Enterprising Games – Peter Molyneux Keynote discussion

Peter was quick to point out to those in the audience from academia that he wasn’t doing ‘proper AI’, this was a game and he was interested in results.
Most games don’t care about the player; Peter asked if you can feel loved by a game? In part he proposed achieving this through a great story, recognising that you can generate a feeling of being cared for by good character interactions (NPCs), and they hope to achieve this result through AI. The game (Fable 2) has better memory about player’s presence & actions. You can also gain a family and children giving long term engagement.

The core of the discussion was their choice to focus on dog as the AI caring presence. The reason was quite basic; it’s much simpler to do really well. Peter almost immediately came out with the brilliant statement that ‘…the tongue engine isn’t quite right…’.
The dog has 3 basic rules – 1st rule, I will not aggravate you, I will try to help, I will look after myself. Great impact through use of controller, but you have no direct control over dog. He acts as emotional cue and guide (don’t need, or have mini-map). Peter started to think of in-game presence as ‘us’. You have the ability to hurt your dog and walk away, but it will faithfully try to return to you. In the minor demo walk through, Peter engaged a couple of small baddies but got the controller a bit wrong and shot his dog (by mistake). Instead of healing the dog, which he could do, he switched the point of view to the dog, and showed himself walking away from the limping, whimpering dog that was trying to follow its master. It was a surprisingly powerful demonstration of how blatantly you can manipulate emotion and get away with it (and I don’t even own a dog).

More prosaically, Peter noted that possibly easiest way to generate empathy is for NPCs to remember you and your actions. How many times have we gone into a shop only to be faced with the same 4 default option of buying, selling, chatting, or leaving?

Enterprising Games – Social Media

Social Media – Join the Revolution; lead by Ron Edwards, Ambient Performance. I met Ron at a Futurelab Research Update event last year where he was showing off his Gizmondo and it’s ability to use the camera to resolve relative movement indoors. The result was a convincing AR experience that could have very cool serious (and not so serious) gaming implications. So I’m really looking forward to what he has to cover.

Virtual tour on del.icio.us (ron777- socialmedia – be where the eyeballs are – probably needs to qualify eyeballs?) – wikipedia entry for Social Media links to Scoble (16 Feb 2007)! One of the limitations of live presenting with Digg is you have to go with what the echochamber is talking about, which may not be what you’re trying to get across. It also demonstrates the dangers of information overload.

Lots on read web, some on the write (YouTube) not much on the conversation. USA Today , every story has comments as an example of some social interaction (though obviously you can’t submit in the same way you can on Digg. There are case studies about business value of social media (need to find). Can you have a virtual presence or representative of the market – game character’s blog. PwC tried blogging and ended up driving their Google ranking. Big challenge for corporate knowledge management being the redaction of content into usable content / knowledge.

One site identified as interesting & relevant (among many) was e-clippings & serious games on NING, just beginning to see cross over 3D & data driven social sites, building cultural library of gestures to make more realistic virtualisation of real world. Monetisation through ads, speaking, book links – but isn’t social media media about the conversation rather than the money (because of rather than for; I think – check Ajit)? My bad it was from Confused of Calcutta, just can’t find the specific conversation thread….

What about the echo chamber? Danger of not actually getting to the audience you’re hoping to.

more links to follow – 08:24, 03-07-07 (some links added, more if/when I get time)