Humans Hanging Out
February 4, 2010 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Humans Hanging Out
A brief diversion in Flash made for the most recent Global Game Jam. You play as a robot with a limited vocabulary who must convince a number of humans that it has passed the Turing test. If you succeed, you'll be welcomed into human society as a peer; if you fail, you are sent to Robot Jail.

Here is our Global Game Jam page, and here are some photos of the game-making process:

Early paper prototype of game mechanics
Sheep specialist sketch

For the nerds: the game has an open API, written in Python, so you can make your own client! The two URLs you need to know, both of which give a response in JSON:
returns a list of nouns, verbs, professions and dispositions, along with twenty randomly-generated humans
returns an evaluation of the noun 'r' and verb 's' given in response to a human of profession 'p' and disposition 'q'. (The values p, q, r, and s must be in the set of values acquired from /info). The evaluation includes the text of the human's response, along with a score value.

Source code for the API is available from GitHub.
posted by aparrish (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I like the quirky style, but the gameplay is exasperating. The first two "challenges" are usually straightforward, but after that it seems like what you say has no bearing on the reaction. For example, I told a "mezzo-soprano" that I adored singing, and she was skeptical. What?

And often you'll get combinations of responses that will either piss the character off, or really piss them off. Like, the subjects will be things they should respect, but all the verbs will be "I hate" or "I shrink from" or "I abhor," so you have no choice but to insult them most of the time. It seems impossible to win.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2010

Hey Rhaomi, Rob here - I worked on Humans Hanging Out with Adam. Thanks for playing, and for your feedback.

The gameplay is indeed a bit disorienting until you've figured out exactly how to pander to the humans. The key is the adjective that appears before their profession when they announce themselves to you -- a *jaded* mezzo soprano, for example, would actually be thrilled to hear you say that you abhorred singing, because after all these years she's hardened into a jaded old bat who hates the business. A *deferential* mezzo soprano would probably want to hear that you shrank from singing, etc.

Re: the variance in how angry they get, it depends on whether you've matched one or zero words to their worldview. There are some turns where you don't have the right words to please anyone, and in that case you have to take a hit, but you have 10 skepticism to work with and so the game becomes about limiting the damage on a given turn until you're in a position to match both words and reduce your skepticism a bit.

During testing, we found that once people got over this initial hump (i.e. once they figured out how to game our cartoon version of the Turing Test), the game became quite winnable.
posted by talkingpet at 6:21 AM on February 5, 2010

Thanks for the extra info, Rob. I did get over the "hump" after a few more games, and actually won after about the 20th go with a few lucky combinations to help. Love the dialogue!
posted by Rhaomi at 4:46 PM on February 5, 2010

I played a few times and it sent me to jail after getting punched. Is it supposed to do that? I thought it was just supposed to give you extra skepticism points.
posted by shaun uh at 10:16 PM on February 8, 2010

shaun uh, when they react like that you have to punch them back before they grab you -- just click the icon in the center.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:29 PM on February 8, 2010

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