|Zabaware 3D Character Engine|
Zabaware is a small software company specializing in a type of artificial intelligence technology known as chatbots. Chatbots can converse with users in plain English. They can be used as an entertainment product, customer service representative, or personal assistant. You can check out Zabaware’s chatbot known as Ultra Hal here.
The user interface is an important part of the user experience when interacting with a chatbot. Chatbots can be represented by an animated character with full speech synthesis and speech recognition capabilities. Proprietary character engines exist but they are expensive to license and don’t offer the features chatbot developers want such as ease of use and cross platform capability (The ability of one character to run on PC, cell phone, and Mac OS.)
The focus of this project is to build an open source and cross-platform 3D character animation that any chatbot author can utilize or write to. It will be released under the GPL license, meaning any developer can utilize it free of charge as long as they keep the source code open. This will help both Zabaware as a company improve its own products and help the young but quickly growing chatbot industry as a whole by offering a free platform any developer can use to build on.
This project has been in development now for several years and is over two thirds complete, with over $45,000 invested into it. A working windows-based prototype is already functioning and its source code is available here. Unfortunately, Zabaware’s funding ran out before the project could be completed. We are reaching out to the open source community for help in raising $20,000 to bring this project to completion. Check out this project video above or click the donate button to help this project succeed.
August 22, 2011: Our Peerbackers fund raising drive has raised $2,500 and Zabaware has secured a loan for $3,000 to allow this project to continue.
September 1, 2011: We have purchased the Amy character(link depicts model as nude character) from Turbo Squid and have begun the process of converting it for use in our engine and working on finishing up the Windows version of our engine. Hoping for a public release of a demo with this character in December.
September 8, 2011: We are continuing to fundraise to support further development of the engine by porting to Android, iOS, and developing an open source character. Please donate below and vote here as to what we should focus our development efforts on next.