SpyFeet explores how techniques for language generation and dialog management in natural language processing can be incorporated into the narrative structures of games, providing novel approaches for game authoring that we hypothesize will eventually lead to more compelling and engaging games, appealing to a much wider segment of the population, and usable for a much wider range of purposes. We propose to develop a prototype architecture for a new kind of game, a Social Outdoor Role Playing Exercise Game. We will use the new architecture to implement a prototype novel physical activity-based social role-playing adventure game, Spy Feet, aimed at encouraging physical activity in young women and girls. The main technical contribution of this project concerns generating dialog interactions and managing the integration and optimization of dialog and narrative goals in a role playing game. Spy Feet is being designed to run on mobile devices equipped with GPS, similar to recent augmented reality educational games. No other augmented reality games use expressive language generation, computational dialogue management, or procedural content selection techniques, thus providing little opportunity to explore how such techniques could lead to different game play experiences and outcomes. Our technical aims are to: To build a natural language generation engine, Spy-Gen, aimed at producing a range of linguistic styles for characters in role-playing games; To develop an architecture for managing and dynamically generating dialogue game narrative sequences (plot structures) that exploits Spy-Gen, and that can dynamically adapt some aspects of game play to the user and her environment; To prototype a new game Spy Feet that allows us to test out our ideas with users and refine them in a participatory manner. For a PDF of a poster that further explains SpyFeet, click here (will automatically download).

Funded By

National Science Foundation Robust Intelligence Program


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Aaron Reed, April Grow, Ricky Grant, Ben Samuel, Anne Sullivan, Justin Lazaro, Jason Aumiller, Jennifer K Mahal


Marilyn Walker, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Sri Kurniawan

Research Labs

Natural Language and Dialogue Systems
Expressive Intelligence Studio

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Posted: Feb.11.2011