SIAT Faculty Publications

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Extending the range of facial types

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1991
Abstract: 

We describe, in case study form, techniques to extend the range of facial types and movement using a parametric facial animation system originally developed to model and control synthetic 3D faces limited to a normal range of human shape and motion. These techniques have allowed us to create a single authoring system that can create and animate a wide range of facial types that range from realistic, stylized, cartoon-like, or a combination thereof, all from the same control system. Additionally we describe image processing and 3D deformation tools that allow for a greater range of facial types and facial animation output.

Document type: 
Article

A Study of Interactive Narrative from User's Perspective.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The topic of interactive narrative has been under research for many years. Many regard the term itself as an oxymoron [1] [2], while others see narrative as an integral part of every interactive production [3] [4]. While there has been much research exploring the development of new algorithms that enable and enhance interactive narratives, there has been little research focusing on the question of how players understand and internalize their interactive narrative experiences. In this chapter, we discuss the interactive narrative experience as seen through the users‟ eyes. Specifically, we report on a study we conducted using a phenomenological approach to explore the participants‟ lived experience of playing an interactive narrative. We chose to use Façade, as an example interactive narrative for our study due to its accessibility and its focus on social relationships, conflict, and drama as its core mechanics. As we look into the experience of interactive narrative, we reflect on enhancements to the design of future interactive narratives and discuss open problems in the field of interactive narrative.

Document type: 
Book chapter

Visually Directing User’s Attention in Interactive 3D Environments.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

Lighting is a very important component of 3D environment design. Research efforts in perception, neuroscience, animation, and film have shown the importance of visual design in guiding participant’s attention to important elements in a scene. We conducted an experiment to demonstrate the merits and utility of ELE over current methods in directing participant’s attention to the important characters/objects in the scene.

Document type: 
Conference presentation

Intelligent Lighting for a Better Gaming Experience.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Lighting assumes many aesthetic and communicative functions in game environments that affect attention, immersion, visibility, and emotions. Game environments are dynamic and highly unpredictable; lighting such experiences to achieve desired visual goals is a very challenging problem. Current lighting methods rely on static manual techniques, which require designers to anticipate and account for all possible situations and user actions. Alternatively, we have developed ELE (Expressive Lighting Engine) – an intelligent lighting system that automatically sets and adjusts scene lighting in real-time to achieve desired aesthetic and communicative goals. In this paper, we discuss ELE and its utility in dynamically manipulating the lighting in a scene to direct attention, stimulate tension, and maintain visual continuity. ELE has been integrated within Unreal Tournament 2003. The videos shown at [14] shows a demonstration of a first person shooter game developed using the Unreal 2.0 engine, where ELE was configured to dynamically stimulate tension, while maintaining other visual goals.

Document type: 
Conference presentation

Expressive Lighting for Interactive Entertainment.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

Lighting design is an essential element of visual storytelling. In cinematic theory, lighting design plays an important role in illumination, directing viewer’s gaze to important locations, and portraying visual tension. However, lighting design is a complex process, and is especially problematic for interactive entertainment systems, since important design parameters such as spatial configuration, dramatic focus, and dramatic intensity, cannot be determined in advance. Indeed, they often change dramatically during interaction. Additionally, manually adjusting colors, positions, and angles of each light in a scene is a time consuming and tedious process. In this paper, we describe a system developed based on cinematic and theatrical lighting design theory to automatically adjust positions, colors, and angles of each light in real-time to accommodate the continually evolving dramatic situation, while maintaining the desired style, and ensuring visual continuity.

Document type: 
Article

A User-Centric Adaptive Story Architecture – Borrowing from Acting Theories.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

Interactive virtual environments are becoming increasingly popular for their utility in education, virtual training, and entertainment. These applications often rely on a scenario that is revealed to the user as he/she interacts with synthetic objects and characters that inhabit virtual worlds. Current interactive narrative architectures used in the interactive entertainment industry often use decision trees, which are hard to author and modify. Some interactive entertainment productions are starting to use more generative techniques, such as plan-based or goal-based narrative. In this paper, I present an interactive narrative architecture that extends current research in interactive narrative by integrating a user modeling and user behavior analysis technique, which I argue facilities a more engaging and fulfilling experience. I have implemented the architecture within an interactive story called Mirage. The architecture resulted from an iterative design and development process involving a team that included film and theatre professionals. During this design and development process, I have experimented and evaluated different narrative techniques, which resulted in the proposed architecture.

Document type: 
Article

Learning through Game Modding.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

We seek to understand how modifying, or modding, existing games can lead to various forms of learning.

Document type: 
Article

Desktop 3-D Interactive Drama – Applying Design Principles from the Performance Arts.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Increasing emotional engagement in 3-D interactive environments is a hard, but important problem. It is important for its potential utility in increasing motivation, involvement, and engagement. These constructs are not only useful for entertainment applications, but also impact training and edutainment applications due to the impact of emotions on learning (Ulate, 2002; Wolfe, 2001). Many researchers have explored several techniques, including enhancing the story content to stimulate emotional engagement, developing new algorithms for dynamically creating stunning visual effects, and enhancing 3-D sound. Theatre and film have integrated many techniques that increase engagement, attention, and emotional involvement. In this paper, I describe a set of new design techniques integrated in an architecture that uses theatric and cinematic theories, specifically acting and screenwriting methods, to stimulate and improve emotional engagement in 3-D interactive narratives. In this paper, I discuss two research directions: (1) defining an interaction model for 3-D interactive narrative based on screenwriting theories, and (2) developing an actor-based agent architecture to simulate believable actions within an interactive narrative. The resulting architecture was implemented and tested within Mirage, an interactive story based on the Greek Tragedy Electra. Based on the critiques from several participants, I deduce that the resulting architecture presents significantly encouraging design techniques that can potentially increase emotional involvement and dramatic content of an interactive desktop 3D VR experience. The system and approach presented in this paper demonstrates an important new direction that adds to the set of techniques currently used and expand the design methodologies to include methods from disciplines, such as performance arts, theatre, and film.

Document type: 
Article

DigitalBeing: an Ambient Intelligent Dance Space.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

DigitalBeing is an ambient intelligent system that aims to use stage lighting and lighting in projected imagery within a dance performance to portray dancer’s arousal state. The dance space will be augmented with pressure sensors to track dancers’ movements; dancers will also wear physiological sensors. Sensor data will be passed to a three layered architecture. Layer 1 is composed of a system that analyzes sensor data. Layer 2 is composed of two intelligent lighting systems that use the analyzed sensor information to adapt onstage and virtual lighting to show dancer’s arousal level. Layer 3 translates lighting changes to appropriate lighting board commands as well as rendering commands to render the projected imagery.

Document type: 
Article

Using Game Modding to Promote and Provide Basic IT Skills to a Female Audience.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Many researchers have argued for the use of video games as a useful learning tool. This presentation examines the use of video game modding in motivating female students to learn basic IT skills.

Document type: 
Conference presentation