A Lightweight Videogame Dialogue Manager

Ryan James Mateas Michael Wardrip-Fruin Noah
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

We present a fully procedural alternative to branching dialogue that is influenced by theories from linguistic pragmatics and technical work in the field of dialogue systems. Specifically, this is a dialogue manager that extends the Talk of the Town framework, in which non-player characters (NPCs) develop and propagate subjective knowledge of the gameworld. While previously knowledge exchange in this framework could only be expressed symbolically, such exchanges may now be rendered as naturalistic conversations between characters. The larger conversation engine currently lacks a player interface, so in this paper we demonstrate our dialogue manager through conversations between NPCs. From an evaluation task, we find that our system produces conversations that flow far more naturally than randomly assembled ones. As a design objective, we have endeavored to make this dialogue manager lightweight and agnostic to its particular application in Talk of the Town; it is our hope that interested readers will consider porting its straightforward design to their own game engines.


Cues and insinuations: Indicating affordances of non-player character using visual indicators

Warpefelt Henrik
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Non-player characters (NPCs) provide an important service in video games in that they provide an active connection to the narrative through their behavior, as if they were actors in a play. In this study, we aim to explore in what ways the visual appearance of an NPC affects how players perceive their role in the game, and what criteria players use to evaluate the role of NPCs based on visual information. This is done by performing a survey of players, where the respondents are asked to determine the role that a number of NPCs had given their visual appearance, and describe how they decided the roles of the NPCs.


CameraBots: Cinematography for Games with Non-Player Characters as Camera Operators

Kneafsey James McCabe Hugh
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Cinematography describes principles and techniques pertaining to the effective use of cameras to film live action. The correct application of these principles and techniques produces filmed content that is more engaging, compelling and absorbing for the viewer. 3D computer games employ virtual cameras in order to provide the player with an appropriate view of the game world. These virtual cameras can simulate all of the functionality of their real-world counterparts yet little effort is usually made to incorporate cinematographic techniques and principles into their operation. We introduce CameraBots, autonomous camera operators modelled closely on the non-player characters (NPCs) or bots already present in many games. CameraBots can perform a larger set of operations than their real-world counterparts since they are not subject to the same physical restraints. Thus, cinematographic principles can be applied to camera work with relative ease by reusing bot program code already present. Our system contains a director module and a cinematographer module which together are responsible for coordinating the CameraBots in a manner consistent with cinematography rules and practice. It is designed in a modular manner such that it may be applied to numerous computer games with little modification.