Eric Baumer, Bill Tomlinson, Man Lok Yau, and Thomas A. Alspaugh
Normative Echoes is an interactive installation that explores ways to combine player-created content with procedural content. Animated autonomous agents inhabit virtual islands on stationary computers; a tablet PC is used as a virtual raft to transfer agents between the islands. The agents on each island communicate with one another and form scenario-based computational representations of their social interactions. These scenarios represent emergent social patterns and norms within the society. Humans can communicate with the animated autonomous agents through the use of a microphone. Utterances spoken by participants are parsed, repeated, and learned by agents, then used by the agents in communications with their social partners. When transferred between islands, agents bring with themselves the utterances and norms they have learned, thus spreading those norms throughout the various communities in the installation. In this way, agents can meaningfully perform procedural operations on player-created content, allowing for a dynamic and engaging experience.