Keeping in Touch: Agents Reporting from Collaborative Virtual Environments

Brian Logan, Mike Fraser, Daniel Fielding, Steve Benford, and Chris Greenhalgh

Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in using Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) for on-line gaming, arts, performances and entertainment. One problem facing the users of such environments is that it can be difficult to keep in touch with events when they are unable to directly log in or when real-world demands mean that a user must step into and out of a virtual world during the course of a single session. In this position paper, we report work in progress on building personal news agents for CVEs which observe and report on what is happening in the virtual world. The agents make use of positional information, audio information and information about a user’s awareness and focus of attention to reason about encounters between users (and other agents) in the world. We briefly describe a prototype system built using the MASSIVE-3 CVE system and the SIM_AGENT agent toolkit which performs a simple commentary task for a multi-agent scenario, and current work on extending this prototype to produce reports of simple social behaviour.

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