I just stumbled onto something which I found very interesting:

http://www.signiform.com/tt/htm/tt.htm

Thought Treasure is a system for parsing natural language and providing information. There is a huge database of facts included which allows the program to answer questions like: How are you? What color is the sky? What is an ocean?

I was thinking of how we could use such a system in Altima. The program takes from 20-30 seconds to load on my PPro, so it would probably need to be run on a null client of some sort, or perhaps a conversation server. I was also thinking about the database structure. We could give all NPCs access to the general databases, so that folks could ask about what color the sky is, what an ocean is, and get meaningful responses, as opposed to "I don't know that word," or something similar. In adition, we could create NPC-specific databases which answer questions like "Who are you?", "Where am I?" and other such questions.

I'll be doing some experiments with this soon. I'm planning to study the docs today, and to attempt to create a simple NPC with an identity, and maybe a simple history for the character to discuss, though this may be ambitious. :) I'll send any noteworthy successes to the list.

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Nolan Darilek nolan_d at mail.utexas.edu nolan at cold.org nolan_d at bigfoot.com ICQ UIN: 15709478