Future directions in interactive fiction
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Future Directions in Interactive Fiction. CS 370 Computer Game Design Spring 2003 Ken Forbus. Overview. Where is interactive fiction now? Where is interactive fiction going? Bates’ Oz Project Crawford’s Erasmatazz Hayes-Roth’s Virtual Theater Perlin’s Improv project

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Future Directions in Interactive Fiction

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Future directions in interactive fiction

Future Directions in Interactive Fiction

CS 370 Computer Game Design

Spring 2003

Ken Forbus


Overview

Overview

  • Where is interactive fiction now?

  • Where is interactive fiction going?

    • Bates’ Oz Project

    • Crawford’s Erasmatazz

    • Hayes-Roth’s Virtual Theater

    • Perlin’s Improv project

    • ICT’s use of drama in training

    • Marc Cavazza’s interactive soap operas


Recall our model of game design

Recall our model of game design

  • Story: How you want the player to think of the game. Its plot and activities, expressed in terms of the imagined world

  • Model: The rules and laws of the imagined world as instantiated in the game. What kinds of things there are in it (ontology), its physics and sociology.

  • Implementation: The software that implements the model and whose execution provides the player’s experience.


Sources of immersion aka time warp factor

Sources of Immersion(aka “Time warp factor”)

  • Engaging imagined world

    • Exciting/intriguing story line, events

  • Engaging modeled world

    • Great descriptions (text or graphics)

    • Charming details (e.g., chain vomiting in Theme Park)

  • Avoiding discrepancies between modeled and imagined world

    • Can’t do “obvious” action

    • Actions have unrealistic consequences

  • Key design issue: Richness/Discrepancy tradeoff


Text based interactive fiction

Text-based interactive fiction

  • Driving force: Implementation choice of text descriptions and commands as interface

  • Minimal model: Discrete locations, actions, time, and events.

    • Inform provides rich modeling language, but doesn’t have floating point!

  • Richer models are possible but rare

    • e.g., Infocom’s Border Zone synched game time to real time

    • Continuous change may be poor match for interface


Evolution in graphics helps drive evolution of interactive fiction

Evolution in graphics helps drive evolution of interactive fiction

  • More 2D graphics

    • Mouse-hunt games

  • More video intense

    • More cut scenes

    • Player as steering video stream

  • More 3D graphics/animation modeling

    • Exploiting stunning rise in 3D rendering hardware

    • Limitations:

      • Modeling requires substantially more resources

      • NPC actions/movements tightly scripted


New direction adding intelligence

New direction: Adding Intelligence

  • Graphics will continue to evolve

    • Provides richer canvas for the imagined world

    • Richer canvas rapid increase in complexity of authoring

  • Revolutionary changes are coming from AI technology

    • Richer models of characters

    • Richer models of social interactions

    • Ability to embed author’s intent into structure of the world

    • Richer world infrastructures higher immersion experiences


Oz project cmu

Oz Project (CMU)

Player

  • Goal: Creation of interactive drama

  • Requires

    • Believable Agents

    • Drama Managers

Presentation

Drama

Manager

Character

Avatar

Character


Believable agents

Believable Agents

  • Things (hardware or software) that act alive

  • For stories, serve as other characters in plot

  • Also finding uses in

    • Educational software (guides, e.g., Lester’s work at UNC)

    • Computer interfaces more generally


What is needed for storytelling

What is needed for storytelling?

  • Personality

    • What makes someone unique

  • Emotion

    • Exhibiting their own, and responding to others appropriately

  • Self-motivation

    • Their own drives and goals help govern their behavior

  • Social relationships

    • Consistent and evolving interactions with others over time

  • Change

    • They learn and grow, consistent with their personality

  • Broadly capable

    • Can carry out a rich variety of behaviors in pursuit of their goals in an interactive environment


Intelligence and believability

Intelligence and believability

  • Must be smarter than today’s NPCs

    • avoid brittleness

  • Don’t have to be brilliant

  • Don’t even have to be human-level intelligence

    • Space of interactions only has to support needs of the story

versus


Example edge of intention

Example: Edge of Intention

  • Simple, 3D animated world

  • The Woggles

    • move by bouncing from place to place.

