Bot Colony

FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Bot Colony Investigation
(Major Update)

THE FIRST REAL CONVERSATION GAME

While our new upgrade took (much) longer than anticipated, we hope it was worth the wait. Bot Colony now delivers on the promise to be the first real conversation game. We’re added 2 - 3 hours of unique content in the form of a new investigation mission. Bot Colony was originally built on the gameplay of commanding robots to manipulate objects. But we wanted to achieve more, and we’ve been hard at work on our language pipeline. The game has now evolved to the point where you can also investigate in a casual conversation style. This level of communication between the player and the game was much harder to achieve and required much better language understanding than just commands. Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Echo aren’t yet able to carry the kind of multi-step conversations that you’ll have with Jimmy as you play the new mission. This said, we’re not claiming that Jimmy will understand everything you say – there are still many challenges ahead.

THE INVESTIGATION MISSION

You will need to discover how a secret prototype chip got into the house of a Nakagawa scientist and why the house was empty when you arrived. You investigate using your own words - not dialogue trees! If you ask good questions about what Jimmy observed, you’ll be rewarded with videos of his observations. There are 14 such videos for you to discover, and you get to see a few during training – so don’t skip training! You’ll practice investigating the events that took place over 48 hours, using questions like ‘what happened then’, ‘...next’, ‘...before that’, ‘...after that’, and editing the questions you asked previously and resubmitting them, so you don’t need to type too much.
We recommend that you play through typing. First, you’ll need to ask LOTS of questions, so you run the risk of getting hoarse if you play through voice. To support the investigation mission, our software needs to understand what you ask about people, places, times and dates. This is difficult enough as is – without having to also deal with the errors introduced by speech-to-text.

NEW FEATURES

As you play, you’ll see tangible proof of our commitment to take the Bot Colony conversational experience to the next level:

⦁ You can refer to what was said previously by scrolling the conversation window (F10).

⦁ The game will keep you informed of your progress discovering the story (green means you’re done exploring a time period, yellow means you need to keep going until it turns green).

⦁ Many questions which Jimmy used to answer with "I don't know" now get answers, so you’ll be able to learn about the family members, their lives and relationships, and various events.

⦁ When an exact answer is not available, you’ll still get an interesting hint relevant to your question

⦁ With this upgrade, every robot in Bot Colony gets its own voice and accent – which adds to the texture of the experience.

⦁ A noticeable frame rate improvement

⦁ The game website www.botcolony.com was entirely redesigned. We added a new section on the background story and world design – a kind of a graphic story of how Bot Colony evolved. We’ve also published of all of Henry Fong’s concept work (Henry now works for Disney). Finally, the October 2007 original storyboard is online (the game is indeed ambitions – 2017 will mark the 10 year anniversary from the birth of the game!).

GOING FORWARD

We’ll close with a few words about our plans for Bot Colony going forward: Robots in Arrival don’t understand what you say as well as Jimmy does in Intruder. We plan to improve that. Secondly, we’re working on episode 3, Riot. We’ll post updates on our progress on www.botcolony.com/blog. Stay tuned!