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The Mimesis project is a subproject of the Liquid Narrative group at North Carolina State University.

"The mimesis project explores the use of computer game engines (e.g., Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2003) as test-beds for research in artificial intelligence, interactive entertainment and educational software. mimesis is a system architecture specifically designed to integrate AI control into an existing 3D gaming environment."

Liquid narrative

"BBC is running a story on how US scientists are working on improving AI - with potential benefits for coming games. The system, called Liquid Narrative, allows to avoid scripted storylines, and finally gives us, the gamers, full freedom to do whatever we want to do. R. Michael Young, the project coordinator, says: 'Game companies are realising that story telling has a lot of potential that has not been tapped yet.'"

The BBC story, or rather, perhaps, what the head of the Liquid Narrative Group is saying, is remarkably accurate:

"By limiting what players can do, game makers keep their story on track but this can make players feel like extras rather than the star of the unfolding drama."

I am not surprised that some heavy AI is involved - too heavy for most game developers perhaps. It's going to be interesting to see if the final experience is going to be both fun and dramatically coherent.

Links: The BBC Story. Liquid Narrative.

(From Slashdot, by way of Kent Quirk.)

The audience is listening

Although only marginally related to interactive entertainment, this article on Gary Rydstrom and the evolution of cinematic sound standards (including THX) to be quite interesting. Sound is an essential element of modern games, and the conflict between home theater and cinemas has some effect on the games industry. After all, we're competing with both.

Life as a tester

Spiegel Online has a decent article on life as a game tester. Nothing new, but a good overview for outsiders: lots of people want to do it, many hope it's a way into the industry, but it's still hard work.

(Thanks to Thorsten Röpke for the link.)

Jurie blows his own horn

The RPGDot Top 100 role-playing games contains the three first games I worked on: Amberstar (#71), Ambermoon (#70) and Albion (#65). I was lead programmer on all three games, working with such fine people as Thorsten Mutschall, Erik Simon, Karsten Köper, Michael Bittner and many others.

Every time I read something about these games on the internet, I am filled with happy thoughts, because working on those games was a lot of fun (or at least it seems that way now), but also a creeping unease caused by the fact that those games were released over seven years ago.

Mass market LAN party

This article on Spiegel Online (in German) reports that Ubisoft / Blue Byte is organizing a Settlers LAN party from the 6th to the 9th of February. It looks like information about the next Settlers title, which is in real-time 3D, will be revealed there. 130 people have already said they'd be coming. Every fifth participant is female, every tenth participant is over 50. The article argues that this is not your typical LAN party audience. (The author's theory on why women like The Settlers is not very flattering, in my opinion.)

A man with a plan

A man with a plan

John Carmack has updated his .plan.

As usual, fully understanding it requires major knowledge of video hardware, 3D APIs, 3D API standardization politics, low-level engine design, etc. But I think it's still worth reading, I usually get a useful insight or two out of his writing.

(Thanks to Tobi for helping with the link.)