Bot Colony

"Bot Colony might be the first game to really nail the dream of full vocal interaction."

"...a tropical island full of robots, all of them capable of conversing with players on a ground-breaking level"

"A central aspect of Bot Colony's gameplay is that players can think of their own questions and freely dialogue with the island's robotic inhabitants however they wish."

Jimmy Play

The Story

Bot Colony is inspired by the Bot Colony novel by Eugene Joseph (eBook available here in ePub format and on Amazon in Kindle format)


Bot Colony is an episodic 3D adventure game set on the tropical island of Agrihan: one of the Marianas islands, made famous as a key South pacific stronghold during World War II. The story is set in 2021, and while the world is not in the grip of large-scale war, it faces paradigm-shifting problems in over-population, poverty and dwindling resources. With global markets falling into disarray and even cheap labor becoming too expensive for governments and corporations, advanced robots have become the new multi-purpose worker.


The world's leader in robotics, Japan's Nakagawa Corp., has leased Agrihan and built a sprawling complex of urban and industrial buildings supported by a few leisure facilities - all of it largely populated and operated by advanced, learning robots.


Humans intermix freely with robots on Agrihan, whose location doubles as a robotic test bed for a future settlement on Mars. Nakagawa's robots are poised to play a major role in the colonization of Mars; as such, they must achieve a high degree of autonomy. With Agrihan mostly staffed by robots, people have given it the name "Bot Colony".

 
 

Episode 01Intruder

The first real evidence of espionage has been uncovered on Agrihan, and Nakagawa has turned to enlist outside help. You must investigate the spy's intrusion into the home of a high-level research manager. Nakagawa Corp has prepared a virtual training simulation of the crime scene that will test your ability to function within the robot operated facilities. If you pass the Intruder challenge, Nakagawa will entrust you with the mission of finding the spy.


In Intruder, you will put your observation skills to test while learning the basics of robot interaction. Intruder is a virtualized training session, where you get to relate first hand to the spy's devious way of operating. You will control a robot to erase all traces of an intrusion before the owner of the house gets back. You will do this by remote controlling the domestic robot serving the family. In the process, you will learn how to communicate with robots using your own words. Intruder tests your ability to pay attention to verbal instructions given to you, as well as your ability to communicate effectively with a robot, to the point that it understands you well enough to carry out your instructions and answer your questions. The skills you acquire during the Intruder mission will prove crucial in the future installments of the Bot Colony campaign.

 

Episode 02Arrival

Having successfully completed the virtual training simulation, you make your way to Agrihan: a remote island in the Marianas and home to Nakagawa's research facilities. Arriving in Agrihan's airport, you will make your first real contact with Nakagawa's robots. Your training will certainly come in handy here, as Nakagawa's airport is entirely staffed by robots.


In Arrival, you will put your robot communication skills to work, navigating security and acquiring the equipment you'll need for your mission. A new upgrade to Nakagawa's robot AI has the robots acting strangely, making their behaviour even more unpredictable. Be prepared to hit the ground running and keep your eyes and ears open as you enter Nakagawa's world of corporate espionage and industrial terrorism.

 

Episode 03Oil Rig

Riot is the quintessential Bot Colony episode. After swooping down on mutinous robots, flying a futuristic Hunter Bot shaped like a bird of prey, you land on an abandoned oil rig. There, you'll have to face the robots who managed to hide from you, who will sneak up on you from unexpected places. If you're caught, you'll have to prove that you're human in order to survive - by passing a Humanity Test. Philip K Dick conceived the Empathy Test in his Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novel that inspired the Blade Runner movie. In his book, the Empathy Test is administered to replicants pretending to be human.


In Riot, the Humanity Test is reversed - it is administered by robots. You are suspected of being a new generation android sent by Nakagawa to derail the mutiny. The mutinous robots test YOU, as they are still reticent to violate the First Law of robotics (remember Rachel's line in Blade Runner "Have you ever retired a human by mistake?"). You'll have to figure out a way to escape if you're incarcerated by the robots, who'll turn you into a human guinea pig. It would not be possible to play something like the Humanity Test, where robots are keen to learn about experiences that are uniquely human, without sophisticated language understanding.

Unique Gameplay

Conversation with the characters is a key part of Bot Colony gameplay. We've developed advanced Natural Language Understanding (the Apple Siri and IBM Watson rely on NLU as well) to bring you this experience. Characters understanding what you say will revolutionize video games.


We want to offer a new kind of gameplay. Shooting and blowing stuff up, fighting, looting, crashing cars, and jumping from platforms are already handled quite well in other games. In Bot Colony, you'll experience unique gameplay relying on the game characters actually understanding what you say to make progress.

Interactive AI

Bot Colony offers the player a credible experience of interaction with artificial intelligence. Novels like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "I, Robot", and movies such as Blade Runner wonderfully romanticized Artificial Intelligence, but as of yet no work of art has made AI truly interactive. This unique experience will challenge your mind and entertain you; the ultra literal way that robots understand language will make you realize how much we take for granted when we speak with other people.

No More Dialogue Tree

In Bot Colony you will communicate with the game's robot characters using your own words instead of pre-arranged dialogue. Experience a new, natural kind of interaction: Forget the scripted dialogue trees and canned responses common to other games.


Our game characters understand English well enough to enable players to complete objectives and game levels. Off topic conversations are also supported, and characters use them as an opportunity to share what they know - and to learn new concepts taught to them by the player!

The tech

The North Side dialog pipeline supports unrestricted English conversation about day-to-day life. Our software attempts to understand the speaker's goals, and address them using a vast store of knowledge. The conversation can be situated in a 3D world, and refer to the objects in it. Bot Colony innovates by using English as a scripting language. The Bot Colony robots' reactive behaviors are programmed in English. Any other interactive speech-controlled application would be integrated into the language pipeline in the same way. Speech is processed on a semantic level, and we extract the meaning of what the players say. Contrast this with chatbots, which use string matching to provide hardwired responses.

 

Videos

Images

Concepts

Videos

Images

Concepts

 

The Book

After the last wiretapping attempt by KHT, its fierce North Korean competitor, Shigeru Saito decides to relocate Nakagawa Corporation, Japan's leading robot manufacturer, to the remote island of Agrihan in the South Pacific. Saito's grandfather was killed on Agrihan during World War II. Now, in 2021, the exotic island has become a robotic test bed for Mars, and it is operated in its entirety by autonomous robots.


While Nakagawa is developing technology virtually guaranteeing its lock on the global market for domestic robots, a devious KHT spy succeeds in infiltrating its sanctuary. With only three days before Armageddon, investigator Jeff Philips steps in to identify and root out the spy to save man-and robot-kind, but his task proves more challenging than expected when he realizes he must rely on machines to get the job done.

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Bot Colony has been Greenlit by Steam


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