The Atomic Playboy and the Radiation Romeo

The button below will open a new browser window displaying the Flash interface for Atomic and Romeo (Version 16 with Preloader). You will find a page of introductory text, some instructions and then the interface where you can suggest a topic for conversation.

This version 16 uses the landscape layout, updates the heckler and end-of-conversation functions with an audio sign-off. All the features from previous versions remain - scroll bar control,custId variable allows me to better log and track conversations.

The chat-bots are hosted on the Pandorabots server under the Shared Service subscription. Please note, the terms of the Updated Policy Guidelines for Free Community Server state that the “Use of automated scripts to make your pandorabot talk to itself or another bot or script” is proscribed (Pandorabots 2011). This project is being developed with the agreement of the Pandorabots Inc management and we would like to acknowledge their support. ( Pandorabots )

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After you have had a play with Atomic and Romeo please use this link to leave a comment.
Maybe you could suggest a topic of conversation or a layout suggestion.
All suggestions gratefully received.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A diagramatic view of the project

diagram of the projectOver the past couple of weeks I've been battling with the script writing section of my literature review. This is a area where I've had some experience, both as a playwright and as a researcher. So, I thought it would be easier than earlier sections - I was wrong in so many ways.

Last night I had an epiphany... It was one of those rare moments of clarity. I was looking for a way to describe the relationships between the playwright, the scripted dialogue and the interface (will all the attendant technology).

A playwright's job is far more than simply writing the words to be delivered. As the suffix 'wright' suggests, the job requires an understanding of the entire production process, just as a shipwright needs to more than a woodworker or welder to build a ship. The playwright needs to grapple with technology and industry of production - what is possible on a live theatre stage and how it can be achieved. For example, there is no point attempting to stage a film script that requires truckloads of CGI (imagine trying to stage Avatar).

The diagram here represents the structural layers of the project - each of which offer an unique level of agency. The further from the centre the less direct influence the playwright has. This is not to say that at the outer edge the playwright is completely powerless - at this point the playwright is still making choices but they are largely constrained by the structure. In this project I will depending upon the 'kindness of strangers' - the good people who develop and distribute web browsers. Without them the project would not have a 'theatre'. In production, a play needs to be adjusted to fit the stage and these choices are examples of the agency of the director and playwright. They are choices made within a constrained structure.

Skipping to the inner circles, the structure nearest to the playwright is the AIML of the two characters - Atomic Playboy and Radiation Romeo. The situation here is almost the reverse of the outer shell. The structure of AIML, based on XML, is so open that the characters can be scripted to say anything. The choices here, for the playwright, are those that any playwright would face - what to leave in and what to leave out.

The playwright at the core of the project is not an 'atomic' unit, not indivisible. Rather, the playwright is a construction of a whole other set of contributing elements - habitus, domain acquisition, writing experience, personal preference, genetics etc. These things I'll be dealing with in other sections of the literature review.

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