    • have “body language”, expressing emotions by changing shape

    • have social relationships

    • engage in social behavior


Interaction

Interaction

  • The player’s avatar is also a woggle

  • By interacting with woggles, you find out about their social structure.No plot, but very engaging behaviors

    • Personalities of woggles become quickly clear

    • Threaten one, its friend intervenes to try and scare you off

    • Join or start games of follow the leader


Drama management

Drama management

  • Authoring involves creating a dramatic arc

    • Fixed in traditional fiction

    • Various branching structures possible in interactive fiction

  • Problem: How to tell a great story while giving player freedom?

    • Complexity of possible branching in rich worlds quickly makes authoring unmanageable

    • Usual solutions of sharply limiting world or player restrictive


Storytelling as search

Storytelling as Search

  • Consider a story as a sequence of scenes

    • Scene = significant event/turning in the plot

    • Lots of variability in how a scene plays out

  • Scenes and relationships between them form a space of possible plots

    • Relationships that must hold between scenes structure the space

    • Some relationships inviolable

      • e.g., establishing prerequisite

    • Some can be varied

      • e.g., establishing motivation for an action before or after the action itself


Drama manager

Drama Manager

  • Given:

    • Evaluation function that rates sequences of scenes

    • Methods for affecting the game

  • Ensure:

    • The sequence of scenes a player experiences corresponds to a good story

Where player

is now

Choice of next scene

determined by

dramatic potential of

possible futures


Drama management as metagaming

Drama management as metagaming

  • Drama Manager in effect is playing a game

    • Presumably non-adversarial

    • Ideally, the player doesn’t know that it is there

  • “Moves” for the Drama Manager

    • Changing behavior of NPCs

    • Random events in the world

    • Acts of God


Crawford s erasmatazz

Crawford’s Erasmatazz

  • Interactive storytelling = you interact with characters in an authored world

    • Menu-based interaction

  • Player focus is on interacting with NPCs rather than physical actions

  • Overall story scripted by author, but no drama manager

  • Interesting part is modeling

    • Moods: Anger, arousal, joy, fear

    • 21 personality traits (e.g., integrity, timidity, …)


Hayes roth s virtual theater project

Hayes-Roth’s Virtual Theater Project

  • Uses AI blackboard technology as implementation for characters

  • Simple numerical personality models

  • Examples

    • Kids tell stories by giving puppets high-level instructions

    • Agents as social facilitators in shared enviornments (Erin the bartender)


Perlin s improv project

Perlin’s Improv project

  • Uses layered architecture inspired by robotics, animal research to provide high-level animation capabilities

  • Animator specifies high-level actions and moods, the model of the character does the rest


Ken perlin s responsive face demo

Ken Perlin’s Responsive Face demo


Institute for creative technologies

Institute for Creative Technologies

  • USC + Paramount, funded by US Army

  • Goal: Make highly immersive training systems

  • Methods range from high-end VR to board games

  • Storytelling viewed as critical

  • One research goal: Virtual humans

    • Human-like sensing of the game world, for realistic reactions to things around them

    • Natural language dialogue, to be able to take complex orders and to explain why they interpreted them the way that they did.


Example mission rehearsal exercise

Example: Mission Rehearsal Exercise

  • The scenario

    • You are a company commander

    • Something bad happens on your way to an action

  • The gaming hardware

    • Multiple wall-sized projectors, synched

    • Theater-sized rumble pack

    • Lots of servers in the back room

  • AI characters with models of

    • NL dialogue

    • Emotions

    • Sensory apparatus


Example full spectrum command

Example: Full Spectrum Command

  • The scenario

    • You command a light infantry company

    • Urban setting

  • The gaming hardware

    • High-end PC


Interactive storytelling

Interactive Storytelling

  • Marc Cavazza’s group at University of Teesside

  • Create dynamic narratives

    • The drama unfolds as you watch

    • You can intervene in various ways, and the action changes accordingly

  • Ideas

    • Use hierarchical task networks (HTNs) to generate characters plans, and replan dynamically as the world changes.

    • Use speech to nudge the characters


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