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$200 Ubantu Linux PC at Walmart

1 Nov

Hmm not sure if Walmart is the huge company about to take over Australia, but should be able to order this linux box for just over $200 US dollars (today 92 cents US is 1 Australian dollar).

$200 Ubantu PC

Sounds like a great idea but not suitable for geeks (why a full case? small is beautiful!) and not sure why it is “green” but if I can add memory and swap cards this sounds a tad interesting. Zonbu may be similar (and cheaper and greener) but seems subscription based? The Dell XP PC competitor(?) for around $340 is mentioned here.

Now I just need to see which VH projects could run on it and send them to less developed communities with a license similar(?) to Architecture for Humanity.

Hmm, these people sound interesting too, should talk to them about croquet and blender 3D.

And I am still grumbling people think PC=Windows. Grr.


Adding realtime animation to chatbots inside games

22 Dec

Played WingCommander or its derivates? Or a similar game, where a talking head tells you what to do next? Imagine a talking head with believable facial expressions, that is actually generated in realtime (in your realtime!) from a real person, a game master, just by using a webcam! It is called face tracking. I imagine some people would rather see videos than read an academic paper.

And here are some SourceForge related links for facial recognition. Also, Facade (not the Mateas and Stern interactive story game creation) is also an interesting free realtime character animator. Expression is a research based facial animation kit.

Now, if we wanted to have a realtime 3D character with facial expressions generated in realtime from your face, and send it 3D information about a player in a game or virtual environment, how would we do it (cheaply)?

Could we also have a chatbot create this character with expressions to match the dialogue, generated from a pseudo AI engine? Perhaps the words in the AI database could be tagged with emotion tags that generate suitable facial expressions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Does this talking head need to be of a real person? AIs that can generate 3D facial expressions on generated characters include the 3D AIML (A.L.I.C.E.) Ebba. The only convenient alternative to A.L.I.C.E. would be jabberwacky as it beat A.L.I.C.E. to win the 2005 Loebner AI Prize. On a side note: GameBots is an Unreal Tournament modification that allows software agents to play for bots in Unreal.

3D models
We need a 3D environment as a test case. I better start adding links to this little research topic, extending on from the Palenque in Unreal game engine project.
Or, the 3D content could be using the planet jeff models available.

Side note: There really should be a world wide library for 3D models available for academic research and prototyping.

3D web environments
Ok so we need a game that exports to webpages as an embedded plugin so the 3D realtime embedded character can get sent info from the virtual environment (the energy of the player, their itinerary, where they have come from, what they are looking at, where they can go next, and so on).

Possible 3D web environment plugins

  1. Blink 3D
  2. Blender 3D
  3. Quest3D (but only DirectX)
  4. Unity (Mac OS X only)

Lettting the Audience Onto the Stage (notes)

22 Dec

Interesting powerpoint slides of the day, Lettting the Audience Onto the Stage: The Potential of VR Drama. This talk by Ernest Adams, at Virtual Storytelling, which I did not attend (shame! as I was on the review committee), raised some good points.

*Good interactive stories require good interactive actors.

*Head mounted displays (like my new HMD) destroys the social nature of many console games and teleporting breaks immersion (well, not always, but that is a post for another day).

*MMOGs are not good for storytelling, too many people etc. Hmm, not sure if that is a cause or a related effect. Maybe it is hard to focus or feel unique with too many other characters, or maybe it causes coginitive overloading.

*Tactical and strategic immersion “If the player wants to solve it and is good at it, he will become immersed”–new and useful terms for me!

*Role playing is not about player freedom but player complicity (for want of a better word). The player must care about the role. Huizinga said cheaters are still in the magic circle and spoilsports are not. Hmm.