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 control an 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.
It reminded me of a BBC news story a few weeks ago, about in-game speech:
“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.