Visual SceneMaker: A Tool for Authoring Interactive Virtual Characters

Patrick Gebhard, Gregor Mehlmann and Michael Kipp

Visual SceneMaker: A Tool for Authoring Interactive Virtual Characters

Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces - Special Issue on Interacting with Embodied Conversational Agents, Volume 6, Issue 1-2, pp. 3-11, July 2012

Verlag: Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg

ISBN: Print ISSN 1783-7677 / Online ISSN 1783-8738

Creating interactive applications with multiple virtual characters comes along with many challenges that are related to different areas of expertise. The definition of context-sensitive interactive behavior requires expert programmers and often results in hard-to-maintain code. To tackle these challenges, we suggest a visual authoring approach for virtual character applications and present a revised version of our SceneMaker tool. In SceneMaker a separation of content and logic is enforced. In the revised version, the Visual SceneMaker, we introduce concurrency and specific history structures as key concepts to facilitate (1) clearly structured interactive behavior definition, (2) multiple character modeling, and (3) extensions to existing applications. The new integrated developer environment allows sceneflow visualization and runtime modifications to support the development of interactive character applications in a rapid prototyping style. Finally, we present the result of a user study, which evaluates usability and the key concepts of the authoring tool.