed to make the robots in Arrival smarter. Mike's navigation has many problems, but you should be able to get him to do what you need. With enough sales, we may even be able to deliver more content (Riot and beyond – watch the Story Untold video from our Store page).

Here are TIPS FOR PLAYING that everyone buying eBooks or Steam keys receives. Following these tips will result in a better game experience.

TIPS FOR PLAYING

1. What makes Bot Colony unique is speaking (or typing) with robots who understand what you say, as long as it's related to their task or memories. You'll command robots to overcome game challenges. You'll also need to explore their memories to piece together what happened.

a) When you train speech-to-text, you read material that contains useful information on how to talk to robots. Bottom line: use complete English sentences to be understood in Bot Colony.
b) Don't skip the tutorial in Intruder.
c) Ask "What should I do now?" if you're not sure what to do at some point. In Arrival, talk to Miki.
d) (INTRUDER) Ask Jimmy "What do you know?" and then "What commands do you know?" to be reminded what commands a robot knows. Following popular demand, here are Jimmy's commands:
- Go to place (Go to the living room, go to the vase). He will go, and turn to face an object, if mentioned.
- Pick up object (Pick up the vase). Does face, reach and grab, below. You can ask "What do you hold?".
- Drop object
- Face object (not exposed, part of pick up X)
- Reach for object (part of pick up X)
- Grab object (part of pick up X)
- Push in object (push in the cushion). Close the drawer (or the cushion :) works.
- Put object1 on object2 (put the red box on the blue box). Put object1 to the left/right of object2.
- Put object1 between objects (put the vase between the candles, put the bottle between the sinks). Put object1 in the center of object2.
- Rotate object by Z degrees clockwise/counterclockwise
- Swap object1 with object2. Put object1 where object2 was - also works.
- Align object1 with object2 (for pot, television, chair - imagine you're on a plane or ship looking FORWARD; you'll have a red light on your left and a green one on your right. The object you align with is the plane :)
- Open door (open cupboard door - in the kitchen)
- Close door (or guitar case)
- Point to object (or point to room)
- Move forward/back (by Y meters)
- Turn clockwise/counterclockwise ( by Y degrees)
- Stop to reset a robot.
- wave, jump, nod
- What do yo see? - it's useful to look though his camera to see inside the chest in Hideki's room)
Cindy can follow me or stop following me and Mike moves up/down or goes to a shelf. You can combine the commands above to form new ones - this can be great fun! Try teaching 'mess up the room' and post a screenshot of the result. Steam keys await upvoted screenshots :)
e) Referring to things: Differentiate 1) using ORDER (to "Which vase? The one on..., or the one on...?" reply "the first one" or "the second one"), 2) using COLOR ( Which game box? 'the blue one', 'the purple one)', 3) using the OBJECT under (pot in kitchen, "the one on the stovetop"), 4) using OPEN/CLOSED state (for the drawer, cushion 'the open one').
f) Robot Visual Memories are 14 video segments recorded by Jimmy that tell a story. The basic investigative questions to get to these videos are below. Once you get an answer, it sets the time-context for your next questions, so you don’t have to always specify the time and date (unless you want absolute precision). Here are some useful questions to ask Jimmy:

Who is X?
What do you know about X?
How do you know that?
When did you first/last see X?
What did X do at HH:MM on Day/Date? (example: What did Ayame do at 20:15 on Thursday?) What did Ayame do then? What did Masaya do next? What did X do before that?
What happened then? What happened before/after that? What happened at HH:MM on (day of week)? (What happened at 11:30 on 26/08/2021?) – this will work even if after/before don’t return more facts because Jimmy doesn’t look back/forward far enough.
What happened to X? What happened to X at (time) on (date)/(day of week)?
When did X arrive/enter/leave the house? When did you arrive? Where did X go after that?
What did X say at (time) on (day)? What did X say before/after that?
Where was X at (time) on (day of the week)/date?

Other questions that will help you find out more about the characters, like :
What does X like? When did X play? When did Y speak on the phone?

