Any chance you'll allow the community to also create and submit their own AI personalities? Given the nature of Elemental to have user content, I could see submitting AI personalities as an option.
Also, you may want to let folks know that if they pre-order they have to play online. Not a problem for me, but something those who preorder may need to know.
They won't be able to create thei rown AI personalities from scratch but I would likely welcome the opportunity to let others create derivative ones or even host their own AI personalities that play on-line.
Let me describe what we've got here a bit:
So you would have a directory called say \BILLY
Inside \BILLY would be three files along with a subdirectory called \LOGS.
The three files would be ElementalRobot.exe, AIInfo.XML and AITactics.xml
AIInfo.xml contains the Impulse account information. You would have to create an Impulse account for your robot with UserID and password. This info goes into the AIInfo.xml file.
The AIInfo.xml also has the parsing stuff in there. You'll be able to put in key words for the AI to look for and type in hard-coded responses.
<PlayerQuery>Are you there?</PlayerQuery>
<Response>Sure am, just want to play!</Response>
AITactics.XML would have a bunch of data on how they will play the game. Note that this isn't a scripting language. Our AI's are written in C++ and are, sadly, closed source. But the XML file would have a lot to do with how well the AI plays the game (most of my work in GalCiv II's AI at this point is just modifying variables that could have been put into an XML file).
The \LOGS directory includes game/chat info from each game so it would be full of files from each game the robot has played.
You would run ElementalRobot.exe (or you could rename it to Billy.exe) and off he goes, connecting on-line to find games to play and joining games, chatting, whatever.
Like I mentioned before, we would probably run 200 to 300 of these robots ourselves and let others add their own if they want.
We haven't decided whether we're going to let the robots start their own games otherwise you might have tons of robot on robot battles which kind of defeats the purpose.