Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Neverwinter and more on Milo

These are last month's news, but still worth mentioning.

Back in June 2009 I mentioned the news that Atari's Cryptic Studios would be developing a new Neverwinter Nights MMO. Atari has now announced that "Neverwinter" will be released late 2011 (Variety - Technotainment). It is not going to be an MMO, but it is described as an online multiplayer RPG. I imagine it may be something like Guild Wars or Hellgate: London, where you can see other people in town, put together a group, and then go adventuring in a private instance of the explorable areas. The story will be based on an upcoming trilogy by popular D&D novelist R. A. Salvatore. The story will take place after the events of Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2, with poor Neverwinter (seemingly as always) in a dangerous state of disarray. Hopefully Cryptic Studios will do a good job.

I've talked about Microsoft's Kinect/Project Natal a number of times on this blog, and I've mentioned that I was particularly impressed by the Milo demo at E3 2009. In that demo, Milo was a little boy who interacted with the player in very impressive ways: He recognized the player, would comment on the color she was wearing, could recognize many words as well as detect and react to the tone in her voice, and could even be "passed" a drawing she did as she held up her real-world drawing to the Kinect camera, which copied it into Milo's virtual world. But even as E3 this year showed off the Kinect, to be released before Christmas of this year, we saw no more of Milo. Until recently (Variety's Technotainment).

The technology has come along. Apparently Milo's artificial intelligence lives in one place (rather than being copied many times to each separate location?), so that his interactions with each individual player can help refine future interactions with every player (and maybe lead to world domination). There is now a more apparent user interface, and a sort of plot: Milo has just moved from the U.K. to the U.S. and doesn't have any friends yet, so he dreams up the player as an imaginary friend. I think it's all pretty amazing. It's not clear when we might see a game based on Milo, but hopefully they're going somewhere with this technology so we all can have a try at being Milo's friend.

Peter Molyneux did a recent TED talk showing off Milo's development. Check it out:

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