Directing Synthetic Actors

Reference: Hayes-Roth, B.; Gent, R. v.; & Huber, D. Directing Synthetic Actors. Knowledge Systems Laboratory, July, 1996.

Abstract: We are developing agents that function as improvisational actors. Like human improvisors, our actors work together and exploit improvisational expertise. They also constrain their improvisations by following directions from users. In general, "directed improvisation" allows users and agents to collaborate on the creation of performances. In the present study, users direct actors by describing a desired plot and directing each actor to play a particular role and to manifest particular character traits. Working within these constraints, the actors improvise their individual and joint behavior. Given the same directions, they vary the details of subsequent performances. If users change any of the directions, the actors change their improvisations accordingly. The resulting performance may differ substantially from previous performances. This paper describes the design and behavior of two implemented actors that perform directed improvisation of a classic master-servant scenario.

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