North Side Unveils Bot Colony, The World's First Conversation Video Game At Gdc

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24th March 2009, 01:00am - Views: 897

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North Side Unveils Bot Colony, The World's First Conversation Video Game at GDC

in San Francisco

MONTREAL, Mar. 23 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

    North Side Inc., of Montreal, will unveil a prototype of its Bot Colony(TM)

title ( ) at GDC in San Francisco on March 25 - 27 (booth 5016

NH). Bot Colony(TM) is the first game ever where the player can converse with the

characters in English. The language used is completely unrestricted: the player

simply speaks and the characters answer naturally using speech, asking questions,

seeking clarifications or offering comments in return. During this interaction,

the characters learn new concepts and facts from the player, and use them

immediately in the game.


    The introduction of conversation technology into games should open up

gaming to people of wider demographics. The company hopes that Bot Colony

will appeal to both sexes, to a wider age group, and to people from different

cultures. Since in order to get through to the robots in Bot Colony one needs

to express himself very clearly, the game may help players improve their

English and analytical thinking.

    Natural language understanding by computer is one of the formidable

technical problems that has remained unsolved until now. Achieving a natural,

intelligent dialogue between a person and a machine has been sometimes

referred to as passing the Turing Test. North Side has worked in this area

for 6 years, and though it does not claim that Bot Colony(TM) passes the

Turing Test yet, it believes that Bot Colony has overcome some major

obstacles in achieving a natural dialogue with machines.

    North Side Inc.

    North Side Inc. has been conducting R&D in natural language understanding

since 2002, with a first application in virtual crewmember training (team

trainers where some of the human trainees are absent, and are replaced by

intelligent agents who speak on their behalf). The decision to unveil this

technology through a videogame was made in 2007.

    According to the company, the technology powering Bot Colony(TM) has

applications that go beyond gaming: it holds the key for a radically

different e-commerce experience, where a consumer will simply speak to

his/her computer to buy travel and banking products, seek information, or

access customer support. These applications are actually demonstrated in the

game: the player has to rent a hotel room, order food in a restaurant, or buy

consumer goods, all through normal conversation as if he/she was speaking

with another human.


    The initial release of Bot Colony(TM) game is planned for the PC/Internet

platform. Bot Colony(TM) is an online game: the player's PC will run Anitron,

North Side's proprietary 3D game engine, Nuance speech-to-text and Neospeech

text-to-speech software. The servers running the language processing and

reasoning software run on multi-core computers with tens of giga-bytes of

memory each. The server massive hardware requirements limit the number of

players that can be accommodated simultaneously. A paid-up subscription will

be essential to add more servers and accommodate players beyond the

restricted Beta program. Registration for a free, restricted Beta program

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will open at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

    SOURCE:  North Side Inc.

    CONTACT: North Side Inc.


             Fax +1-514-935-4047



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