His mind worked furiously to wrap around this new realization and Sam started to pace around the table and chairs while Dr. Baker looked on, eye twitching away.
“That would explain the differences in the chairs. I’d thought it was just the more expensive model with the moving chair arms and leg rest.” He stopped and looked at Baker, “I assume that the headsets are what provide the feedback like temperature and texture? Is there some sort of link with electrodes or something?”
When the doctor nodded he continued circling the table, “That’s probably beyond me, but for now that takes care of sensation. But human-like intelligence for NPCs? That goes a lot deeper than the type of AI in Sniper Alliance. Dynamic conversation and reaction to the environment, combat tactics, learning…” Sam trailed off, losing himself in thought.
The silence stretched for a few moments and then Dr. Baker broke it, “Do not forget community. You have only touched on interaction with the host. The intelligence stretches to encompass towns, cities, entire cultures. They interact with each other, even when the host is away.”
“But that would mean Victory Tech would need a server farm exponentially more powerful than anything we’ve seen. The level of artificial intelligence that you’re talking about is completely unheard of in games. I can’t even fathom what it would take to run all of that. Let me guess, Victory Tech has technology far more advanced than anything on the market? I bet they have military contracts for nano-technology and a handful of energy projects too, don’t they?”
Dr. Baker looked at him appraisingly, his demeanor shifting. His eye had stopped twitching, “Erin did say you were a quick study but I did not expect you to connect the dots quite that quickly. Well done, Sam.”
Sam’s mind was racing at his discovery, but Baker’s words brought him back to reality momentarily, “Eri- You mean Lt. Cartwright? She said I was a quick study?”
The doctor was leaning over to collect Sam’s discarded teacup and Sam’s cheeks colored as he thought of his reaction. “Well she did not say it like that, but I do know a thing or two about reading between the lines. Behavioral analysis was not a large part of my major, but you pick up a few things along the way.”
Sam turned to look at the busied psychologist. There was something about his voice that gave him pause. There was less… frenzy to it. “Doctor, I feel like there are things you’re not telling me.”
Baker stared at him for a moment and gave his head a shake, as if he’d been lost in thought. His left eye twitched again and his voice picked up in tempo, “Hm? Oh, yes! No time for that, Mr. Lalonde. It’s time for you to go. Much to do today after all!”
“Wait, Dr. Baker. I want to know more. What else can you tell me about the AI? About the game?”
“Game? It’s hardly a game, Mr. Lalonde.”
Sam tilted his head, “What do you mean?”
“Another time, Mr. Lalonde. For now I have other things to show you.”
“What things?” Sam wanted to hear more about the game, but the doctor was already walking towards the door.
“A new world, Mr. Lalonde.”