CSC 589-01: AI and Interactive Narrative
Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNCG
Spring 2002

Instructor: Dr. Nancy Green
Phone:  (336) 334-5836
Office Hours: 3:30-4:30 pm M, 1-1:50 pm W, and by appointment
Office: 322 Bryan

Class web page:
    Date of last update: April 12, 2002
    (It is your responsibility to check the course web pages for updates regularly.)

Meeting time: Wed. 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm (Seminar), Fri. 3:15-5:00 pm (Lab or Ashby Dialogue meeting)

Catalog description: Covers the design of artificial-intelligence-based interactive graphical narrative computer systems for
entertainment and educational applications.

For whom planned: Undergraduate or graduate Computer Science majors who have completed either CSC529 (Artificial Intelligence) or CSC521/621 (Computer Graphics); other CSC majors with sufficient background may be admitted at the instructor's discretion. The course is suitable for students who are project-oriented, self-motivated, able to teach themselves how to use the necessary software tools with minimal instruction, and who are interested in studying the narrative arts for the purpose of designing artificial-intelligence-based computer systems. Enrollment is limited to a small number (5) of students.

Course objectives: The goal of the course is to explore both computational and non-computational issues in designing
artificial-intelligence-based interactive graphical narrative computer systems that will be used in the entertainment and educational systems of the near future. During the semester, the student will design and implement a computer project in order to explore these issues. The project will be implemented using a toolkit such as Alice (see or the Unreal Tournament editor (see to implement the graphics, in conjunction with a full-scale programming language such as C++ , Lisp, or Java for implementing the AI algorithms. We will meet on Wednesdays to discuss readings and to discuss work on the project. The readings will cover current research on design of computer systems of this sort, as well as related topics in the narrative arts needed to construct such systems, e.g., topics in animation, interactive drama, etc.. On Fridays, the class will have a lab session or attend the UNCG Spring 2002 Ashby Dialogue on AI and the Narrative Arts (see

Evaluation methods: The course grade will be based upon the project, participation in class discussion of the readings, and attendance of related Ashby Dialogue events. Graduate students will be expected to lead class discussion of some of the readings. The project will be documented in a written report and demonstrated at the end of the class. For graduate students, the written report will include discussion of related computer systems and describe how related work in the narrative arts contributed to the design of the project.


UNCG Library Reserve for CSC589 (go to Reserves, then search under CSC589)

Partial Bibliography of Readings (here)

Spring 2002 Calendar
Warning: subject to change throughout the semester!
Wednesday Related reading Friday Related reading
Jan 16   Introduction
  • Course overview
  • Examples of systems
  • Development tools
  • Definition of basic narrative concepts
  • M. Lewis & J. Jacobson, Game Engines in Scientific Research. CACM, Jan 2001/Vol. 45, No. 1, 27-31.
  • J. Laird, Research in Human-Level AI Using Computer Games. CACM, Jan 2001/Vol. 45, No. 1, 32-35.
  • J. Laird, Interactive Computer Games: Human-level AI's Killer Application.  Presented as an invited talk at AAAI on August 2, 2000. (pdf)
Jan 18 (lab) Alice or UT Documentation
Jan 23   Interactive Drama: overview Jan 25 (lab) 3-D Programming for Novices with Alice (draft)
Jan 30   Interactive Drama requirements: believable characters  Feb 1 (Ashby Dialogue) Michael Frierson
Feb 6  Interactive Drama requirements: AI models of personality
  • C. Elliott & J. Brzezinski, Autonomous Agents as Synthetic Characters.  AI Magazine, Summer 98, p. 13-30 (draft in html)
  • Elliott's Gift of the Magi example (html)
  • Rousseau, D. Personality in Computer Characters. Proceedings of 1996 AAAI Workshop on AI and Entertainment and AI Life, p.38-43.(ps)
  • Rousseau, D. & Hayes-Roth, B. Interacting with Personality-Rich Characters.  Report KSL 97-06 (ps), Stanford U.
Feb 8 (lab)
Demo assignment 1
Feb 13 Interactive Drama requirements: AI models of emotion 
  • Zoesis Studios demo, eDrama demo
  • Velásquez, J. 1997 "Modeling Emotions and Other Motivations in Synthetic Agents." In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-97). Providence, RI: MIT/AAAI Press. [Postscript]
Feb 15 (Ashby Dialogue) David Herman
Feb 20 Interactive Drama: Agent Architectures Feb 22 (continue discussion of production systems)
Feb 27 Interactive Drama Download these 2 papers from AAAI 99 Fall Symposium on Narrative Intelligence:
  • A. Stern.  Virtual Babyz: Believable Agents with Narrative Intelligence 
  • R. Aylett.  Narrative in Virtual Environments
Also read this:
  • M. Mateus & A. Stern.  Towards Building a Fully-Realized Interactive Drama.  Presented at Digital Arts and Culture, April 2001. [html]
Mar 1 (lab) Demo assignment 2
Mar 6 System Design case study:  Carmen's Bright Ideas  Marsella et al. Interactive Pedagogical Drama [pdf] Mar 8 Bayesian reasoning Tutorial [html]
Mar 13 (Spring Break) Mar 15 (Spring Break)
Mar 20 Animation of human motion 
  • Doris Humphrey, The Art of Making Dances. 
  • Attend (Ashby Dialogue) dance performance 3/20-3/23, 8 pm
Mar 22 Bayesian reasoning (meet in lounge)
  • Albrecht, D.W., Zukerman, I., and Nicholson, A.E. 1998. Bayesian Models for Keyhole Plan Recognition in an Adventure Game. User-Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction 8(1-2), 5-47 [pdf]
  • Tutorial [html]
Mar 27 no class (away at AAAI Spring Symposium on AI and Interactive Entertainment) Mar 29 (UNCG holiday)
Apr 3 AI & Film Techniques
(discussion co-leader: Brad)
  • Smith & Bates. Towards a Theory of Narrative for Interactive Fiction. CMU-CS-89-121. [ps]
  • Bares & Lester. Realtime Generation of Customized 3D Animated Explanations for Knowledge-based Learning Environments. AAAI 1997. [ps]
  • Bares & Lester. Intelligent multi-shot 3D visualization interfaces. Knowledge-Based Systems 12 (1999) 403-412. [Available (on campus) from publisher]
  • Bares & Lester. Intelligent Multi-shot Visualization Interfaces for Dynamic 3D Worlds. IUI-99 [ps]
  • Amerson & Kime. Real-time Cinematic Control for Interactive Narratives. AAAISSS2001. [pdf]
Apr 5 (lab) Demo assignment 3
Apr 10 (Ashby Dialogue) Joyce Rudinskky Apr 12 AI  & Film Techniques continued (discussion co-leader: Brad -- meet in lounge)
Apr 17 Telepresence
  • Introduction to VR [html]
  • Lombard, Matthew and Ditton, Theresa,  "At the Heart of it All: The Concept of Presence," Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(2), September 1997. [html]
  • M. Kelso, P. Weyhrauch, and J. Bates. Dramatic Presence. PRESENCE: the Journal of Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 2(1) [ps]
Apr 19  UNC Chapel Hill VR Lab tour
Apr 24 AI Planning 
  • Weld, D. An Introduction to Least-Commitment Planning, AI Magazine, 15(4), 27-61. [ps]
  • M. Young. An Overview of the Mimesis Architecture.  Proc. of AAAI 2001 Spring Syposium. [download here]
  • Cavazza et al. Sex, Lies, and Video Games. Proc. of AAAI 2002 Spring Symposium [download here]
  • Apr 26 (Ashby Dialogue) Mike Young
    May 1 Story generation
  • Green, N. Autonomous Dialogue for Interactive Storytelling. Proc. of AAAI 2001 Spring Symposium. [download here]
  • M. Mateus & P. Sengers. Introduction to Narrative Intelligence Syposium. Proc. of AAAI 1999 Fall Symposium on Narrative Intelligence [(Read sections "StoryTelling Systems", "Interactive Fiction and Drama", "State of the Art") download here]
  • C. Callaway & J. Lester. Narrative Prose Generation. IJCAI 2001. [(pdf)]
  • May 3 Demo assignment 4
    Tues. May 7 (last class) (TBA)
    Finals May 9-15

