Real-time storytelling with events in virtual worlds

Alexander Shoulson, University of Pennsylvania


We present an accessible interactive narrative tool for creating stories among a virtual populace inhabiting a fully-realized 3D virtual world. Our system supports two modalities: assisted authoring where a human storyteller designs stories using a storyboard-like interface called CANVAS, and exploratory authoring where a human author experiences a story as it happens in real-time and makes on-the-fly narrative trajectory changes using a tool called Storycraft. In both cases, our system analyzes the semantic content of the world and the narrative being composed, and provides automated assistance such as completing partially-specified stories with causally complete sequences of intermediate actions. At its core, our system revolves around events -– pre-authored multi-actor task sequences describing interactions between groups of actors and props. These events integrate complex animation and interaction tasks with precision control and expose them as atoms of narrative significance to the story direction systems. Events are an accessible tool and conceptual metaphor for assembling narrative arcs, providing a tightly-coupled solution to the problem of converting author intent to real-time animation synthesis. Our system allows simple and straightforward macro- and microscopic control over large numbers of virtual characters with diverse and sophisticated behavior capabilities, and reduces the complicated action space of an interactive narrative by providing analysis and user assistance in the form of semi-automation and recommendation services.

Subject Area

Computer science

Recommended Citation

Shoulson, Alexander, "Real-time storytelling with events in virtual worlds" (2015). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3709553.