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Milo and Kate is a video game in development by Lionhead Studios, currently targeted for release on the Xbox 360 video game console platform. Formerly a secretive project best known by the early code name "Dimitri" it surfaced in 2009 in a demonstration for Kinect (known at the time by its code-name, Project Natal), a "controller-free" entertainment initiative for the Xbox 360 based on depth-sensing and pattern recognition technologies.
The project began as work on an "emotional AI (artificial intelligence)" after Lionhead had finished work on Black & White in 2001. The project was code-named Dimitri, after Lionhead creative director Peter Molyneux's godson. Details revealed about the project led some to speculate that "Dimitri" had become Fable II, but a 2006 interview with Molyneux confirmed that the projects were separate. For 7 years the development of Dimitri remained "experimental" a reason why news of it during this phase of development is scarce. In later statements, Molyneux began to refer to the project as "Project X".
In a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June 2009, Lionhead parent company Microsoft unveiled Kinect, then known as Project Natal, during which it featured a presentation clip from Molyneux demonstrating a woman naturally interacting face-to-face with a character on a television screen, referred to as "Milo." In an interview with Eurogamer after the press conference, Peter Molyneux confirmed that the demonstration was of the previously-known "Dimitri," and will be a full game, developed around Kinect, named Milo and Kate. In the game, players will interact with a 10-year-old child (Milo or Millie, selected at the start) and a dog named Kate, playing through a story. According to Molyneux, work on the Kinect-specific elements was started in December 2008. The game will also feature an in-game store, for purchasing items to enhance the game.
Milo has an AI that reacts to body movements and facial expressions. The program recognizes people and the Milo/Milly character introduces himself/herself to new people, and allows people to have a conversation with him/her. Drawing pictures on paper and holding to the Kinect sensor allows it to scan the image and create a representative onscreen that Milo/Milly can interact with as an in-game drawing. The Kinect sensor also allows 3D objects, for example an apple, to be scanned into the game.
Milo has an AI structure that responds to human interactions, such as spoken word, gestures, or predefined actions in dynamic situations. The game relies on a procedural generation system which is constantly updating a built-in "dictionary" that is capable of matching key words in conversations with inherent voice-acting clips to simulate lifelike conversations. Peter Molyneux claims that the technology for the game was developed while working on Fable and Black & White.
In June 2010 the game wasn't mentioned or displayed by Microsoft during that year's E3 press conference. Further confusion arose later in the month with a statement by Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg stateing that the game wasn't a product they were going to bring to market, but was more of an internal tech demo. This was later refuted by Peter Molyneux who stated that he would reveal a more advanced version of Milo during his TEDGlobal talk in Oxford in July 2010. Molyneux went on to hint at difficulties in getting Microsoft to see Milo as a full game. Molyneux said "The biggest challenge for us is convincing people (Microsoft) what we're doing is actually going to work, is going to reach a new audience, is going to be an idea that people love."
In a recent TED conference gameplay of the actual game can be shown. You can make crucial decisions in Milo's life, or smaller ones such as squashing a snail or not. In the press conference it was shown that Milo was shown how to skip stones. In the conference a red on microphone image appeared on the screen when you could talk.
Molyneux "chose" an audience member to demonstrate the game. However, the man said his name is Dimitri, the codename of the project before its announcement.
In a press conference in July 2010, creator Peter Molyneux revealed that Milo (or Millie depending on the player's preference) has just moved from London to New England in America, and is having problems. Players interact with the AI as a friend to the character, helping him/her through tough times and providing guidance in decisions throughout the story.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Video Games Daily | Peter Molyneux Interview Sept 2008 (Page 4). Archive.videogamesdaily.com. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ellie Gibson (2009-06-02). E3: Molyneux and Milo Xbox 360 Interview - Page 1. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Exclusive: Molyneux on Dimitri, Fable 2. Archive.videogamesdaily.com. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ↑ Exclusive: Molyneux on Dimitri, Fable 2. Computerandvideogames.com (2005-04-06). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ↑ Peter Molyneux' Next Game based on Dimitri and a Discovery | News. GamersGlobal (2008-03-07). Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ↑ Baker, Chris. Peter Molyneux: My Next Game a ‘Significant Scientific Achievement’. Wired. Wired Network. Retrieved on 2009-10-28.
- ↑ Molyneux responds to Milo release fuss..
- ↑ Video of Peter Molyneux demoing Milo, the virtual boy July 2010