IBM Watson allows players to talk to shipmates in ‘Star Trek: Bridge Crew’

Star Trek: Bridge Crew Hands On
Ubisoft

IBM and Ubisoft have announced a strategic partnership that will see IBM’s Watson technology implemented in the virtual reality game Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Players will be able to use their voice to interact with the other Starfleet officers and deliver commands to their crew.

Bridge Crew is a co-operative VR experience that sees players take on one of four distinct roles — captain, tactical officer, engineer, and helm officer — then work together with their shipmates to pull off difficult missions. IBM’s technology should ensure that playing the game with computer-controlled partners feels just as natural as playing alongside other human players.

Ubisoft has implemented Watson in Bridge Crew using IBM’s new VR Speech Sandbox, which combines the Watson software development kit for game development platform Unity with the Watson Text to Speech and Watson Conversation services. The VR Speech Sandbox is available now for developers who want to use voice recognition in their VR software.

IBM promises that its Watson technology provides natural language interaction, rather that keyword-driven dialogue. This should mean that players can concentrate on their strategy in the midst of gameplay, rather than fishing for a particular set of words and phrases that their AI companions can understand.

“For the first time, Watson will power the technology that makes it possible for gamers and fans of Star Trek to interact with the crew,” said Willie Tejada, IBM’s chief developer advocate. “We are only just seeing the impact of virtual and augmented reality and IBM is committed to providing developers with the tools they need to innovate and be competitive in this AI and Cognitive era.”

Watson is set to be implemented in Bridge Crew later this summer. However, players will be able to preview the functionality when an experimental beta period gets underway following the game’s launch on May 30, 2017.