Artificial Life - An introduction

Fin Fin on Teo, the Magic Planet™ is a revolutionary new maintenance at the PC, a computer-simulation of a fictitious habitat, those teach you the patient handling with other creatures. fin fin™ is half dolphin and half bird - an sympathic creature developed at and from the Computer with emotions and the ability, to react to your speach ans to develop relationships to humans. fin fin is the first commercially available, trustable creature, a believable agent and so a "child" of the Artificial Life (A-Life) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologie.

1. AI, A-Life and Believable Agents

Those research areas couldnīt sharply seperated from each other, because they overlapped. Scientists are using ideas together and learn from the Experiences of the others, and so the disciplines flow into each other. But their are differences:

Artificial Intelligence

AI classifies the ability of a system or a software to behave like the human intelligents does, that means to be considering, problem solution, perception and learning. AI contains studies in expert system, Fuzzy Logic, neuronal networks, intelligently Agents as well as related technologies and systems.

Artificial Life

A-Life researche enveloped itīs self from AI-scientists. It developed to a discipline, that at first works with modells of biological and ecological processes, that couldnīt directly observed in the natur.

The 21. september 1987 is set as the date, at that atifical life has fixed as an „official" disipline. 160 computer scientists, Anthropologen, biologist and peopleresearcher met to new Mexico in the Oppenheimer Study center in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The computer-scientist Christopher Gale Langton presented an at Apple II based, itself reproducing Creature. This serie of colored, repeating loops meant the birth of Artifical Life.

Since then the researches in that area delvelopes fast in to the direction of evolutopntheories. Because the timespan in the evoluition is very long, the scientist does have great interests in A-Life ,because there the theoretically considerations can be investigated in accelerate form. Genetic algorithms can stand vor the DNA in dynamic computermodells or conplete biological population and ecological systems can be digitized, to investigat, what could happen under programmed stress.

Believable Agents

Believable Agents are based at the AI and A-Life research, but mor with the target of art and entertainment as for researches. Fujitsu Laboratories, the research- and developcenter from Fujitsu Ltd, is one of the world wide leading A-Life Research establishments. it startes 1989 with the researches of the roles of computerremoted creatures as autonomous creatures for the later as Teo known project. Since 1990 Fujitsu cooperated with other leading establishments at that area at the Carnegie Mellon University. The so called Oz-Project is the interdisciplinary beginning of the development of believable interactive Figures and emotinal strong storys. The common work in the Oz-project led to works of art with Believable Agents, which were already demonstrated on different art exhibitions.

Fujitsu wanted form the beginning to use the A-Life technology for the entertainment-market. fin fin, as a first result, is the pioneer of the believable agent-products, and sets standarts in a this really new categorie of multimedial-entertainment.

2. Emotions are the key for Reliability

Emotions are the key for thereliability of the believable agents. fin fins emotional ability made possible that the user more than anything else, to displace the distrust and to develop a relationship with fin fin as to an alive nature.

Fin Fin is curious and playful. It is hurt, if humans are bad and is pleased about allowance. If someone shouts at it, he reacts fearfully, cries and flees into the safety of its nest. If a child is steadily friendly to it, theyīll become good friends with the time . He actually becomes acquainted with the child and plays with her or him. Sometimes, from pure fun, Fin Fin demonstrates acrobatic flight feats or sings. If someone is cruelly to him, he becomes really sad.

fin fins emotions are not automatical or foreseeable. fin fin doesnīt react every time int the same way at the same events, because he is able to process information from different sources. He registers and reacts on its physical environment due to his own „personality" likewise, as to interaction with humans. Fin Fin behaves like real alive creatures instinktiv in addition, reflexiv. If he is not in direct danger or fulfills itself vital needs, he can thought, before he acts. Fin Fin represents thus both emotion and autonomy, the characteristics of a real Believable agent.

Artist in a Guiding Role

Artists can be attained special masters, if it concerns to lend fictitious figures emotions and so touching the spectators. For this reason artists were used, in order to indicate the direction for the development of the Believable Agents for Fujitsu Laboratories.

Makoto Tezuka was appointed as the Executive producer, responsible for the concept and development of the figures and management of the whole Teo of project. Tezuka, which is called also „Visualist ", is a well-known film director as well as producer and director of computer titles in Japan

Tezuka was over eight years director/conductor of the Teo project: „I was possessed to create a figure which will outlast thousands of years ". Therefore it created an imaginary organism in place of a real animal figure. Some fictitious figures, like in the Greek mythology or the Japanese kappa, thatfascinated humans for thousands of years, since they combine „dream and reality ". Figures, e.g. the Satyr - half humans, half goat - that unites acquaintance with the unexpected one and the imaginary with the life.

Like that it is with Fin Fin. he is both: strangely and trusts. We know dolphins and we know birds, but a flying dolphin, that is something new. And like that Fin Fin, which comes from a galaxy far away, from the planet Teo, is immediately everyone trusts, which meets him on the PC, because he divides our feelings.

3. The components of the Reliability

Fujitsuīs research brought a set of technological breakthroughs, which led together to the creation of Fin Fin. Prominent technologies provide for the function of Fin Fin:

Life Engine

The Believable agent technology of Fin Fin combines a Hap engine with a special system, which admits to be a"life engines ". The purposeful reaction Hap engine uses a Scripting language for the support of various active goals and various plans for each goal. This engine determines Fin Finīs animation by implementing a three speed (program -) loop: Notice, a thinking, an acting. The data of the perception will transfer into the model of the creature, including the current status (as hungry, thirstily or tiredly he is etc.). The engine permits it to Fin Fin to notice its world by the influences, which it supplies - feel the rain, the cooling if the sun goes down, the approximation of another TEO organism, the beauty of a blooming flower - and then to think and act.

The Life engine uses high speed Artificial Intelligence technology to create the apparently life-genuine independent actions as soon as Fin Fin noticed the present/immediate situation and thoughts about the possibilities, which are available in its volume of data.

Comparably with animals on earth Fin Fin thinks in two levels - reflexiv and reflectiv - in two different speeds. Reflexiv - the Instinktive - functions as fast as possible. Reflektiv, if Fin Fin makes a choice, which is not certain of urgent needs, runs off more relaxed. The possibilities were structured in such a way by the artists, as if they would be Fin Fin. They were integrated into experts system and over only the options, which are appropriate for such creature in an accepted situation.


The user informs itself with Fin Fin over the SmartSensor, small equipment, which is applied on the PC monitor. It permits the user to communicate with Fin Fin with its voice; by the integrated presence alarm unit it reacts in addition, to light change and to movements. The SmartSensor is the basis for the interaction with Fin Fin to develop and maintain „Instrument " around the relationship.

Audio-visuell Effects

Computer graphics and sound represent the sumptuous vegetation, the movements of Fin Fin and its companions, to the other Teo inhabitants. Fin Finīs fast changes in thoughts and emotions must be likewise considered with the animation by expression and movements, as the changing scenes of the environment, in which it lives.

The animation engine settles that everything in real time and with an extraordinarily high graphic quality. The representation of Fin Fin alone needs 40,000 polygone, each scene on the planet Teo more than one million polygone.


A Believable operating system Structure (BOSS) forms the background for the life-genuine impression of the planet Teo and the movements of Fin Fin. The polygone, which represent Fin Fin, are summarized from hundreds and however hundreds of smallest animations. Proprietaere diagram techniques make considerations possible to create modifications and size changes „on the Fly " around life-genuine variety.