Concerning action and movement in games, this sounds both promising and confusing (via Wired):
David Cage, cofounder of the French development studio Quantic Dream, thinks the standard control scheme used in games is a straitjacket. Most buttons on the joypad have a single purpose — say, firing a gun. “You press the button, you shoot an enemy; you get the same result through 20 levels,” he says. “To tell a diverse story, you need a hero capable of doing anything. One button needs to controlan infinite number of different things in different contexts.”
Cage’s game Heavy Rain, due out in February for the PlayStation 3, junks the one button-one action paradigm for something more flexible. As you navigate one of Heavy Rain’s four main characters through a moody neo-noir world, an array of constantly shifting options swarm around your character’s head like flies. These range from the heroic to the bizarre: Depending on the context, a single button might let you dodge a punch, discipline your child, or talk to a clown. And each decision can lead to a totally different story outcome. (The Heavy Rain script ran 2,000 pages long.) Call it a Choose Your Own Adventure for the 21st century.
“Chatbot” technology is being used in an attempt to solve one of “the last uncracked problems” in games design.
221b, released in the run-up to the new Sherlock Holmes movie, harnesses the software to allow conversations between players and in-game characters.
Gamers, who assume the character of either Sherlock Holmes or Dr Watson, must interrogate virtual witnesses and suspects to progress in the game.
Success depends upon getting the right answers from these characters.
“It’s our role to predict what you might know at that point in the game and the questions you might ask,” said Rollo Carpenter of Existor, which provided the technology.
“The ways that you might say things to them are almost unlimited.”
When a player interrogates a game character in 221b, Carpenter’s technology is used to analyse the question and to provide a relevant response.
Rather than attempting to create an exhaustive list of possible questions and the appropriate response, the characters in the game are capable of making a “fuzzy interpretation” of what is said to them.
Pattern matching is then used to identify the appropriate answer for any given input by a player.
With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities.
Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat. And Mr. Obama’s success this week in pressuring the Senate to confirm 27 nominations by threatening to use his recess appointment power demonstrated that executive authority can also be leveraged to force action by Congress.
Mr. Obama has already decided to create a bipartisan budget commission under his own authority after Congress refused to do so. His administration has signaled that it plans to use its discretion to soften enforcement of the ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military, even as Congress considers repealing the law. And the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with possible regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, while a bill to cap such emissions languishes in the Senate.
White House officials said the increased focus on executive authority reflected a natural evolution from the first year to the second year of any presidency.
The use of executive authority during times of legislative inertia is hardly new; former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush turned to such powers at various moments in their presidencies, and Mr. Emanuel was in the thick of carrying out the strategy during his days as a top official in the Clinton White House.
But Mr. Obama has to be careful how he proceeds because he has been critical of both Mr. Clinton’s penchant for expending presidential capital on small-bore initiatives, like school uniforms, and Mr. Bush’s expansive assertions of executive authority, like the secret program of wiretapping without warrants.
Already, Mr. Obama has had to reconcile his campaign-trail criticism of Mr. Bush for excessive use of so-called signing statements to bypass parts of legislation with his own use of such tactics. After a bipartisan furor in Congress last year, Mr. Obama stopped issuing such signing statements, but aides said last month that he still reserves the right to ignore sections of bills he considers unconstitutional if objections have been lodged previously by the executive branch.
A video from Best0fScience (see below) will take you on a guided end-to-end, floor-to-ceiling tour of the International Space Station, beginning at the back end in the “Soyuz,” and traveling through the entire craft to the shuttle.
The video shows us glimpses of the docking compartment, the Russian MRM2 science module and the robotics workstation before moving on to the “Columbus” laboratory module.
There we get a glimpse of space walk suits stored on the ceiling, before turning to look at the Japanese experimental module that houses a gym, sleep station, laboratory and more storage. The tour ends with a look around the shuttle flight deck.
Please see the video in 720p. Wonderful, extremely cool.