Virtual worlds are inhabited by virtual characters. These characters must behave in natural ways, based on the way they sense their environment and based on their own internal emotional state and relations to other characters. The virtual characters should be able to adapt to the situation at hand. They should react and plan their actions.
We distinguish two types of virtual characters – agents and avatars. An agent is a virtual character driven by intelligence that is fed into the software through principles or rules (based on empirical data). Agents are already used in gaming and simulation, sometimes in large numbers. However, natural cognitive and motor behavior is limited by the completeness and validity of the principles and rules. An avatar is a virtual character driven by an instrumented human who is immersed in a virtual environment. Avatars are used in “human-in-the-loop” simulations.
Most of the requirements for serious gaming and simulation regarding true-to-life agents and avatars cannot be met by the current state-of-the-art techniques. This leads to a number of open problems and challenges, which can be classified into three categories: modeling motor behavior, modeling cognitive behavior, and modeling planning behavior.
The GATE theme “Virtual Characters” has been divided into three work packages:
Computer games and simulations are everyday use in modern societies. In games and simulations humans are represented by virtual characters. Natural behavior of these characters is very important for the level of involvement and fun induced by games and for the value of the conclusions drawn from simulations.
In this (sub)project we investigate cognitive/mental attitudes of agents in a game (both virtual characters and human players): how are they represented and how are they related to the behavior of the agents?
Computer games are inhabited by virtual characters. Such characters move around in the virtual world to perform certain actions. So an important task of virtual characters is to plan their paths to a required destination. Such a path must be natural.