Virtual Reality

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 17–29 | Cite as

Staging exhibitions: methods and tools for modelling narrative structure to produce interactive performances with virtual actors

  • M. KlesenEmail author
  • M. Kipp
  • P. Gebhard
  • T. Rist


CrossTalk is a self-explaining virtual character exhibition for public spaces. This paper presents the CrossTalk system, including its authoring tool SceneMaker and the CarSales exhibit. CrossTalk extends the commonplace human-to-screen interaction to an interaction triangle. The user faces two separated screens inhabited with virtual characters and interacts through a frontal touch screen. One screen features the exhibition’s hostess, an agent who explains exchangeable exhibits located in the opposing screen. The current exhibit is CarSales, a demonstration of automatically generated dialogue, performed by virtual actors. The physical presence of the characters is established through the separation of screens and intensified by inter-character conversations across screens, tying hostess and exhibit together. CrossTalk utilises a combination of both automatically generated and pre-scripted scenes, and a context memory to adapt to the user and the environment. CrossTalk’s authoring tool SceneMaker, in a strict separation of narrative structure and content, provides non-experts with a screenplay-like language to create installations for staging exhibitions.


Authoring Believability Embodied agents User adaptivity Virtual theater 


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The work presented in this paper is a joint effort with contributions from our colleagues Stephan Baldes, Markus Schmitt, and Thomas Schleiff. We would also like to thank our graphics designer Peter Rist for providing us with the virtual actors Cyberella, Tina, and Ritchie. CrossTalk has been built upon contributions from the MIAU project funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research and from the EU-funded IST projects NECA, SAFIRA, and MAGICSTER.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DFKI GmbH SaarbrückenGermany

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