This quarter has seen significant work completed on our Pool and Snooker technology, for multiple coming products, including consoles. These engines may look out on a limb next to our more obvious classic game AI, but these games offer plenty of scope for intelligent decision making. Of course these are games that depend on accuracy and chance, but if you remove those limitations, the games can be played at an extraordinarily high level. There is almost always a theoretically possible pot, and a game engine would be able find it, if only by testing all possibilities! However this is no help to the gamer, who does not want to play their break shot, only to see the AI then clean up. Of course, astonishing play is entertaining to watch, but people want satisfying opponents. That needs AI that can emulate the kind of decisions that humans can make. Our game engine does this well, with a decision basis that takes into account the probable rather than certain outcome of a tried shot. This is linked in with characterisation, which provides opponents with foibles. Your AI opponent may prefer fast pots, or may overestimate their ability to make shots. These kind of characteristics can be blended to create personalities, so that you find yourself playing the AI character, not just the balls on the table.
We have also entered one new territory: AI Factory Ltd has been spreading its game engines across to all corners of the globe and will also shortly be taking to space as well..! Well not quite, but 10 miles up anyway, as our game engines enter the domain of in-flight games. This will be through DTI Software who is recognized as the leader in the In-Flight Entertainment industry, having been providing in-flight games since 1996, serving more than 65 airline customers. Watch out on your next business or holiday flight: we might be there with you!
We have also returned to work on our flagship product "Shotest", our shogi program. This has been receiving particular attention as it is destined for three new coming products. You will see that one of this month's articles is again devoted to this unusual and complex program. The technology behind shogi continues to progress, and our Shotest program will again be entering the World Championship near Tokyo, Japan in 2007. A measure of this progress is that the many times World Champion Kanazawa, once considered pretty-well invincible, has since dropped to world ranking 17th. Our own program tied on points with Kanazawa, having received very limited AI development work over the last 3 years. We previously had a world ranking of 3rd. However the new work has contributed to us being able to take Shotest closer to the next level, creating a new program, which hopefully will be ready in time to compete this coming May in Japan.
New companies that have been added to our fold for collaborative projects this quarter include Asylum Entertainment UK Ltd, DTI Software, Mere Mortals Ltd and Paper Plane. Of course we are also still very active this quarter with Unbalance, Microsoft and Rubicon Mobile.
We are looking forward to the brief holiday season coming!