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.

3 Responses to “Level 17: Tear-Jerker”


  1. nick Says:

    Welcome back from crunch time and travels! I am looking forward to your & Michael’s posts and panel, and I’m particularly looking forward to hearing, or at least hearing about, “Towards Deeper Natural Language in Games.” I’ll have to see if I can possibly make it to GDC next year…

  2. andrew Says:

    Nick, I think you’d really get a lot out of the conference, it’s really one of the best annual shindigs around. And it’d be great fun to hang out in SF with you as well — SOMA has much better food and drink offerings than corporate downtown San Jose. (Oh, that’s right, you already know that, I believe you worked in South Park during the dotcom heyday, at Suck? I was there too, at PF Magic; you and I probably both waited on line together at Caffe Centro for panini, or maybe at Ecco’s takeout window for polenta with marscapone.)

    One of these days, we’ll get the whole GTxA gang together simultaneously in one physical location. Hasn’t happened yet.

    btw, looking again at Michael’s and my proposal, the actual title of the Programming lecture will be “Understanding the Player: Natural Language Processing for Games”.

  3. J. Says:

    If you put anyone on that panel, get Ron Gilbert.

    http://www.grumpygamer.com/2152210

    If you still have room, get Chris Avellone and Chris L’Etoile.

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