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Feature: 'SGS 2005: Inside The Institute for Creative Technologies'

One of today's main Gamasutra features, this write-up covers a fascinating session presented on the first day of Serious Games Summit 2005, and covering some of the work ...
One of today's main Gamasutra features, this write-up covers a fascinating session presented on the first day of Serious Games Summit 2005, and covering some of the work carried out by the University of Southern California-connected Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a university-affiliated research center largely funded by the U.S. Army. As the write-up explains, ICT is producing a number of new 'serious games' products using both military and entertainment industry expertise: "The lecture then went on to discuss the concept of virtual humans, particularly important to ICT, since it wants ways to train the military to interact with other people, without lots and lots of actors being paid to play those people. Wertheimer then showed an example of virtual humans in action, an exercise using the Unreal Tournament 2004 game engine in which a soldier has to persuade a Middle Eastern doctor to relocate his clinic without revealing his operational plans. This demonstration, shown in movie form, showcases a number of technologies, including speech recognition, task and domain reasoning, dynamic gesture recognition, natural language understanding, dialog management, and emotional modeling. It's also pointed out that all of the AI systems were talking to an ICT-designed middleware layer which itself is integrating into a game engine, allowing for much greater usability. Wertheimer then posted the question - how do we build systems to make people play and learn, and make things better for both the military and entertainment sectors? He particularly referenced ICT's Full Spectrum Warrior, which has you in-game and issuing orders, and was developed as a training product, but looks visually somewhat like a first-person shooter, and has since found success in the game market. In the end, it was claimed, the military got the training tool for less than the cost of the product, thanks to the commercial release of the game, and now THQ is porting a version to the PC, the Army is getting that version for free - effectively a win/win situation, according to ICT staff." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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