Friday, 27. May 2005

Rossum's Universal Robots

Dennis Jerz took note of the fact that I didn't reference Rossum's Universal Robots as precursors to AI. I admit that my decision to declare the time of publication of Alan Turing's Imitation Game idea to be a cutoff point, and concentrate on the period from 1950 to the present as the focus of this blog, is somewhat arbitrary. But were I to compile a list of AI precursors, I couldn't even hope to compete with Jorn Barger's Timeline of knowledge-representation, so I didn't even try. No, my way of adding value is to take that list and connect some dots that are there but are not connected yet.

So if you need to catch up on the real origins of AI, just read Barger's list. It starts with the year 13,700,000,000 BC. I can't beat that. The entry for Karel Capek's R.U.R. is minimal, however; Dennis Jerz has more information on the play, including a plot summary and photos of various historical productions.

Business proposal

Now that writers like John Milius work on games, how about building tools for them? What if Milius wouldn't just write a script for the engineers to implement, but could write an interactive character directly, all by himself, using normal prose, plus a set of rules? That's one of my goals - producing such a tool. I'm looking for investors. If you're interested, send me mail.

Progress Report

Alice of Wonderland hipped me to a feature that's up at Gamasutra: E3 Report: Developing Better Characters, Better Stories covers a panel discussion on the first day of the E3 Expo in Los Angeles.
Among the cast were Toby Gard, Game Designer for Crystal Dynamics and creator of Lara Croft; John Milius, the Hollywood screenwriter responsible for Apocalypse Now and Conan the Barbarian, who just had his first experience in games with the script for EA's Medal of Honor: European Assault; Joe Staten, Bungie Studios' Cinematics Director for both Halo and Halo 2, and Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine, creator of Psychonauts and former LucasArts designer, who graced us with Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, and a good portion of the script for the original two Monkey Island games.
Damn, I wish I could have been there to hear John Milius say:
"Drama is no different, in games or movies or whatever. You have to make your characters compelling and unpredictable."
I expect to see more writers on stage with the engineers in the future. I expect progress.

Update 27. May, 11:58: I forgot to put in the other hot John Milius quote:
"It's like acting," he says, "you have to know your characters."
You heard it here first.

Dramatic moment

Hugh MacLeod's take on Interactive Drama.

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