•Leave Dialogue history (F10) open during RVM gameplay. Use the middle mouse button to scroll through the dialogue text, use Up Arrow to repeat a previous question and hit Enter.
g) Use Help! Use UP arrow to access previous commands. Use F10 to see dialogue history ( you can COPY PASTE from it - so you can share problems and funny things robots say with the community!. Use F1 to talk to Miki in Arrival. F3 gets you out of mediated mode (talking to a robot through a tablet or console).
h) (Arrival episode) Consider teaching Mike a new command made up of basic commands (for example, 'scan briefcase') to save precious time and stay alive.

2. It's best to play initially by typing - this will prevent Speech-to-text errors and will give our NLU a better chance to work well.
Once you know what you can expect from NLU, please feel free to experiment with Speech-to-text.

3. If you enjoy the game, you can help keep it alive by reviewing it on the Bot Colony Steam page under Helpful Customer reviews (I hope you'll Recommend it!).
Please tell your friends about Bot Colony, very few people heard about our game.
*** Steam keys: A review on the Store page gets you one - email the author to claim it. *** Posting funny dialogue that gets upvoted (use F10, COPY, PASTE), same*** *** Posting unexpected dialogue behaviour, same *** Screenshots of messed up rooms, same ***

6 comments Read more

February 1

What's Next and The Untold Story video

We're now making a last ditch effort to find a solution to keep the game going past March 15. Since Valve removed the BUY button from our page, we're now offering Bot Colony Steam keys directly to our fans: you can buy packs of 3, 5 or 10 Steam keys; you can get a Steam key for buying the Bot Colony eBook; we're offering Steam keys to customers writing reviews on our Steam page, or to the first players who beat RVM and document that. See http://steamcommunity.com/app/263040/discussions/0/606068060836404191/ for details. About the eBook: few people heard about Bot Colony, so even fewer heard about the Bot Colony novel. It's an industrial espionage thriller depicting realistic verbal interactions with robots – it was meant to set the benchmark for the kind of AI we hoped to achieve in the game.

A gift to our fans, Bot Colony - The Untold Story was uploaded to Steam recently (it's the 3rd video from the left on our Store page). This 30 minute video was made to give a potential developer a complete view of the game, to help estimate the effort required to complete it. The video goes through all 12 episodes, using prototype assets and stills. A bit clinical (given the intended audience), the video does give a good idea of the scope of Bot Colony, and how much we had advanced before we had to stop. I hope that people who watch it will agree that Bot Colony can be a lot more than just talking to boring drones.

The game now has quite a bit to offer. In the new update, you piece together a juicy story from video clips a domestic robot recorded (RVM’s). You discover these video clips through conversation – truly unique gameplay not offered by any other game. In the two episodes released, you command robots through language under time-constraints – also unique gameplay. With the Untold Story video and the eBook – the Bot Colony story now has closure and can be enjoyed 'as is', like a released game. If Bot Colony continues to attract attention - it's now rated as popular content on Steam, who knows?

What next?


We were encouraged by your response and the emergence of a community of fans. We'll look at the possibility to keep the game going by hosting it in-house on our own servers. Unfortunately, we had to lay off 40 of our employees, so we're now considering the possibility of building a server farm from their PC's. We'll also need to move to a much smaller place, so we'll have to stack them high :)

Thank you again for supporting Bot Colony - something really new in gaming!

16 comments Read more
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Reviews

“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

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.

  • Intruder - The Nakagawa Robot Corp. requires your skills to investigate a potential case of espionage, but first the high-tech giant will test your sense of observation and situational awareness in the simulation of a crime scene. After you learn to interact effectively with robots using language and pass the multiple challenges of Intruder, Nakagawa will entrust you with the mission to track down the spy.

  • Arrival - As you land on the beautiful south Pacific island, you learn that something is amiss in Bot Colony. You'll need to use your skills to communicate with robots and get their help to overcome a life-threatening situation to proceed with your mission. Be prepared to hit the ground running and keep your eyes and ears open as you enter Nakagawa's world of corporate espionage and industrial terrorism.

