Creating Believable Emotional Virtual Characters

  • Author / Creator
    Desai, Neesha J
  • Believable, realistic video game character behaviour continues to lag behind the improvements in graphics, stories and game play in video games. In this dissertation we focus on the use of two techniques, emotional gaits and emotional incidents, as a way to add easily identifiable, non-verbal, and non-facial emotion to background game characters, thereby increasing the believability of these characters. Emotional gaits refers to the body posture, hand/arm positioning, walk and walking speed of the characters. An emotional incident is an emotion-specific interaction between characters or between characters and props within the game world. The selection and implementation of the techniques was designed to be easily scaled to large numbers of characters and require a minimal number of additional animations. These techniques (emotional gaits and emotional incidents) were analyzed through six different user studies. The examination focused on three aspects: 1) the ease of emotion identification when the behaviour was isolated, 2) whether the gender of the participants and characters affected the results, and 3) emotion identification when observed during normal game play. The results show that participants were able to accurately identify the emotions, that the combination of both emotional gaits and emotional incidents was best overall (but some emotions could be equally achieved with only one), that there were some small differences based on participant gender, and that participants could easily and quickly learn to identify the character emotions when observed within a game world.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Carbonaro, Michael (Educational Psychology)
    • Bulitko, Vadim (Computing Science)
    • Mandryk, Regan (Computer Science, University of Saskatchewan)
    • Gouglas, Sean (Humanities Computing)