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A very interesting experience about AI@work

  • Irog
  • 11/07/2019 07:36 PM
  • 687 views
SIAM is an interactive story about the future of AI at work. You've been working as a programmer for many years and you sent a request for rest at the company management. Your request got declined and the management sent SIAM to help you. You start to uncover story elements as you interact with SIAM and accomplish your work.

The game folder contains two executables : original.exe and RPG_RT.exe. I was confused about which one to run and I picked original.exe hoping it's the correct one. I would recommend having only one executable in the game folder to prevent payers from running an incomplete version of the game.

I'll do my best to continue this review without completely spoiling the game for you but spoilers are inevitable. So if you want the best experience out of SIAM, you should stop reading this review and play the game.

When you start the game, you're given a simple to understand interface. You can play, work or interact with SIAM. The on-screen cursor makes you reach for your mouse but in SIAM you move the cursor using the arrow keys. This feels very clumsy but it fits the game's context. You've been working in an environment where the work tools are very inefficient.

The play option gives access to a permanent mini-game where you must put your cursor above empty circles and avoid filled circles to earn Bitz. This would be a very easy mini-game with mouse control but not with arrow keys control. The circles move in random directions at just the right speed to present a fair challenge using the arrow keys. You can use the fact that the circles never overlap to optimize your play.

Your work consist in reading numbers from envelopes and typing them in: exactly the type of boring task a programmer would automate. But here you're forced to perform it manually and enter the number without any convenient numeric pad but using arrow keys. Sooya carefully chose 6 digits numbers so that by the time you're about done entering the number, you start to doubt the last digits. This ensure you don't reach a 100% success rate just by trying to remember numbers. You'll need to write every number down on paper to get the 100% success rate. This is excellent risk versus reward between the reliable but slow "write then type" and the less reliable but fast "memorize then type". Sometimes numbers with less that 6 digits appear on the envelopes to tease you with improper inputs. This is one of the most dangerous part of programming (in real live): incorrect handling of improper input leads to exploits in software. Why would you need to handle them manually in SIAM? Because... see the final scene.

You can spend the Bitz you earned from work or play to buy gifts for SIAM and download files that move the story forward. You can also buy access to the news for a very reasonable price. As with any news source, some news are completely useless, some make sens if you can interpret them correctly and others are big helps the developer give you.

Most of the clues about what's going on in this game come from you interactions with SIAM. Her dialog are very well written and she features a lot of eyes and mouth expressions. Unfortunately, the upper line of the text box covers SIAM's mouth, reducing the emotional impact the designer spent so much effort to create.

Once you've figured out what's really going on in the game, you trigger one final event that lead to the end scene. Dialog texts in this final scene don't stay visible long enough.

Sound diversity is almost nonexistent in this game: it only has one music track (a single 74 MB .wav file that would better be compressed in .mp3 or .ogg format).

I like how the exit functionality was altered for whole game. This is such an excellent use of this powerful tool.

Overall SIAM was a very interesting experience that raise questions about working conditions of AI and what would happen if they develop self-awareness.

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The game folder contains two executables : original.exe and RPG_RT.exe. I was confused about which one to run and I picked original.exe hoping it's the correct one. I would recommend having only one executable in the game folder to prevent payers from running an incomplete version of the game.


...I apologize, I didn't realize the non RTP version became the main download, so I wanted to clarify this for those curious, since it's nothing to worry about:

"original.exe" is RPG_RT.exe 1.0.3.0 - I had trouble running this on my computer running windows 7.

"RPG_RT.exe" is RPG_RT.exe 1.0.8.0 - a version I've been using since 2007, I've had no problems running this on other systems, including mac, so I decided to include this version of RPG_RT.exe along with the missing RTP files as well. Sorry for the mix up.
Pages: 1