This quarter tends to be dominated by things eastern, as it includes our annual trip to the World Computer Shogi Championship in Japan; an event that is also an opportunity to refresh our contacts in Japan, where our current largest contract comes from. This championship is also a chance to test ideas, although pressure of competing activities has meant that Computer Shogi has rather taken backstage. Again the capable Reijer Grimbergen, permanent resident in Japan, has covered the event in this newsletter. We had some mishaps, with a PC that arrived in Japan a little worse for wear and needed to be retired after round one!
This quarter has also seen the Microsoft contract referred to in the previous quarter signed and sealed, so now we are ready to starting producing engines for Microsoft. The contract is predominately for casual games, and follows a worldwide shift into this arena. Indeed the last year has particularly shown the increasing importance of smaller "casual" games in the market, fuelled by the increasing number of small devices available for gaming, in particular mobile phones, but also for on-line gaming. The number of casual game conferences is increasing in this field, where we are specialists, such that it is getting impractical to attend all of these. However we will be at Casual Games Conference in Austin, Texas in September.
A new activity for AI Factory has been gambling games. We had some previous involvement in a Casino project before, where our contribution was for several games, including 5 and 7 card stud. However this is for a completely new game, in conjunction with JDA Centrescreen, to be launched fairly soon. This game of (inevitably) incomplete information makes use of our generic probability engine, and also our capable modular game control, which provides a powerful and flexible framework for representing any game rules. More news on this later.
Finally we are progressing well in our major Japanese contract, but it is still under wraps, so will have to wait for a future edition.
This quarterly round-up is shorter than most as we are gradually catching up, and so this follows on the tails of the previous one. By the Summer Newsletter we should have caught up!