This is a collection of videos and information about AI (artificial intelligence) and NPCs (non-player characters) that I have found of interest or useful.
To me the lifeblood of virtual environments that can engage their users over an extended period of time is highly interactive, highly responsive NPCs (among other things). This is a hot topic in the video game / MMO / MMORPG industry and it is a bit of a holy grail for me in terms of the kinds of environments for communication-oriented task-based language learning that I want to establish in environments like Second Life and OpenSim.
My vision is of NPCs that can carry out intelligent and instructive interactions with language learners in a free-flowing & natural way (i.e. not menu-based). The kind of highly responsive and interactive NPCs I envisage would have the ability to carry out text-based and voice-based conversations (both of a general nature and related to a specific learning topic), to display a wide range of natural body language & gestures (including ones common to all cultures and ones unique to particular cultures), to be able to interact with other objects in the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions, and to carry out a range of actions related to their roles when not engaged in interaction with users as well as during interaction with users.
For a really interesting perspective on NPCs in Second Life
Canary Beck has done a wonderful posting on her blog about her perspective on NPCs in digital games and in virtual worlds like Second Life. It is a very insightful post that is definitely worth a read. You can find it here:
Artificial Intelligence in Video Games
Jonathan Schaeffer AI and Games LABMP 590 April 2, 2013