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Re: [Bug-gnubg] gnubg "personalities"

From: Rich Heimlich
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] gnubg "personalities"
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2006 21:17:10 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20060516)


I think some egos are getting in the way here. The idea of making AI players seem more real in backgammon and other games is hardly a new concept. I've been in computer game development since 1983. During that time we worked directly with developers of many of the top AI-based products to hit the market and many products most people wouldn't know.

We worked on literally dozens of classic strategy board games including backgammon. To be frank, there are things we did back then that still aren't in GNUBG but that's not a knock. It's just how development works. On the reverse, the level of play in GNUBG blows away anything done back in the day.

My point is that if you think the sort of things you've been discussing are unique or big secrets, you're rather mistaken. If credit is to be given or should be given, perhaps I need to submit a list of those who came before everyone here so that you can thank THEM for borrowing on all of their pioneering work in the segment.

I am, of course, saying that tongue-in-cheek. There's no need to thank them but I think it would be rude to go 180 degrees the other way and just assume that because you're thinking of something that no one has ever conceived of it before.

I'll give you a simple one. Where are the AI players who talk today? We had talking AI players, with varied personalities and complex vocabularies in products as early as 1991.

In 1991, against my own desire, I ended up becoming the first speaking commentator in a sports game. Bethesday Softworks agreed with us that it would be possible to add a commentator to a sports game but then didn't want to pay anyone to do the voice work. I have a deep voice so they kept pushing me to do it. I finally did. Should I ask Electronic Arts for credit in all their sports games with talking commentators?

We did backgammon and cribbage personalities together more than once. Once we did it for a company called Ninga Software and those opponents responded to the specifics of the game and the human players actions. Specific AI players had attitudes and thought nothing of insulting you as play went on, but not just randomly or chaotically. It was all tied to the personality and the situation.

So please, I thought the concept here was to work together to create the best backgammon game possible for the masses. Let's leave the ego out of it. Guys with much bigger egos came before you and didn't give you grief so don't give it to others now.

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