The Virtual Human in the Loop - Engaging in Social Games Using Tangible Interface Devices

Matthias Rehm and Elisabeth André

erschienen 2007 "Journal of Game Development", Volume 2, Number 3, Pages 5 - 23


Conversing with nonplayer characters is most of the time a very unnatural experience, restricted to some pre-specified verbal phrases or actions. This article presents a different type of virtual character that engages in a small social game with two players and draws them into rich verbal and non-verbal face-to-face interactions. The key ingredients of the character comprise social and emotional capabilities, and the capability to control gestures and facial expressions dynamically in synchrony with its speech. Two types of interaction devices were created and tested in the game environment. Handheld devices offer some advantages because specific information can be sent to each participant, but unfortunately, they draw too much attention of the user away from the agent or the other player. A tangible device was created that allows for natural interaction in combination with speech recognition. Two user studies emphasized the differences in the players’ behaviors induced by the interaction devices and shed light on the question of to what extent the users accept the synthetic agent as an equal game mate.


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