Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sims 'R Us

It seemed like a minute ago that he had cracked the wrapper of his new Sims 10 game chip, and thumbed his print to unlock the copy protection, but after 12 hours straight, Sol Hackmer looked in disbelief at his flex-screen, seeing at a glance how to make this game way more interesting than even the AI that had replaced Will the Maker had intended. There before him, softly glowing on his lap in organic led luminescence, was the core values matrix template for the autonomy engine, the controller core for the hundreds of microdecisions each Sim can make. "Hundreds?" Sol mused, thinking that was woefully inadequate to describe the behavioural matrix of a human, why it was hardly enough to motivate the thousands of simants that he steered into the great Ant War of 1993 when his hand was smaller than the mouse he used to play the game. The cvm was very simple - love, fear, satisfaction, hunger, bladder size; just enough to make these little puppets manipulable, but not rich enough to make them well, interesting. "Let's see how interesting these things could get," he mused as he coded up a complex web of interrelated, but somehow, more primal, values into the matrix. Starting with the basics: need to survive, nutrition, sensual index linked to physical limits, he started the more intricate code for recursive and iterative loops; pineal balance controller, pituitary regulator. He paused, hours later, stretching his fingers, reaching back to pick up another Dr. Pepper Zero, and the classic text by Norman and Litwack from his pre-med classes. Suddenly all that started to make sense to him, how the thoughts, motivation, and state of self-awareness and satisfaction could be modelled so completely by the hormonal interplay in the bloodstream. The further he worked into the night, the simpler the code became, but the cross-linkages held the complexity. The network was the system. The sun snooped over his shoulder as it rose and shone through his apartment window, and he thought it might be good enough. Randomize the parametric variations, initialize normal Gaussian distribution, and he was done. Time to set them going. He created a few thousand enhanced Sims, and set them about their day, as he set out toward his own. What he'd come back to later that day would be etched in his mind forever.