Microsoft unveils Starship Commander, a voice-operated VR game

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Alejandro Crespo Martínez
@alejandrocrespomartínez

Summary

  • A space opera where you are the hero
  • Microsoft's artificial intelligence at the service of Starship Commander

A space opera where you are the hero

Starship Commander plunges the player into a dark intergalactic war. You will be in charge of a secret mission aboard a spaceship ; your decisions will have a crucial impact on the fate of the galaxy.


Starship Commander: the name is pretty self-explanatory. This game, available on SteamVR for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, transforms the player into a spaceship commander. Realized a full motion video with the Unreal 4 engine, Starship Commander immerses the user in a science fiction universe which looks graphically quite realistic. Beyond the successful aesthetic aspect, it is in voice control that lies the real added value by Starship Commander. The release date of Starship Commander has not yet been revealed.


Microsoft's artificial intelligence at the service of Starship Commander

The developers of Human Interact use the Microsoft Cognitive Services for optimized speech recognition. Starship Commander looks a bit like a supercharged, high-tech version of the “books you are the hero of” from our childhood. Indeed, the use of text-to-speech technology offers a wide range of scriptwriting choices. Alexander Mejia, creative director at Human Interact, describes Starship Commander as a game where you choose your own adventure. According to him, . Indeed, artificial intelligence allows the game to understand words that were not specified during its development. And this is the ambition of Human Interact: allow the player to express themselves in a natural language, to be understood by the game and to produce an action.



To achieve such a level of realism, the developers behind Starship Commander used CRIS (Custom Intelligent Recognition Service) et LUIS (Language Understanding Intelligent Service). These two programs made in Microsoft allow the use of natural language within the game. For the moment, only the English language is supported. The developers integrated different words and expressions into the software. Thanks to the'artificial intelligence, the game is able to understand a voice command not specified during development and assign an action to it. To explain the power of these tools, and in particular LUIS, let's take a concrete example: the expression “Let's move on” was not integrated during the development of the game. However, when the player uses it, the game understands it and allows it to move forward in the story.





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