Josephine Anstey The Trial The Trail


ruin 2005

Stu finds real version of our virtual chapel in Scotland - Summer 05

Latest Movie Documentation - Summer 05
user mediatates with patofil

User at Coit House
Coit House
Virtual Reality MicroTheatre - Aug 4-7
Dave and Josephine organized the Virtual Reality MicroTheatre at Coit House, the oldest house in Buffalo, for the Buffalo Infringement Festival.  Featuring Virtual Reality works focusing on interactive narrative, and  including our current version of Act3 of The Trial The Trail.

Paper in Intelligent Agent Magazine and at VR/HCI International - July 05
Josephine presented Agents in Love: On the Construction and Use of Emotional Agents in VR on a panel at VR International (part of HCI International this year). The paper is also in Intelligent Agent Magazine, Vol 5 #1.

Demo at AAAI Conference - July 11-13
Mike and Stu demo'ed their wampus world agent at the AAAI conference in Pittsburg. The wampus agent and actor agents use the same basic acting system and agent architecture. They also showed the latest video-tape docementation of Act 3. Patofil and the three bad guys are fully automonous agents, the SNePs "mind" connected to the Ygdrasil "body" over sockets, Filopat is scripted and runs only in Ygdrasil. See movie, Read the paper,  MGLAIR Agents in Virtual and other Graphical Environments.
Aiide Demo

Aiide Demo

Demo at AIIDE Conference - June 1-3
First Annual Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference in Marina Del Rey. Josephine and Stu brought a head mounted display and tracking system and demo'ed the four agents we have built so far. Patofil and three bad guys working in a multi-agent system. Read the paper, The Trial The Trail, Act 3: A Virtual Reality Drama Using Intelligent Agents.

Trupti Graduates and goes off to work on Asimo for the summer - May
Trupti Devdas Nayak, Patofil: An MGLAIR Agent for a Virtual Reality Drama, SNeRG Technical Note 38, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University at Buffalo, The State Universtiy of New York, Buffalo, NY, May 10, 2005.

Technical Report - March 30
Stuart C. Shapiro, Josephine Anstey, David E. Pape, Trupti Devdas Nayak, Michael Kandefer, Orkan Telhan, MGLAIR Agents in a Virtual Reality Drama, Technical Report 2005-08, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, March 30, 2005.
user and reeds


User Test - October 29th & 30
We are testing Act 3, Scene1, and have added a temporary introductory scene.

New Team Member - September 04
Mike Kandefer has joined the group to work on multi-agent systems,  he will start working on the bad guy agents in Act3 Scene 2.

Cosign Conference - September 04
Psycho-Drama in VR, Josephine Anstey, Dave Pape, Stuart C. Shapiro, Orkan Telhan and Trupti Devdas Nayak, Proceedings of The Fourth Conference on Computation Semiotics (COSIGN 2004), University of Split, Croatia, 2004, 5-13.(pdf)

New Team Member - August 04
Anthony Ekeh, a computational linguist, has joined us to work on speech recognition. His starting point is making a grammar of words and phrases  users are likely to say. To start with this is based on guess work, after our first user test we should have some real data to go on. He is planning to use the SONIC system from CU.

IRB Certification Approved - May 04
This means we can do formal user-testing. We plan our first user-test of Act 3  in Sept/Oct 2004

Vik Rao's Honors Thesis on the Princess Agent - May 04

VR, Art and Networking - April 04
We showed a very early version of the Patofil agent and the VE during the FreeCooperation, Networking,Art and Collaboration Conference.

Work Begins on Storyboard3
Our research group started work on Storyboard 3. See agents for details. We started with Act 3  and the agent Patofil. Trupti Devdas Nayak is working on the agent's mind, Orkan Telhan is working on the agent's embodiment and the virtual environment. Paul Visco is working on models for the VE.
user and monkette

User at Gate

User with particles


Third StoryBoard Created - December 03

IRCAF Award - November 03

Research support by grant from University at Buffalo

VSMM 03 Conference - October 03 

Virtual Drama with Intelligent Agents,paper andpresentation.
Abstract: This paper describes, "The Trial The Trail" a work of interactive drama for a projection-based virtual reality system. The project marries a virtual reality authoring system and an srtificial intelligence system.

First User Test: Hallwalls Show - June 03

For this show/user-test/wizard of oz experiment, we put together a version of the environment following the second storyboard and showed it at Hallwalls in Buffalo to audiences of one or two people at a time.  The tests pointed up many problems and lead to the third story board.

Tidse 03 Conference

The Trial The Trail, paper

Collaboration with SNePS group

In 2003 we started collaborating with UB's SNePS AI group to  build the actor-agents that will inhabit the world. see agents.

wing puppet


By May 2002 we have built models and scenes, and written code, for the scene from the  first storyboard at the entrance to the zone and the sequence where the user fights a sentient morningstar head. Showing these scenes leads me to rethink the project - it seems to be moving in a direction that is too literal both conceptually and visually. I do a lot more thinking about the story I'm trying to involve the user in, and all the possible deviations the user could make. This results in many notes and diagrams and a second storyboard.

It has been hard to pin down the visual design. I want an environment which has a "not real" quality for several reasons. At times I want to give the user a certain Brechtian distance so that she becomes more aware of her actions and reactions. At times I want to keep her off balance, aware that she is in a world with some constructed rules but not quite sure what those rules are. The visuals should always help build the user's psychological context - as a person on a, possibly dangerous, possibly ridiculous, quest. 

Some of the early models are a little too concrete and definite. However we plan to use these models to create a virtual environment within a virtual environment which will contain the first "trap" that the user will encounter. Here she is tempted to mount a rather romantic rescue of a victim in distress, later she will be mocked for this attempt, and her guide will insist that this side-plot is nothing but a figment of her imagination. As we proceed, the rest of the world will be much more whispy, unsubstantial, suggested. 

I am also trying to find a style for the virtual actors that is not too real but suggests a person rather than the creature-like actor in The Thing Growing. We used our networked VR application, PAAPAB , to experiment on some puppets with cloth-like wings that we plan to use here. I am also inclining towards having the agents wear stylistic masks - comedy/tragedy masks - that will change according to their mood.


In October 2001, I make a first storyboard for the project. The story-board represents the progress of an ideal user through the story space and acts as a backbone from which to hang the alternatives that result from the users actions.

updated  Oct  03