Seminars & Colloquia

David Roberts

Georgia Institute of Technology

"Computational Approaches to Shaping Player Experiences in Interactive Narratives "

Tuesday March 10, 2009 09:45 AM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: Interactive narratives have an increasing variety of applications in training, education, and entertainment. In the early days, games required large physical enclosures, simple inputs, and produced very simple 2D output. At that point, the challenge of designing a game came from the constraints imposed by the hardware. Since then, hardware technology has grown at a significantly increasing pace. With these improvements to hardware and the potential for vastly different experiences, the challenges faced by today's game designer are completely different.

In this talk, I will describe a class of interactive virtual experiences at the forefront of those design challenges. I will motivate the use of a 'drama manager' to control these types of experiences by guiding players down a path consistent with the author's goals. I will describe the Declarative Optimization-based Drama Management (DODM) architecture, will present some results demonstrating the effectiveness of a DODM drama manager, and then describe some of its limitations.

I will conclude the talk by describing efforts to address those limitations by incorporating theories from behavioral economics and social psychology in the design of a DODM drama manager and games in general.

Short Bio: David Roberts is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research is focused on various aspects of interactive virtual experiences, with special attention paid to the design of compact representations and efficient algorithms to support the authoring process. As a member of the Laboratory for Interactive Artificial Intelligence--which specializes in statistical machine learning and artificial intelligence--David brings a computational focus to his work but also draws upon ideas from computer game design, narratology, social psychology and behavioral economics. He has published more than 20 papers on topics ranging from combinatorics to multiagent systems to interactive narrative. He co-organized the NSF Creative IT program workshop and is co-organizer of the upcoming AAAI Spring Symposium on Intelligent Narratives Technologies II. David has been a Graduate Research Fellow of the US Department of Homeland Security, a President's Fellow of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Visiting Scholar at Telcordia Technologies and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Host: Dr. Michael Young, Computer Science, NCSU

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