... about that idea i was implementing for the Robot Invaders contest. well ... it's a text adventure bot. specifically, some of the early games by Scott Adams and Brian Howarth. came up with the idea to bring the games to instant message. then i found out that they had already been implemented on AIM, with Infocom games. but i stuck with the idea because i was also going to implement it for speech. well ... somebody did that with zork this week. darnit. well ... the only way to be differet is do both.
couple days last week i ported some old C code to C# for parsing the game file formats and executing the game engine. got it working in a stand-alond winforms app with text first. then, i'm on the private Speech Server 2007 beta, so i worked on that for about a week. it's using the managed code model with workflow foundation, and i have to say it's sweet. that code just has to go through the additional step of dynamically generating a grammar for each game, based on valid verb-noun combintations. it's working now, the problem is it's a private beta, so i can't share any of it ... probably for months. too bad, because the speech reco works great. even cooler, i created a bridge to go from MSN-to-Speech Server. so you can use the same code base with either text or speech. the problem is, i'm only running the dev server, and that won't scale to a large # of concurrent users; at least not the way i created the bridge. anyway, it's a sweet prototpye. you could start a game on MSN, save it, and then load that saved game and continue playing with Speech. cool! i'll share the code and write up an article once it can be made public.
to get around the concurrent user limitation, i just cooked up another stand-alone app to host IM sessions only. the disadvantage is that its not entirely the same codebase with speech anymore, nor is the code as easy to understand as WF. the advantage is this will allow me to customize it for MSN. right now it's just the basic games, but i'll see about adding maps, hints, and walkthroughs. need to ask permission first.
the bots address is currently : firstname.lastname@example.org ... this will change. hope to add the features above shortly, and the app probably needs some more bullet-proofing in case an exception occurs. so don't expect it to be very reliable in the short term.