An Interactive Drama Engine in Virtual Reality

An Interactive Drama Engine in Virtual Reality

An Interactive Drama Engine in Virtual Reality (2005-2006)

ARC Linkage International Fellowship Grant

Investigators: Kavakli, M., Pelachaud, C., Szilas, Nicolas

The goal of this project is to build an Interactive Drama Engine that will provide the user with a dramatic experience in a virtual world. In hypertext and computer games, although the narrative is generally limited to a graph of possibilities predetermined by an author in the storyline. In interactive drama, the user's role is not confined to physical actions on the physical virtual world but also encompasses higher level intervention, in particular language-based interactions with other characters.

We have designed and implemented a new and innovative user interface for the narrative engine, for the user to enter his/her high level actions. This is an adaptive interface based on the history on interaction. A preliminary evaluation of the interface has been performed. The results have been published in the 2006 edition of the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces.

We have improved and simplified the narrative engine developed by Dr Szilas, in particular the model of the user. We have integrated the narrative engine with a game engine called Unreal Tournament 2004. The two programs communicate via sockets. A syntax of message has been described for the communication. This allows to run the narrative engine within a 3D environment.

A behaviour engine has been designed and implemented, which manages an intermediate layer of behaviour description and simulation, between the level of narrative actions and the level of animations.

An Honours student (Ren Wang) has currently been supervised by Kavakli and Szilas to improve the Behaviour Engine. An XML format has been adopted to code the scenarios. We have produced 6 publications. The narrative engine has been also described in detail in a technical report: A Computational Model of an Intelligent Narrator for Interactive Narratives, Report # C/TR05-03, Nov. 2005, Department of Computing, ICS, Macquarie University.

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