Creating The Illusion Of Emotion Or Why You Care About Ones And Zeroes

Creating the Illusion of Emotion or Why You Care About Ones and Zeroes

  • March 19, 2012

As much as you may love video games and the stories they help you tell, it’s impossible to escape the fact that much of your experience is a trick of the mind.

The thing that separates video games from other forms of media, the ability to interact with and perhaps shape a virtual world, is mostly powered by the artificial intelligence of the characters that populate that experience.

But at its best gaming artificial intelligence systems, AI expert David Mark says, are, like 2-year-olds, basically sociopaths. What he means is that they are intrinsically anti-social. Getting past that problem doesn’t mean imbuing a character with personality, it means tricking gamers.

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Are Your Users S.T.U.P.I.D?

Are Your Users S.T.U.P.I.D?

  • November 14, 2011

How good design can make users effective

dunce-200It is an honest question: how smart are your users? The answer may surprise you: it doesn’t matter. They can be geniuses or morons, but if you don’t engage their intelligence, you can’t depend on their brain power.

Far more important than their IQ (which is a questionable measure in any case) is their Effective Intelligence: the fraction of their intelligence they can (or are motivated to) apply to a task.

Take, for example, a good driver. They are a worse driver when texting or when drunk. (We don’t want to think about the drunk driver who is texting.) An extreme example you say? Perhaps, but only by degree. A person who wins a game of Scrabble one evening may be late for work because they forgot to set their alarm clock. How could the same person make such a dumb mistake? Call it concentration, or focus, we use more of our brain when engaged and need support when we are distracted.

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Sony Says Games Will Read Emotions In 10 Years

Sony Says Games Will Read Emotions in 10 Years

  • August 28, 2011

Sony is talking crazy, indicating that games may be able to tell if you’re lying or depressed just ten years down the road. We’ll stick with growing crops, thanks.

Seriously, when do games stop being games and cross over into virtual reality? This was the question I asked Nvidia months ago at ECGC 2011, and was told there will always be a market for the high-end PC gamer with the rig nearly the size of a bookcase. But putting visual realism aside, what will happen when games suddenly stop acting like games, and become more like a self-aware super AI that could possibly one day sing you happy birthday or annihilate the human race?

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The Advanced Visualisation And Interaction Environment (AVIE) And Children’s Developing Brains

The Advanced Visualisation and Interaction Environment (AVIE) and Children’s Developing Brains

  • July 27, 2011

Image: The interactive experience at UNSW’s iCinema Centre. Source: The Australian

Lost in cyberspace

You only have to be the parent of a child over the age of seven to know what I’m talking about: the vacant eyes so preoccupied by what’s on screen that they can’t focus on your face for more than a few seconds before being drawn back into the cyberworld.

As you talk, your little darling types or toggles. “Are you listening to me?” you ask, only to be told in a precocious tone: “Yeahhhh. I’m multitasking, Mum.”

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Simplification: A Review Of Civilization V

Simplification: A Review of Civilization V

  • October 1, 2010

The latest release in the Civilization series has many improvements, from beautiful new graphics to redesigned gameplay. Many features in Civilization IV have been streamlined or eliminated, in favor of a simplified playing experience that will attract new players to the game. Having studied Civilization IV extensively (most of our publications are based upon research in Civilization IV), we will discuss some of Civilization V‘s many changes and the associated trade-offs in terms of player engagement and motivation.

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