Event first impressions
Jon Peddie on September 21st 2016 |
The AI isn’t very I
I spent many happy hours on a Commodore PET and a Radio Shack TRS80 playing Adventure, a reported version of the original Colossal Cave Adventure developed on the PDP-10 in 1976.
THE GAME PLAY was all text (no graphics) and pre-programmed.
There were other programs that weren’t exactly games, because they had no goal or ending, but they enabled the computer to communicate with you. One such program, Eliza, was an early example of primitive natural language processing, developed at the MIT AI lab in 1965.
Today these programs are called chatterbots, and you can play with one at http://alice.pandorabots.com/ and at http://www.cleverbot.com/.
So it was with great anticipation when I got the program Event 0.
Event is a narrative exploration game where you must build a relationship with a lonely spaceship AI computer to get home. Set in a retro-future inspired by sci-fi classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, the game is about forging a personal relationship with your only companion, an insecure AI entity capable of procedurally generating over 2 million lines of dialogue. You interact with the computer, named Kaizen, by typing messages on terminals throughout the ship.
The reality of your situation will emerge organically as you communicate with Kaizen and explore the mysterious ship in first-person perspective.
Oh boy, I thought, a classic Adventure game but with great graphics (I played it at 4K on a 30-inch screen) with a GTX1080, on a core i7 5960X. The game looks great, and it also has good sound.
There are no characters in it, and you can’t pick up anything. You click on some things to get them to work. Mostly you type at a terminal. You can move (WASD) and use R-L mouse to explore. I gave the terminal a little Turing test— it failed, and got angry. That was funny.
The program takes a very long time to start up.
The program developers say that you can freely navigate the 3D environments, which employ physics-based rendering and advanced lighting techniques. You can examine items to gather information and solve hacking puzzles as you progress. And the developers say you can even leave the ship for “breathtakingly scary spacewalks” All sound and music come from the environment; there is no traditional score. The ship is essentially the AI computer’s body and reacts to Kaizen’s feelings by making different sounds; the player is advised to pay attention for clues.
Maybe, but … the dialogue I’ve had is not very informative or interesting.
The use of the keyboard to talk to the AI is difficult to disengage from when you want to use the WASD function. You can use left and right mouse buttons for forward and back, and turn with the mouse.
The responses to simple questions (see photo) was disappointing to frustrating, but in truth, I wasn’t necessarily trying to help out the AI; I wanted to see what it could do. If the AI asks you a question, you have to give it an acceptable answer before you can carry on the conversation—it’s not a very intelligent or flexible AI.
First impressions are meh, but I’ll keep trying for a little while longer.
A quick look at what Event entails, as well as for why you’ll be interacting with your new best friend, Kaizen.