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 International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011)
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International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011)



"Towards a Conversational Agent Architecture to Favor Knowledge Discovery in Serious Games", International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011). Lisbon, Spain. 8-11 ...

"Towards a Conversational Agent Architecture to Favor Knowledge Discovery in Serious Games", International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011). Lisbon, Spain. 8-11 November 2011



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     International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011) International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE 2011) Presentation Transcript

    • ELIOS Lab Towards a Conversational Agent Architecture to Favor Knowledge Discovery in Serious Games F. Bellotti, R. Berta, A. De Gloria, E. Lavagnino ELIOS Lab, DIBE, University of Genoa berta@elios.unige.it @riccardobertaACE 2011 1
    • OutlookDefinition of Conversational Agent (CA) in SeriousGamesRequirementsPresentation of the proposed systemAn example of useFuture research directions ACE 2011 2
    • Conversational Agents (CA)Non-Player Characters (NPC) controlled by the computer able to dialogue with users in natural language to increase the situation realism and user involvement usually employed in  virtual world applications (for training, gaming or advertising)CAs take part in the narrative, playing a specific role: to introduce “back-stories” to assign tasks to players to reward performance in general, to give informationOur system is focused on instructional dialogues inSerious Games favoring a player’s acquisition of knowledge on specific topics easy and efficient writing and maintenance of the CA knowledge ACE 2011 3
    • RequirementsCA embodies certain well-defined units of knowledge for instance, a real policeman is able to give street directions, while a art expert may answer questions about artworks and heritageCAs are aimed at answering player’s questions to help in specific knowledge acquisition The context can be usefully exploited to facilitate thedialogue sample elements of the context are the appearance of the CA (e.g., uniform, cloths, sex, age), its position, role and game level in which it appearsCA’s knowledge should be easy to edit and maintain also by people with no specific expertise in automatic dialogue algorithms ACE 2011 4
    • RequirementsThese requirements are not general, but address aspecific target of human-content interactions this kind of CAs may be employed in short dialogues where a player could get knowledge clues about a specific topic this is a typical need of serious games (like adventures)The main idea is that such CAs implement a specificserious game mechanism combining: user knowledge acquisition natural and pleasant interactionThe key element in our view is player knowledgeacquisition not only entertain the player with “real” dialogues ACE 2011 5
    • The systemWe have developed a CA system to provide useful information on the basis of the user request to ask player questions in order to stimulate reasoning (e.g., about facts and context)The system is based on a two level architecture: a strategy level (The Strategy Manager)  it is responsible for managing the high-level aspects of the conversation a tactical level (The Tactic Manager)  it responds to the player’s queries by relying on a combination of simple syntactical analysis and an statistical procedureaWe are testing the system in two real SGs: SeaGame  for promoting safe maritime behavior in coastal areas  a national project funded by Liguria Region (Italy) Travel in Europe  for cultural heritage promotion  A EU project funded by Culture 2000 framework ACE 2011 6
    • The Strategy Manager (SM) Manage the beginning and the end of theconversation. For instance, SM could welcome the player and invite him to speak, introduce itself, answer to a welcome, etc. An important first step is the presentation of an overview of the knowledge available by the CAChange the knowledge set of the tactical level Exploiting information coming from the user answers and queriesIntervene during the conversation providing help/indications if the conversation is laggingTerminate the conversation when the CA’s knowledge has been told to the player ACE 2011 7
    • The Tactics Manager (TM)Responsible for directly reacting to the user input Not the whole corpus of possible answer documents is analyzed The corpus is structured in answers to different types of questions  Where, When, Who, Why, What, How  The five Ws in journalism are the basis for information-gatheringAt runtime: when the user inputs a text, the actual question statement is extracted if a question cannot be detected, the TM invites the player to ask questions (giving clues about the topic) otherwise, the question is processed in order to catalog it in one of the W types then the best answer of that type is selected if no answer shows a sufficient level of precision, the SM intervene for managing the situation  e.g. by outputs an author-defined expression for that situation ACE 2011 8
    • The Authoring ToolNeed to allow authors to write dialogue content in asimple, efficient and effective wayIn particular, the author has to prepare: The set of welcome questions for the SM The help texts and the trigger conditions through which the SM proactively intervenes to support the player The texts of all the possible answers for the TM  represent the specific knowledge of the CA.  every answer has to be tagged with the corresponding W typeThe author can also set dependencies among questions one question may enable the player to explore further knowledge ACE 2011 9
    • Use Case (cultural heritage)Travel in Europe game aims at promoting the culturalheritage of European cities of art the user explores reconstructed areas of EU cities, while accomplishing missions in a treasure hunts with artistic topics during the exploration the player may encounter some CAs with which he can interact in order to get information about the visited areasWe present only one situation (other examples can befound in the paper): The player has to visit “Palazzo Bianco” (an artistic Renaissance Palace holding a Museum in the Genoa city center) and collect information about the palace and the museum ACE 2011 10
    • Use Case (cultural heritage)Player: Is there a museum inside?CA: Yes, there is a museum insidePlayer: At what time does it open?CA: The museum opens at 3 pm.Player: Why is it named Palazzo Rosso?CA: It is named Palazzo Rosso because of its red colorPlayer: When was it built?CA: Palazzo Rosso was built in the 17th CenturyPlayer: Who designed Palazzo Rosso?CA: Architect Pietro Antonio Corradi designed PalazzoRossoPlayer: What can I see inside?CA: You can see a lot of pictures inside ACE 2011 11
    • Use Case (cultural heritage)Player: Who are the painters of the pictures exhibited?CA: The painters are Rembrandt and Van DickPlayer: Which are the most important pictures ofRembrandt?CA: The pictures by Rembrandt are the following […] ACE 2011 12
    • Conclusion and Future WorkSGs represent a promising tool for improving instruction Conversation can provide an important added valueWe propose a system with a focus on instructionaldialogues to favor player acquisition of knowledge on specific topics we have designed the system and prototyped it in two real examples of SGNext steps: extensive testing phase with real user system performance improvement in particular in the question handling  type recognition Implementation of API to include CAs in standard game engine (Unity) Implementation of a GUI for authors ACE 2011 13
    • Thank you! www.galanoe.eu GALA EU NoE on Serious Games (#galanoe ) @riccardoberta www.elios.dibe.unige.itACE 2011 14