We decided to shift from avatar NPCs to primbots to keep this simple and on schedule for a Nov. 16th opening date for the completed Steampunkables sim. I am currently researching primbot scripting and developing prim versions of each of the 8 characters while Steampunk-afying each of them with accessories and fleshing out their bone structures / back stories. Here is a picture of the progress with 4 of the 8 characters so far.
After considering technologies for Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we realized that Second Life is a bit more limited than OpenSim in some of these areas. I had hoped to be able to make clones of outfitted versions of avatars, but those “ghost avatars” would require access to the server that is possible in OpenSim, but not in SL due to proprietary Linden Lab technology. Allen Kerensky, developer of the Myriad RPG System, mentioned that “the only way to achieve something similar is to use an OpenMetaverse “Campbot” to login as if it were an avatar. In order to use OpenMetaverse Campbot or TestClient to implement an avatar-style NPC in SL – you will need to get a C# programmer to help you customize the functions to what you want.”
We are looking to use sensing technology via LSL in both primbots and cogs (gears) to respond to visitors within a 20 meter chat range via short local text chat about the story. The characters may have additional chat functions upon clicking on them. Conceptually one way to do that would be to create cartoon like speech bubbles or scroll menus, which could be scripted with LSL to pop up based upon responses. This could have click-able buttons for choices. With the limited time remaining before opening (6 weeks), we’ll have to keep this simple to provide some basic functionality. But this could serve as a proof of concept of what could be done on a later more extensive funded project. Here is an example of the bubbles concept.