War Stories: How Forza learned to love neural nets to train AI drivers

Produced by Justin Wolfson, edited by Shandor Garrison. Click here for transcript.
Once an upstart, the Forza franchise is now firmly established within the pantheon of great racing games. The first installment was created as the Xbox’s answer to Gran Turismo, but with a healthy helping of online multiplayer racing, too. Since then, it has grown with Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, with more realistic graphics and ever-more accurate physics in the track-focused Forza Motorsport series as well as evolving into open-world adventuring (and even a trip to the Lego dimension) for the Forza Horizon games.
If you’re one of the millions of people who’ve played a Forza racing game, you’re probably aware of the games’ AI opponents, called “Drivatars.” When the first Drivatars debuted in Forza Motorsport in 2005, they were a substantial improvement over the NPCs we raced in other driving games, which often just followed the same preprogrammed route around the


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1705877

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Amazon launches new Alexa developer tools

Amazon today announced a slew of new features for developers who want to write Alexa skills. In total, the team released 31 new features at its Alexa Live event. Unsurprisingly, some of these are relatively minor but a few significantly change the Alexa experience for the over 700,000 developers who have built skills for the platform so far.
“This year, given all our momentum, we really wanted to pay attention to what developers truly required to take us to the next level of what engaging [with Alexa] really means,” Nedim Fresko, the company’s VP of Alexa Devices & Developer Technologies, told me.
Maybe it’s no surprise then that one of the highlights of this release is the beta launch of Alexa Conversations, which the company first demonstrated at its re:Mars summit last year. The overall idea here is, as the name implies, to make it easier for users to have a natural


Original URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/374y-Nm8960/

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