Survey: What Iams are you making?

Survey: What Iams are you making?

Postby admin » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:17 pm

This is a quick survey with the object of making an inventory of what you guys are working on or what you're planning to do. With this information we hope to be able to better focus on what we need to do to support Iam development as best as we can. So if possible at all, we'd appreciate very much if you'd spend a few minutes answering one or more of the following questions:

- What type of Iam are you currently working on or have worked on. Please describe briefly their (planned) behavior?
- What type of Iam or Iam behaviors do you think you'd like to develop in the future?
- Is there a feature or technology currently lacking in the Iam Framework that prevents you from making the Iam you'd like?
- Any other remark you'd like to make?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Mark Boon
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Re: Survey: What Iams are you making?

Postby Cale Vinson » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:18 am

admin wrote:- What type of Iam are you currently working on or have worked on. Please describe briefly their (planned) behavior?
- What type of Iam or Iam behaviors do you think you'd like to develop in the future?
- Is there a feature or technology currently lacking in the Iam Framework that prevents you from making the Iam you'd like?
- Any other remark you'd like to make?


Well, you know all about my SL-BM chat-bridge project - heavens knows I've pestered you about it often enough here. :)

I'm afraid that's the only concrete remark you're going to get from me in this post, everything that follows is rather wishy-washy.

I don't currently have any "big picture" goals for Iams. My current work started as a "as a BM scripter/programmer, I'll need to know at least something about this stuff" deal, and morphed into the chat-bridge work when other people expressed an interest.

There are things I'd like to suggest, but I suspect (or perhaps even know) that they run counter to some core design decisions for both BM and Iams. I'll suggest them anyway, not because I expect such decisions to be over-turned, but because there may be completely different answers that I just don't see right now.

In SL, a bot is a "full citizen" of the VW, with the same capabilities and subject to the same restrictions, as a "normal" user. This isn't the case for Iams, as evident by the fact that they are not subject to collision detection with the world-map, and navigate by a completely independent system. The SL-model provides a lot of power. In our recent discussion on Iams and friend-lists you pointed out that, at the moment at least, Iams could not identify which of their friends were online or not. SL bots can do that (I believe), but even if they couldn't, the SL-model would allow work-arounds. For example, one could have a scripted "people-scanner" in the sim, that reports back information to the Bot. In BM, there are calls in the Lua "System" library to scan for the existence of entities in any number of ways, so a similar scripted "people-scanner" seems possible at least. But, as I understand it, there's no way to get the data from such a people-scanner, to the Iam. Am I correct in assuming that Iams don't know anything about the BM scripts in the same way they don't know anything about the world-geometry?

The above is just one example, presented so as to (hopefully :) ) clarify what I'm talking about. The more general point is about how "tightly" Iams are coupled to the BM world.

Not *having* to program in Java would be nice (though I suspect it would be impractical at this point). I'm not trying to provoke a senseless language war here, its just an issue of how many languages one needs to keep in one's head simultaneously. :) SL-Bots have a degree of language agnosticism via .net, which enables me to work in one of the languages always available in my mind-cache, Python. I will also admit that I groaned a little when I first read the early Iam tutorials - "Eclipse? Yet *another* IDE for me to learn? What's wrong with command-line systems?". But I have to admit, as a complete Java-neophyte, the Eclipse framework you recommend *has* saved my bacon on a number of occasions, even if only through stuff as trivial as providing automatic quick-fixes to stuff like missing "throw" information.

- Cale
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Re: Survey: What Iams are you making?

Postby admin » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:18 pm

There are things I'd like to suggest, but I suspect (or perhaps even know) that they run counter to some core design decisions for both BM and Iams. I'll suggest them anyway, not because I expect such decisions to be over-turned, but because there may be completely different answers that I just don't see right now.


Not wanting to sound apologetical for the decisions we've made, but let me at least explain a little bit of the background that has led to them.

There have been some fundamental design decisions made early on in Blue Mars that were important with respect to performance and security. Unfortunately these decisions often run counter to what we'd like to do with Iams. But we have to work with what we got. SL has a completely different paradigm and mode of operation, so try not to compare it with that too much. (Although pointing out where we come up short in comparison is always a valid way to make us look for improvements.) Hopefully over time we'll be able to add enough functionality to the framework to make Iams feel like "full citizens", as there's no reason they shouldn't be.

With regards to Java as a programming language and Eclipse as an IDE: whatever choice we would have made would have had its proponents and adversaries. What is important is how we can provide as much support as possible with the resources that we have. And Java is arguably the most popular programming language that exists today. Nothing stops you from using command-line tools to develop Iams in Java. And you may even be able to use Python if that's your preferred language. I personally don't know anything about Python, but AFAIK, you should be able to develop an Iam in Python if you use Jython or JPython. But with Java and Eclipse it's the easiest way for us to provide clear step-by-step instructions to an audience that may vary from complete programming beginners to advanced professionals. At least at this point in time, if you run into problems with a Python based Iam, we wouldn't be able to help you.

Anyway, thanks for chiming in.

Mark
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Re: Survey: What Iams are you making?

Postby Kaylu » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:08 pm

The Iams that I'd like to make would be based on the theme for my cities:

Here is draft copy of the storyline from my city Chiamoro:

In 2045, while exploring the region of Margaritifer Terra, just south of the Martian equator, the first settlers discovered a mountain range with an unusual formation similar to a rock quarry or mine. They experimented and discovered that the minerals in the rocks were of an unusual nature and could speed up the terra-forming processes of the planet twofold. Because of the lack of human laborers it was determined to design intelligent bots for a mining project. Both male and female bots were designed for that job as well as to be companions and protectors for the human settlers. The bots were called 'Iamors'

Over a hundred years later, after the terra-forming process had completed, the mining project was discarded. And so were the Iamors, due to newer technology, of course. Missing human interaction and companionship, the Iamors sought to attract humans back to the area. Being of utmost intelligence and using resources from the mine, they organized and began constructing cities in the area. Luckily, many years back, their 'head' program designer had implanted them with facts and details of her own planet, especially her hometown in the Midwest United States. So that was their first blueprint, and they named the city 'Chiamoro.'


I'm imagining the Iams being more like 'I-candy', mainly lara croft like females and superhero like males. (that's why I asked in an earlier post about changing the hair color) . I'd like them to be drivers, assistants, companions, dance partners etc. This is my plan....if I get to this point is a different story :-)
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