    Some Topics

    AI-based Approaches

    Basic AI topics Elementary Principles of
    Course Resources


  • Alice (CMU) :  Virtual World authoring tool (free, easy 3D graphics for the WWW)
  • Alice Help File - documentation for all Alice methods (download)
  • Alice Advanced Users Guide
  • 3-D Programming for Novices with Alice (draft)
  • Python Library Reference
  • Python Users Guide
  • Unreal Tournament
  • CLIPS main page, User's Guide
  • Python Tutorial (for programmers)



    Miscellaneous Alice Demos

  • Goldilocks Project (UNCG)
  • Juggling Snowman
  •  Kairai (Voice-controlled Virtual World actors)



    Projects/Research Groups/Commerical Spin-offs

  • Cyberart : AI as artist (paints and writes "poetry")
  • Face Demo (NYU)
  • The New River (a journal of hypertext literature and art)
  • Affective Reasoner (Elliott)
  • Eden (Jameson Bennett's updates to his csc589s02 project)
  • Do To Learn (Virtual World for special education)
  • Entertainment Technology Center (CMU)
  • Gesture and Narrative Language Group (MIT Media Lab)
  • Interactive Cinema (MIT Media Lab)
  • Institute for Creative Technology (USC ISI)
  • Liquid Narrative Group  and their Mimesis Architecture (NCSU)
  • AI and Computer Games Research (U Mich)
  • Virtual Theater Project (Stanford) and Extempo
  • OZ Group (CMU)
  • UNC Interactive Virtual Reality page
  • VirtualStorytelling (U. Teesside)
  • Intellimedia (NCSU)
  • REA (MIT Media Lab)
  • Steve (ISI)



    On-line Reference Books

  • Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative (M. Jahn)
  • Narratology Network



    Similar courses at other universities

  • CMU Building Virtual Worlds (Spring 02)
  • NCSU AI & Virtual Worlds, Spring 1999 Reading List



    Pages with useful links

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Dialog Engine Project Resources (compilation of links on interactive narrative)




  • On-line proceedings of AAAI 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Spring Symposia on AI and Interactive Entertainment
  • AAAI Spring 2002 Symposium on AI and Interactive Entertainment
  • International Conference on Virtual Storytelling, Avignon, France, Sept.26-28, 2001
  • Narrative Intelligence (AAAI 1999 Fall Symposium)



    Computer Scientists Looking at Computer Games

  • Using Technology and Innovation to Simulate Daily Life, Michael Macedonia, IEEE Computer Web Site.  Review of the SIMS.