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How Players Speak to an Intelligent Game Character Using Natural Language Messages
Katja Hofmann

AI-driven characters that learn directly from human input are rare in digital games, but recent advances in several fields of machine learning suggests that they may soon be much more feasible to create. This study explores the design space for interacting with such a character through natural language text dialogue. We conducted an observational study with 18 high school students, who played Minecraft alongside a Wizard of Oz prototype of a companion AI character that learned from their actions and inputs. In this paper, we report on an analysis of the 186 natural language messages that players sent to the character, and review key variations in syntax, function and writing style. We find that players' behaviour and language was differentiated by the extent to which they expressed an anthropomorphic view of the AI character and the level of interest that they showed in interacting with it.

Author Information

Katja Hofmann (Microsoft Research)

Dr. Katja Hofmann is a Principal Researcher at the [Game Intelligence](http://aka.ms/gameintelligence/) group at [Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK](https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/lab/microsoft-research-cambridge/). There, she leads a research team that focuses on reinforcement learning with applications in modern video games. She and her team strongly believe that modern video games will drive a transformation of how we interact with AI technology. One of the projects developed by her team is [Project Malmo](https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/project-malmo/), which uses the popular game Minecraft as an experimentation platform for developing intelligent technology. Katja's long-term goal is to develop AI systems that learn to collaborate with people, to empower their users and help solve complex real-world problems. Before joining Microsoft Research, Katja completed her PhD in Computer Science as part of the [ILPS](https://ilps.science.uva.nl/) group at the [University of Amsterdam](https://www.uva.nl/en). She worked with Maarten de Rijke and Shimon Whiteson on interactive machine learning algorithms for search engines.

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