Versu: interactive stories built around character AI

Versu is the interactive fiction platform I’ve been working on with Richard Evans for Linden Lab.

AI-driven characters, social interactions, and relationships are the primary focus of the world model: characters act autonomously, converse, judge and respond to you (and to each other), start and end relationships. It is inspired in part by many years of advanced NPC work in this community, from Progue and the cast of Make It Good to the conversation and NPC-autonomy libraries, combined with Richard’s cutting-edge AI and new work on modeling conversation dynamics involving multiple agents.

I’m excited to say that Versu is live with four stories for the iPad; in the future, there will be more content, support for other devices, as well as authoring tools open to the public.

I have a longer introduction post here. I’ll be following up on my blog over the next couple of weeks with way more technical detail about how Versu conversation works, what it’s like to write for, and other aspects of the system.

This does look really good from the video on the site. Is it available to download from a PC at all (ie. without an iPad)?

Currently it’s iPad only; other devices to follow shortly, though I don’t have a timeline for a direct-for-PC build.

I found it extremely well-done, with really nice looks, too.

A couple of “complaints”:
First, the choices are sometimes more Than the intended box can show. Too bad, there is no scroll sign and I understood it far into the first story. You may want o add a visibile sign when this happens.
Second: the 4th story is not free. And this would be not a problem, if the store would t charge nearly 500 euros for it :wink:
I guess that is a bug.

Heh – thanks for the feedback! I knew that there was a problem with the Austrian store price, which I’ve already reported – I take it that’s also the case in Italy?

I tried to confirm that, but the app crashes every time I tap on the Store icon. (Other than that, it looks very cool.)

Aie, that’s worse. What iTunes jurisdiction are you in, Juhana?

This is the Finnish app store.

At one point the app started crashing right after showing the splash screen, but restarting the iPad solved that. Opening the store page still crashes the app.

Oh wow, it almost sounds too good to be true. I’m very interested in playing, but lack the hardware. Where does Richard live? I need to know where to send the caffeine and Pop-Tarts.

BTW, where does the name Versu come from? I keep reading it as versus.

Versu came about in brainstorming from some book-related words (Verso with a slight twist, really). It wasn’t my idea, but I’ve grown fond of it, as one does.

Richard’s in the UK, as it happens. I have the impression that Pop-Tarts may be an alien phenomenon there.

While I was waking up this morning I realized that Versu is almost the beginning of Uservoice spelled backwards.

I would have never spotted that! :laughing:

I’m in the UK, and I can assure you that we have now caught up with the rest of the world in terms of unwise breakfast choices. Pop-tarts are the greatest! That said, our flavour choices are rather limited, so I buy the Cinnamon Swirl US variety from an import candy store.

I eagerly expect an imminent cheque from the toaster pastry people.

Pop-Tarts have been in the UK for a long time now. I’ve been having them (on and off) for years now. In my view, the chocolate flavour is best.

Ah, okay. In that case I am just never looking in the right places when in UK grocery stores. (Plausible enough. I don’t buy Pop-Tarts in the US either.)

More about the story structure here, for those who are interested. I’ll follow in future blog posts with some discussion about the conversation system; then another about the choice of genre for the launch stories and how that affected the content and system as a whole.

Thanks for that last posting, Emily. I am a new teacher (English and Tech) who is trying to utilize IF to engage students’ reading and writing. I’ve just been considering Inform 7 so far, but I’m looking forward to the creation tools.

The recent update fixed the store issue for me, thanks. And the price seems to be correct too.

Woot! Good to know.

Way to bump an old thread, but… what are the possibilities of an iPhone/iPod port of this? Or rather, are there any inherent difficulties that prevented it from being published as such in the first place?