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    SimBionic(TM) lets non-programmers easily define how computer-generated people, systems or other entities act and respond to “virtual” situations

 SAN MATEO, CA., Dec. 2, 2002 — The first software tool kit that lets non-programmers easily define the behavior of people, systems or other entities in computer training simulations and games was introduced today by Stottler Henke Associates, Inc., a software development and consulting firm based here.

SimBionic(TM) is a visual authoring tool and runtime engine for creating complex behaviors, through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). It enables training simulation and game developers to speed their development time, while empowering designers and end users to directly incorporate their knowledge and expertise into the systems. Speeding the simulation development process can accelerate time-to-market for games, and can produce smarter simulations for training systems. And employing a graphical interface for specifying behaviors, so that non-programmer “subject matter experts” can create them, reduces the risk of simulation errors related to miscommunication of content between an expert and a programmer.

Stottler Henke reports SimBionic reduced by 70 percent the programming time required for initial development of a training simulation for the U.S. Army; subsequent changes to the simulation were accomplished 10-times faster than previously possible. In the computer games market, where development costs typically total about $4 million for a game (according to SoundView Technology Group), the AI portion alone can represent 25 percent or more of that total.

“SimBionic is a significant technology advance for two primary reasons,” said Richard Stottler, president and co-founder of Stottler Henke. “First, it’s a flexible, general-purpose tool for an industry that historically spends vast amounts of time and money building custom, project-specific AI tools – so the potential for savings is enormous. And, as a visual development system, SimBionic is usable not only by programmers, but also by non-technical subject-matter experts – designers, analysts, operators and instructors – so you can eliminate the traditional, cumbersome, error-prone approach in which an expert has to explain everything to a programmer who then codes it into the software.”

Multiple projects prove SimBionic’s value

Stottler Henke used SimBionic to create the student performance evaluation mechanism in an Intelligent Tutoring System for the U.S. Army. Using this system, the armor and mechanized infantry battalion commander reviews a mission briefing presented by the software, creates a mission plan, and then executes the plan within a simulation. Student performance assessment algorithms created using SimBionic critique each student’s plan. When the student executes the plan in a real-time battle simulation, SimBionic monitors the student’s actions, assesses the student’s performance, and delivers an automated after-action review.

SimBionic was also used to create the Intelligent Identification Software Module (IISM) for use onboard aircraft carriers to identify air and surface radar tracks. SimBionic behaviors execute in real time to analyze track trajectories, actions, interactions, and other data related to identification to determine the type of aircraft or ship and the country of ownership, at least to the degree of whether it’s an ally, neutral, or enemy.

In the games market, users who tested a pilot version of SimBionic optimized by Stottler Henke for the popular computer game, NeverWinter Nights, were overwhelmingly positive about the value of the tool.

SimBionic’s components

SimBionic consists of two major components: a visual authoring tool, and a runtime engine. The SimBionic authoring tool is a standard Windows application. Because SimBionic presents its logic graphically, it can communicate more information to more people compared to textual methods. Visual representations can be understood by experts and by software programmers alike, so they can speak the same language, resulting in superior collaborative development.

The SimBionic runtime engine takes the behavior description, and makes it operational within a game or training simulation. The engine is efficient, highly scalable, and provides a C++ application programming interface, so software developers can easily interface it with simulations and games.

The SimBionic authoring tool runs on Microsoft Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP operating systems. The SimBionic runtime engine runs on these operating systems, as well as Linux.

SimBionic price and availability

SimBionic is available immediately from Stottler Henke. Pricing is on a per-seat basis, and varies based on the size of the installation.

Development of SimBionic was supported in large part by R&D funding provided by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. Email:  Web: