The Virtual Theater project aims to provide a multimedia environment
in which users can play all of the creative roles associated with producing
and performing plays and stories in an improvisational theater company.
These roles include: producer, playwright, casting director, set designer,
music director, real-time director, and actor. Intelligent agents fill
roles not assumed by the user.
In particular, in a typical production, animated actors perfrom the
play in a multi-media set, all under the supervision of an automated stage
or story manager. Actors not only follow scripts and take interactive direction
from the users. They bring "life-like" qualities to their performances;
for example, variability and idiosyncracies in their behavior and affective
expressiveness. They also improvise, thus collaborating on the creative
process. Each time the actors perform a given script or follow a given
direction, they may improvise differently. Thus, users enjoy the combined
pleasures of seeing their own works performed and being surprised by the
improvisational performances of their actors.
Current research focuses on building individual characters that can take
direction from the user or the environment, and act according to these
directions in ways that are consistent with their unique emotions, moods,
In addition to its primary merits as a testbed for important research
issues in artificial intelligence, the Virtual Theater offers attractive
opportunities for interdisplinary collaboration and for addressing important
social, educational, and commercial objectives.
The Virtual Theater project is part of the Adaptive
Intelligent Systems (AIS) project at Stanford University.