AAAI Publications, Twelfth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

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Characters Who Speak Their Minds: Dialogue Generation in Talk of the Town
James Ryan, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin

Last modified: 2016-09-19


The Expressive Intelligence Studio is developing a new approach to freeform conversational interaction in playable media that combines dialogue management, natural language generation (NLG), and natural language understanding. In this paper, we present our method for dialogue generation, which has been fully implemented in a game we are developing called Talk of the Town. Eschewing a traditional NLG pipeline, we take up a novel approach that combines human language expertise with computer generativity. Specifically, this method utilizes a tool that we have developed for authoring context-free grammars (CFGs) whose productions come packaged with explicit metadata. Instead of terminally expanding top-level symbols — the conventional way of generating from a CFG — we employ an unusual middle-out procedure that targets mid-level symbols and traverses the grammar by both forward chaining and backward chaining, expanding symbols conditionally by testing against the current game state. In this paper, we present our method, discuss a series of associated authoring patterns, and situate our approach against the few earlier projects in this area.


natural language generation; autonomous characters; dialogue; context-free grammars

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