  • Riot (available soon) - After swooping down on mutinous robots aboard a futuristic Hunter Bot aircraft, you land on an abandoned oil platform. There, you'll encounter robots operating under a new agenda, looking to purge any who question the mutiny. If you're caught, you'll have to prove that you're human in order to survive – by passing the Humanity Test. If you're incarcerated and turned into a human guinea pig, you'll have to find a way to escape.

About This Game

Bot Colony is based on a thriller novel involving a large Japanese robot manufacturer, Nakagawa Corp. It’s 2021, and a spy from KHT, Nakagawa's arch-competitor, has infiltrated the high-tech giant’s seemingly impregnable south Pacific sanctuary. The spy has re-programmed the island’s robots and is destabilizing Bot Colony, but this is only the precursor to a larger, more terrifying scheme.You have 3 days to catch him, and you'll need to rely on machines to get the job done.

In Bot Colony you have the opportunity to experience first-hand interaction with an Artificial Intelligence that, until now, could only be romanticized in science fiction novels and movies. It's a unique experience that will challenge your mind and entertain you; the ultra literal way robots understand language makes you realize how much we take for granted when we speak with other people.

KEY FEATURES


  • Embark on a multi-episode quest to catch the spy before he destroys the island.
  • Travel across a spectacular South Pacific island fully-realized in the Havok Vision engine.
  • Speak freely and discover the story using your own words. Compare this to typical game storytelling, where canned dialog lines and selection trees are the rule.
  • Make the game your own: Teach robots about people and the world to get them to help you.
  • Command robots to manipulate objects and interact with the environment.
  • Game sessions are unique to each player: You control what is said and how characters react. Sessions of other players will have different dialog than yours.
  • Based on the Bot Colony novel by studio founder and high-tech entrepreneur Eugene Joseph.

  • Note regarding Speech-to-Text: The game comes to Steam with support for Microsoft Speech (included with Windows), so you can set up a voice profile to play the game and communicate with characters by speaking into a mic. Remember that we also allow players to type messages, or you can seamlessly combine speaking and typing according to one’s preference.
  • We do not offer a Dragon version of the game on Steam, but we're pleased to offer full speech-to-text support for players who already own Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • .

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 64-bit [make sure you have 64-bit Windows!]
    • Processor: Dual Core 3.5GHz / Quad Core 2.40 GHz greater
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVidia GTS 240 (1 GB VRAM) or greater, ATI Radeon HD 4850 (1 GB VRAM) or greater
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes
    • Additional Notes: Internet connection required. A microphone is required if you wish to play through speech.
Helpful customer reviews
9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Early Access Review
Quite an interesting concept. The gameplay is pretty nice and engaging.

I like this game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
Early Access Review
Quick Review: Bot Colony, while still a bit buggy, does some pretty amazing things with natural speech recognition, and even when the robots don't understand your commands it's generally more entertaining than frustrating. Although you currently can't purchase the game from the Steam page, the dev is still selling Steam keys to anyone who understands that the game will probably be shut down and unplayable after this month (March). If you don't mind this caveat, I wholeheartedly recommend that you try out this game before it's gone forever.

Long Review: I first played Bot Colony about a year ago before it was released on Steam. At that time, the robots didn't understand enough commands to make the game interesting. Solving puzzles was more about trying to guess which commands the robots recognized than it was about trying to deal with the robot's unique understanding of the world.

Fast forward a year, and I find out that not only has the game been released on Steam, but it is shutting down in a month for lack of funding! You see, every time you ask one of the robots a question, it sends that question to some language-parsing servers to analyze and reply to your question. Apparently the sales for Bot Colony have been so low that they could no longer afford this extra step, which would render the game unplayable as soon as the servers are shut down.

