Seminars & Colloquia

Benjamin Samuel

University of California, Santa Cruz

"Crafting Stories Through Play"

Monday April 04, 2016 01:30 PM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)



Game development is a powerful platform for both technological innovation and artistic expression. Some games, known as interactive narratives, allow players to chart a course through a space of possible stories. These stories, however, are largely written by the game makers, and ask only for players to choose between pre-authored content, rather than tell stories themselves. The expressive possibilities of story games can be enhanced with artificial intelligence systems by simulating dynamic characters, formulating dramatic construction, and more. Innovative technologies in artificial intelligence and game design--with particular emphasis on the award winning social simulation game Prom Week--that provide players authorial affordances over the game narrative are discussed, enabling players to be story crafters in their own right.

Short Bio:

Ben Samuel is a computer science researcher, an award winning game designer, and a professional actor whose performance has been lauded by the New York Times. Though fascinated by all games centered research, his primary focus is on artificial intelligence systems that advance the state of the art of interactive storytelling. Notable works include the social simulation game Prom Week (a finalist for technical excellence in the Independent Games Festival), the Ensemble Engine (an open source framework for developing socially dynamic characters), and CiF (an AI system whose metaphors have informed projects promoting conflict resolution and good stranger techniques). His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, and he was a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Ben is currently finishing his PhD in the Expressive Intelligence Studio at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Host: Dr. Michael Young, CSC

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