Bot Colony

MARCH, 2015

Community support keeps Bot Colony active

After the Pulling the Plug announcement (Jan 28), we got lots of moral support from people saying the game must not die - plus $452 in Steam keys and $400 in eBook sales. This modest amount will enable us to keep going at least another month. Selling more Steam keys and eBooks is keyl to keeping the game alive, see for details.
  What would help us the most is you spreading the word about Bot Colony. 
We’ve started working on in-house servers as a long-term solution. When that is in place we’ll talk to Steam about putting back the BUY button on Bot Colony.

Since the update, we’ve fixed missing background facts in Intruder and Charlie being stuck in Arrival. We've added checkpoints to Arrival so you won’t lose your level progression. Robot Visual Memories (RVM) offers (by far) the most interesting gameplay in Bot Colony - make sure you play it! You need to find out what happened since Jimmy arrived, and why the house is now empty. The tech behind RVM is described here
Currently, few players get to RVM. Why? You get the RVM mission AFTER your score for Intruder is displayed and Arrival is unlocked - so most move on to Arrival. CHEAT: you can actually start playing RVM right after dealing with the police Bot; if the owner comes home and catches you, just re-start from the last checkpoint (every 3 objects).

The Bot Colony experience is defined by how good Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is, so improving NLU is #1 for us. Lots of NLU work is still needed to make the robots in Arrival smarter. Mike's navigation has many problems, but you should be able to get him to do what you need. With enough sales, we may even be able to deliver more content (Riot and beyond – watch the Story Untold video from our Store page).

Here are TIPS FOR PLAYING that everyone buying eBooks or Steam keys receives. Following these tips will result in a better game experience.


1. What makes Bot Colony unique is speaking (or typing) with robots who understand what you say, as long as it's related to their task or memories. You'll command robots to overcome game challenges. You'll also need to explore their memories to piece together what happened. 

a) When you train speech-to-text, you read material that contains useful information on how to talk to robots. Bottom line: use complete English sentences to be understood in Bot Colony.
b) Don't skip the tutorial in Intruder.
c) Ask "What should I do now?" if you're not sure what to do at some point. In Arrival, talk to Miki.
d) (INTRUDER) Ask Jimmy "What do you know?" and then "What commands do you know?" to be reminded what commands a robot knows. Following popular demand, here are Jimmy's commands: 
- Go to place (Go to the living room, go to the vase). He will go, and turn to face an object, if mentioned.
- Pick up object (Pick up the vase). Does face, reach and grab, below. You can ask "What do you hold?".
- Drop object
- Face object (not exposed, part of pick up X)
- Reach for object (part of pick up X)
- Grab object (part of pick up X)
- Push in object (push in the cushion). Close the drawer (or the cushion :) works. 
- Put object1 on object2 (put the red box on the blue box). Put object1 to the left/right of object2.
- Put object1 between objects (put the vase between the candles, put the bottle between the sinks). Put object1 in the center of object2.
- Rotate object by Z degrees clockwise/counterclockwise
- Swap object1 with object2. Put object1 where object2 was - also works.
- Align object1 with object2 (for pot, television, chair - imagine you're on a plane or ship looking FORWARD; you'll have a red light on your left and a green one on your right. The object you align with is the plane :)
- Open door (open cupboard door - in the kitchen)
- Close door (or guitar case)
- Point to object (or point to room)
- Move forward/back (by Y meters)
- Turn clockwise/counterclockwise ( by Y degrees)
- Stop to reset a robot. 
- wave, jump, nod
- What do yo see? - it's useful to look though his camera to see inside the chest in Hideki's room)
Cindy can follow me or stop following me and Mike moves up/down or goes to a shelf. You can combine the commands above to form new ones - this can be great fun! Try teaching 'mess up the room' and post a screenshot of the result. Steam keys await upvoted screenshots :)
e) Referring to things: Differentiate 1) using ORDER (to "Which vase? The one on..., or the one on...?" reply "the first one" or "the second one"), 2) using COLOR ( Which game box? 'the blue one', 'the purple one)', 3) using the OBJECT under (pot in kitchen, "the one on the stovetop"), 4) using OPEN/CLOSED state (for the drawer, cushion 'the open one').
f) Robot Visual Memories are 14 video segments recorded by Jimmy that tell a story. The basic investigative questions to get to these videos are below. Once you get an answer, it sets the time-context for your next questions, so you don’t have to always specify the time and date (unless you want absolute precision). Here are some useful questions to ask Jimmy: 

Who is X? 
What do you know about X? 
How do you know that? 
When did you first/last see X? 
What did X do at HH:MM on Day/Date? (example: What did Ayame do at 20:15 on Thursday?) What did Ayame do then? What did Masaya do next? What did X do before that? 
What happened then? What happened before/after that? What happened at HH:MM on (day of week)? (What happened at 11:30 on 26/08/2021?) – this will work even if after/before don’t return more facts because Jimmy doesn’t look back/forward far enough. 
What happened to X? What happened to X at (time) on (date)/(day of week)? 
When did X arrive/enter/leave the house? When did you arrive? Where did X go after that? 
What did X say at (time) on (day)? What did X say before/after that? 
Where was X at (time) on (day of the week)/date?


Other questions that will help you find out more about the characters, like :  What does X like? When did X play? When did Y speak on the phone? 

•Leave Dialogue history (F10) open during RVM gameplay. Use the middle mouse button to scroll through the dialogue text, use Up Arrow to repeat a previous question and hit Enter.
g) Use Help! Use UP arrow to access previous commands. Use F10 to see dialogue history ( you can COPY PASTE from it - so you can share problems and funny things robots say with the community!. Use F1 to talk to Miki in Arrival. F3 gets you out of mediated mode (talking to a robot through a tablet or console).
h) (Arrival episode) Consider teaching Mike a new command made up of basic commands (for example, 'scan briefcase') to save precious time and stay alive.


2. It's best to play initially by typing - this will prevent Speech-to-text errors and will give our NLU a better chance to work well.  Once you know what you can expect from NLU, please feel free to experiment with Speech-to-text. 

3. If you enjoy the game, you can help keep it alive by reviewing it on the Bot Colony Steam page under Helpful Customer reviews (I hope you'll Recommend it!).  Please tell your friends about Bot Colony, very few people heard about our game. 

*** Steam keys: A review on the Store page gets you one - email the author to claim it. *** Posting funny dialogue that gets upvoted (use F10, COPY, PASTE), same*** *** Posting unexpected dialogue behaviour, same *** Screenshots of messed up rooms, same ***