The design of interactive experiences is increasingly important in our society. Examples include interactive media, computer games, and interactive portals. There is increasing interest in modes of interaction with virtual characters, as they represent a natural way for humans to interact. Creating such characters is a complex task, requiring both creative skills (to design personalities, emotions, gestures, behaviors) and programming skills (to code these in a scripting or programming language). There is little understanding of how the behavior authoring process can be simplified with easy-to-use authoring environments that can support the cognitive needs of everyday users and help them at every step to easily carry out this creative task.
Our research focuses on behavior authoring environments that not only make it easy for novices/everyday users to create characters but also provide them scaffolding in designing these interactive experiences. In this paper we present results from a user study with a paper prototype of an authoring environment that is aimed to allow everyday users to create virtual characters. The study aims at determining whether typical computer users are able to create character personalities in specific scenarios and think about characters’ mental states, and if so, then what kinds of user interfaces would be suitable for this authoring environment.
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