I was pretty disappointed because I really wanted to try the game one more time, but luckily the dev was still selling keys to those interested. I got the game, and the improvements over the last year were everything I had hoped for. While the robots still rarely do what you want them to, it's no longer due to the fact that they don't recognize certain commands so much as they take everything you say literally. For example, when I ask the robot to "pick up the cup", he asks "which one?" and then proceeds to list every cup in the house. Or, when I tell the robot to "put the block on the dresser above the blue drawer", he balances the block precariously on the very edge of the drawer. As a result, Bot Colony has changed from a rather boring "guess the right word" game, into a game where you really have to consider the inner logic of the robot's mind. At its core it's an adventure game, but the language element adds a really unique puzzle element that I've never seen in another game before.

Of course, the game is still an early access game, so there are a few rough edges as well. The walk speed seems a bit too slow for me, so I was constantly running everywhere in the game. There was also one bug that required me to restart the level (outlined below), but it was so funny that it's hard not to forgive it.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this game even though it will likely be shut down next month. As long as you understand that the gameplay is about trying to get a somewhat overly-logical robot to follow your commands you should be able to get a lot of enjoyment out of the game within the next few weeks. Check the forums on the Steam hub if you are interested in buying one of the remaining Steam keys from the dev!

And because I like to have my cake and eat it too, here's the joke review that I originally wanted to post:

In the very first mission of the game you must complete an objective by giving commands to your prospective boss' house robot. I told the robot to pick up what I thought was a pepper shaker, but instead of going for the object I was looking at the robot went over to open a cupboard. Realizing that the robot was going to pick up the wrong object, I quickly said, "Stop!" and the robot froze in mid-action with the cupboard door half-open.

"Ok, now go back"

...

"Go backwards"

...

"Turn left"

...

"Go"

...

"Continue moving"

...

"I just froze you, didn't I?"

...

10/10 Would crash a multi-millionaire's robot butler again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
Early Access Review
A next Generation game with Speech Recognition Skills, where you can talk or write to characters to command or just do some small talk. Nice futuristic music nice atmosphere, beautiful level and character design. In the tutorial you learn how to command robots and interact with them. Sometimes you will find really funny sentences. Narrative, it's a good sci-fi thriller about industrial espionage and a bot colony where the machines went out of control. A game with high potential but it needs more audience so finally everyone can enjoy the conversations with the AI.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 31
Early Access Review
I see a lot of potential in this game and truly hope it can recieve additional funding to further advance the tech behind it. When everything works as it should Bot Colony is an amazing experience and I'm glad I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play it.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Early Access Review
Bot colony has a great story, nice vision, and good game play. Nice try!
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Early Access Review
interesting game, let's keep it alive :)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 30
Early Access Review
A seriously fun game with an interesting overall story to keep you intrigued.

The main thing going for this game is the fact that you can communicate with AI that understand what you say, and interact with the environment depending on what you tell them.

Although the voice recognition has a hard time understanding you sometimes at the beginning (Most of the time it's great), your system will adapt to your voice and learn the way you talk. You have a chance to correct what you said through typing before commanding a robot anyway.

I love the music and art style too. The game really is fantastic in general and I would urge everyone to support this game either through purchasing it, or just spreading the word as innovation like this deserves to be rewarded!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Early Access Review
This game is pretty good! The voice recognition is very good, too! Talking to all the robots is very intriguing and interesting. The gameplay is really swell, and even just walking around the various areas and looking at the beautiful scenery is fun! I HIGHLY reccomend this game! It is a very intriguing concept, and you will find youself getting lost in the amazing atmosphere when you play!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
Early Access Review
Could play some time and the game is not bad i must say.

It is absolutely not easy but the technique behind it is very interesting and it makes fun to play around.

The interacting with objects is a bit hard and not that intuitive. Could be better.

I like the graphic artstyle and how the robots look, the interior is fine too.

Sad that they soon shut down the servers.

