Iam Development Introduction

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Avatar Reality is providing the possibility of having computer-controlled avatars present in the Blue Mars virtual worlds. In daily speech these computer-controlled avatars are sometimes referred to as 'A.I.', 'robot', 'bot', 'droid', 'replicant', 'autonomous agent' or 'autonomous avatar'. In all subsequent documentation we'll refer to them as 'Iam'. Their purpose will be manifold from shop-keepers, tour-guides, chat-bots, companions and many many more. Since we won't even be able to begin to imagine all possible purposes Iams can fulfill, we've decided to allow for external developers to create their own.

Initially, Iam development will be done in the Java programming language. To facilitate this, a ready-made development framework will be made available that will make it extremely easy to create a simple Iam. In order to develop an Iam however, basic Java programming skills are a requirement. Soon other ways to create or customize Iams will come available that will not necessarily require Java programming. In fact, to a limited extent some of the Iams in the sample projects can already be customized simply by editing some XML, AIML or CHAT-L files. But all of these will have the Java framework as its foundation. We want to give programmers as much freedom as possible to program their creations. For now we have decided to put a few minor restrictions on Iams so that it becomes easier to distinguish them from player-controlled avatars. First of all, all Iams have silver hair, a color no other type of avatar can have. Secondly, whenever an Iam is activated, it goes through a quick self-checking procedure which it ends by uttering the words "I am".

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