Directable Synthetic Characters

Mazin Assanie

Assuming a centralized narrative control mechanism, we must build synthetic characters that can accept and enact direction in real-time from the narrative manager. These characters must adhere to both the character design as intended by the author, as well as the performance requirements of their autonomous behavior, such as military doctrine or social roles. To explore how we can build such artifacts, we first analyze the requirements that directable synthetic characters must meet. We formalize these in terms of both directability and believability. We then examine the various types of conflicts that can occur when our synthetic characters are faced with a direction. Finally, we propose an agent design that integrates deliberate goal pursuit with coherent improvisation to achieve the type of believable behavior such directable systems would require.

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