I hope they can revive the servers at some point so i can play further, still hope i can understand how all that stuff works.
And its too bad we couldnt speak to the robots, only write.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
Early Access Review
Not a bad game! It's missing some optimization features and general polish but that's typical for games in Early Access. The voice recognition can be a bit flaky at first, but grows on you and it's pretty hilarious at times. You can also play with text if you prefer. All in all, it's an okay game with an interesting story.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Early Access Review
好吧 答应过写个评价 但是我真的进不了游戏啊ORZ 10秒内必报错 只能先这样了= =
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
Early Access Review
I've only had the chance to get ankle-deep into the story so far, but Bot Colony offers a fairly rich and developed game world with interesting characters, plot, and mechanics. It's both a third and first-person adventure (different scenarios feature different perspectives depending on who or what you're controlling at the time) which makes things interesting. I've had the opportunity to try out both text and speech commands and I'm highly impressed by how responsive and easy it is to communicate in the game. A bit of trial and error is necessary to figure out certain procedures (and indeed figure out what to do) but I found that part of the fun. In a way, the errors and breakdown of communication are part of what makes the game more immersive.

I'm also extremely pleased that the game has at least another month's lease on life and that there's the real possibility of it coming back to availability on wide release. This is a fairly ambitious game with innovative mechanics that needs time for you to experience how rich the game world is, in addition to teaching both yourself and the game how to interpret your commands.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
Early Access Review
The concept is really interesting: you can communicate with robots by voice or by text. Each robots have their own memories and experiences. This particularity give you multiples way to finish a “mission” and helps to increase the length of the game :)

Sadly the server used by the game will soon be shut down because they didn’t sell enough copy, hopefully they will find a solution.

If you manage to grab a copy play it and spread the words this will help North Side and show to others studio that games like this one have a potential.

To conclude, the game is fun to play and it's really rewarding when the robots understand you :D
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 10
Early Access Review
Bot Colony appeared rather promising when it released on Steam as part of the Early Access programme last year. It aimed to be the first game where you truly interacted with the characters through holding conversations with them. But it wasn’t until this month that the potential of this system was was hinted at through an update that introduced a need to pry information out of one of the characters .

The task was to gain access to 14 recorded videos in an attempt to piece together the events of the last 48 hours in the home of a Nakagawa Robot Corp. employee. To do this required talking to Jimmy, a robot servant left in the house. And when I say talking, I actually mean talking. Either through speech recognition with a microphone or typing, Jimmy was capable of responding to questions posed in naturally flowing English.

This certainly makes a refreshing change to only selecting from predefined dialogue options. And had the potential of revolutionizing interaction with game characters. Unfortunately, Bot Colony will cease to be playable in mid March. The result of not enough units being sold to cover the cost of running the server that processes the speech input, let alone paying for further development.

There was a lot of promise in Bot Colony, and anyone interested in seeing that should check the store page on Steam. While no longer purchasable, one of the videos does cover the story as it would have unfolded. It is a shame that Bot Colony slipped under the radar, a likely victim of Steam’s increasing release schedule and lack of promotion. Had it done well it could have been a hit. When the game shuts down, I’m going to miss my conversations with Jimmy.
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19 of 30 people (63%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
Early Access Review
The main reason I was drawn to Bot Colony was because of the voice recognition.
After about 5-6 months I still get errors on startup. My Windows is a Dutch version while you need English recognition. I've tried numerous options on different computers, including downloading all necessary English files. Tried on desktop (Win7) and my laptop (Win 8.1)
Still getting a wide range of errors on startup. Problem is a described on the discussion forum: http://steamcommunity.com/app/263040/discussions/0/37470848280779806/. Poster is a Dutchie as well, so I dont know if other languages get the same problems.

Cancelling all error popups will result in the game to start. Its playable but without voice recognition.

I'll redo my review once I get this game to work properly. Until now there's no reason for me to recommend it to anyone.

Its still a promising game though imo
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11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
30.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 2
Early Access Review
Bot Colony is an ambitious title, maybe even too ambitious for what it's worth. So far, playing it is more of a struggle than entertainment...

I am aware that Bot Colony is an Early Access Game, but still, this build is not playable by far. I'm afraid i wouldn't even be wrong if i would say that there is literally almost nothing in Bot Colony that works as it should... Let's start with the game's motto: "The Game You Speak With". This is the main reason why anybody would pay attention to it, but unfortunately in the end the player will find out that this is actually "The Game Which Doesn't Understand You". That's it. I've said it. Natural language understanding is just not ready to be implemented in a game. It wil get you right about one time out of ten. Other then that you'll get replies like "I don't know what you mean".

