One of the things I plan to have the MUD engine support is AIML. That’s an XML-based file format that defines conversational data for a “chatterbot”. I’m sure most everyone has heard of the Eliza, Julia, or A.L.I.C.E chat bots.
The idea is that you can create personalities that respond to certain phrases, much like quest messages do/did in previous versions of Basternae, but you can take it even further by having compound triggers, matches, variables, and responses to previous inputs.
There’s really no limit to how simple or complex you can make your ‘bot’, from responding to only a single phrase to an encylopedia of knowledge that might almost pass the Turing test.
Here’s a bit of info about the format:
Overview from Dr. Wallace, creator of AIML
And, of course, here’s the obligatory Wikipedia link:
AIML on Wikipedia
One tool I’ve found that I like so far is the GaitoBot AIML Editor, which you can get here:
GaitoBot AIML Editor Homepage
If you know any German, the bot on the Gaito site is kind of fun to banter with. I know just enough to make it think I’m an idiot. 😛
If you want to start building your own bot personalities — grumpy Trolls, arrogant Elves, Dwarves too busy working to deal with your nonsense, or schizophrenic tinker gnomes — then feel to grab the GaitoBot app and start building personalities. The intent is to be able to load AIML files directly into the MUD and associate them with one or more mobs.
All I’ve done so far is generate some C# classes from the AIML schema, but that went smoothly enough. I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to build my own bot engine or use an existing open source one.