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Round-Up: NERO Fiddles, Germans Write, Pixel Corps

Today's round-up includes news on an academic-authored realtime strategy title that shows AI learning, a call to German video game writers from the nation's screenwriters...
Today's round-up includes news on an academic-authored realtime strategy title that shows AI learning, a call to German video game writers from the nation's screenwriters' guild, and the marching feet of the Pixel Corps on the move, as well as the latest product news and job postings. - Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created a freely downloadable realtime strategy game called NERO (short for Neuroevolving Robotic Operatives), which is particularly notable because it allows the game characters to learn via AI-based brains. Players put the robotic characters through a series of training regimens of their own design, and the high-level AI allows them to learn somewhat naturally. The characters are then sent into battle, demonstrating what they’ve learned, as well as the effectiveness of the training. - The Screenwriters Guild of Germany (Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren) has put out a call for German video game writers to contact the organization, in an attempt to better understand the specific needs of that field. According to organizers, this is a somewhat pioneering effort in Germany to integrate the experience of interactive media writers with traditional media, and interested parties should contact executive committee member Arne Sommer. - Pixel Corps, a for-profit organization which offers training in the digital arts, today announced open enrollment for its program, which presents a distinct alternative to many game training schemes. For a monthly fee, users can use and learn on software ranging from Photoshop to Modo, gaining 90-day licenses without paying the often-hefty full cost of the programs. The group, founded by Industrial Light & Magic veteran Alex Lindsay, also offers hands-on training in non-revenue based projects, ranging from music videos to commercials and short films. - Also updated today: product news including Dwango's sign-up to Tira's mobile middleware solutions, and the latest Gamasutra jobs from companies including Blue Omega, BreakAway Games, Climax Studios, Disney Buena Vista Games, Factor 5, Forterra Systems, Indie Built, Jamdat Mobile, Midway Games, NCsoft, Rockstar San Diego, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Ternary Software, and Vicious Cycle Software.

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