Baby on Board

by Eric Zinda

2022

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Number of Reviews: 4
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A tech demo, May 13, 2022

Games made with the Perplexity engine are hugely unique experiences because of the idiosyncratic way in which the parser and world model work. For reasons I can sort of fathom, this engine eschews conventional parser input practices in favor of a system that aspires to be able to parse truly natural language, but has a long way to go. For reasons I can totally fathom, it also generally eschews bespoke descriptions in favor of automatically-generated ones, which could one day become a golden feature, but also has a long way to go.

Here are some of the amazing interactions I had with this game. I believe they speak for themselves.

(Spoiler - click to show)>who am i
you
>what am i
you
>where am i
inside a sidewalk and inside a world
>what color is the sidewalk
a color is not the sidewalk
>take the sidewalk
I can't because it is part of a sidewalk that I am inside


(Spoiler - click to show)>check my inventory
I didn't understand 'inventory'. Maybe try: 'what do you see in there?' and 'Where are you?'
>what do i have
a backside, 2 hand, below you, in back of you, left of you, and right of you
>look at backside
Sorry, I'm designed to understand grammatically correct English. Say 'help' for more information.
>look at my backside
a backside is a backside, a physical object, a place, and a thing. It is connected to you.


While I could comment on Baby on Board as a game and a piece of writing, that would be beside the point, because it is a tech demo first and foremost. And as a tech demo, it displays a mix of promising and concerning features.

To start with the concerning, each turn takes anywhere from 5-15 seconds for the engine to process (at least on my computer, which I do admittedly use to cook certain elements of my breakfast, but the old rig still processes a typical parser turn instantaneously for all practical purposes). Perhaps I lack patience, but to me, this is an extremely serious flaw.

On the other hand, anything that can generate a funny response (intended or otherwise) to trying to take a sidewalk is worthwhile in my view. Perplexity's ability to auto-generate outputs based on the dizzying assortment of relations that it models has actually got me pretty excited. Right now those outputs aren't very good, but the potential is there and I'm eager to see where it will eventually lead.

Though, much like the baby at the center of this game, I reckon the engine won't truly shine without a few more years of development!