Machiavellian Characters and the Edutainment Paradox
Purely script-based approaches to building interactive narratives have often limited interaction capabilities where variability demand exponential work. This is why Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) are a transparent technique to handle user interaction in interactive narrative systems. However, it is hard to predict a sense of educational purpose in the global behavior of a group of IVAs, if no script or control is given. Efforts have been channelled to achieve such control, but are yet to achieve truly satisfactory results. These efforts are usually based on a direct connection between the control and the IVA architecture, which is a source of exponential complication. We propose a system that, based on a common ontology, can flexibly support the human authoring of educational goals independently of any specific IVA architecture. This is done by having a stage manager that follows an episodic based narrative where each episode is only specified through a set of properties and conditions that set the context for the characters. Although acting as they please, this contextualization will limit their range of action thereby facilitating the achievement of dramatic and educational goals.
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