Introducing CiF-CK: A Fresh Take on Gaming
Arnav Jhala, associate professor of computer science at NC State (pictured at right), teamed up with colleagues Manuel Guimaraes and Pedro A. Santos from the Universidad de Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, to produce a paper that was recently accepted at the IEEE Computational Intelligence in Gaming Conference.
Jhala and his colleagues recognized the usefulness of the quickly developing world of technology, and created a Social Non-Player Character (Social NPCs) modification labeled Al in August of 2016. The three joined forces to create CiF-CK- a social agent architecture that improves narrative engagement as well as overall experience for players. The architecture was created with inspiration from McCoy et al’s Comme il-Faut (CiF), architecture that represents rich social interactions including feelings, social and relationship contexts, and longer-term mood.
CiF-CK was developed specifically to bring CiF’s rich social interactions to a first-person interaction experience and implement it on the Skyrim game engine. By releasing the modification on the game engine, players were able to experience the mod first-hand.
Jhala views the modification as both a validation of the theory as well as an improvement to the gaming community.
“It’s not just a system built for the lab. It’s an actual mod released in the hands of players, so that’s pretty satisfying that it’s well-liked by the players.”
This mod, known as “Social NPCs”, quickly rose in popularity eventually reaching a 93% approval rating. In the first forty days after its release, the game was played by more than 6,000 different players, and over 70,000 users had visited the mod’s web page. Due to its high popularity and rating, the mod became Top Mod of the Week in addition to its recent acceptance to the Gaming Conference.
Overall reception and popularity of the mod concluded that Jhala and his collaborators succeeded in improving the player experience by creating believable characters and allowing the player to have interesting choices.
Jhala and his colleagues see a bright future for the modification and plan to expand outside of the gaming context.
“This work that is proven to be successful in the gaming community might be able to be brought into other spaces such as elder care, etc. Games are sort of the sandbox for what we can do with NPC’s in the future.”
More information can be found using the following links:
Stream link to the Social NPC Mod [LINK]
Fan review [LINK]
AAMAS 2017 paper [LINK]
IEEE CIG Conference [LINK]
Original CiF paper [LINK]
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