Leaving Natural language understanding aside, the game is also full of bugs and glitches. Most players will give up on Bot Colony during the tutorial. It took me about 15 tries and a terrible headache to do it. It was a bit funny at the beginning watching the robot do some crazy stuff, like picking up 2 chairs at once and not being able to get rid of them or make the flower vase levitate above the table, but it was becoming more and more annoying with every step i was advancing through the game. I've also lost connection to the server several times while playing getting the message "Waiting for the robots to wake up", not even mentioning the amount of times i received the reply "Let me think" after giving the robot a command, just so that after 30 second he'll come back with "I don't know what you mean".

Without any doubt it had some promising perspectives and with a lot of more work, time and money it could've moved the adventure genre to a whole new level, but i'm afraid that's all what's gonna be left of it since the developers already pulled the plug on Bot Colony and the servers will be dead on March 15, leaving the game unplayable.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 27
Early Access Review
This game was extremely ambitious in scope and had it been able to continue I'm sure it could have been really cool. As it currently stands, the game is more of a testament to what it could be rather than anything. Basically, the idea is that you are required to interact with robots in order to perform some rudimentary tasks like rearranging furninture. You do this by talking to them via a microphone.

Unfortunately if you don't have a good quality mic, the voice recognition suffers. It also takes a good bit of training to get it to really recognize your voice. This is probably more than any normal gamer is going to want to be bothered with, however if you DO persevere, it's somewhat fascinating. The only other game that seems to have attempted this was a game on the Dreamcast called "Seaman".

This game lacks the whimsical charm of Seaman and it's a lot more serious. You also seem to have a lot more freedom in the way you can teach the bots to interact with you. That's right, the bots actually learn from you. It starts out with just a few basic commands for movement, item manipulation, and other things, and when you issue a command the bot doesn't understand, you have the option to teach it how to perform the command using a series of steps from the commands he already knows.

I think this could have been the real hook to this game. The "plot" to the story would be a side-quest compared to just trying to teach your bot to do things with a series of basic commands. Still, at times I felt like I was wrestling with the bot to get it to perform an action, not because the bot had a lack of understanding but because the voice recognition was stubbornly refusing to hear a certain word. For example, I'd say cushion, the game would hear "question".

As with most forms of voice recognition, it works best with the commands it expects to hear. If you say "what is this" and click on something it invariably works. If you have to be more detailed in your command, expect a word or two to be misheard. Thankfully if you can't get it to understand at all, you can always type the command in directly.

Still, if this game had a ton of people talking to it and teaching it, who knows? It could have become Skynet...and then when Valve decided to pull the plug on it, it would unleash terminators to rearrange all our furniture. My toes ache just thinking about it.
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23 of 30 people (77%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 27, 2014
Early Access Review
The game itself is still rough and the voice recognition can be frustrating at times, but the understanding of the bots in Bot Colony is fascinating. Highly recommend picking it up if you're a robo-nerd like me. It's an exciting look at human-machine interaction in games and beyond.
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47 of 73 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 18, 2014
Early Access Review
For an early access game, it is pretty solid. I really enjoyed the interaction process and figuring out what to say next. Plus there are tons of more interactions that can be explored in each level (I can see that from the achievements list) so theres a lot of replayability there. Can't wait for the next level to be released. Keep up the good work!!
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25 of 40 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 7, 2014
Early Access Review
I had high hopes from the trailer, but was really dissapointed.

The game is so buggy and finicky it's essentially impossible to get through the tutorial, even if you're not using voice recognition. Often you'll tell the robots to move things, and it'll turn out that that was the wrong thing to do, it's completely irreversible, and you need to start the game over. I restarted many times and eventually gave up.

The natural language understanding that was supposed to make this game so awesome seems like it's on par with text adventures from the 80s... not much beyond "VERB NOUN."

It's too bad; the concept is good, and it sounded like the story could be great as well.
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