Creating Virtual Worlds with the Virtual Human Toolkit and the Rapid Integration & Development Environment
Authors: Arno Hartholt, Sharon Mozgai
Abstract: The research and development of virtual humans, and the virtual worlds they inhabit, is inherently complex, requiring interdisciplinary approaches that combine social sciences, computer science, design, art, production, and domain expertise. Our previous work in managing this complexity has resulted in the release of the Virtual Human Toolkit (VHToolkit), aimed at lowering the burden of creating embodied conversational agents. In our current efforts, we are integrating the VHToolkit with the Rapid Integration & Development Environment (RIDE), a rapid prototyping modeling and simulation middleware platform that leverages real-time game engines. This integration results in the ability to mix and match commercial AI services from AWS, Azure, and Google, as well as leverage novel 3D geospatial terrain creation pipelines. Combined with dedicated authoring tools that have been developed through human-centered design processes, the platform enables researchers, developers, and domain experts to rapidly create digital worlds with virtual humans for both military and civilian contexts. Our approach is highly interdisciplinary, including academia, government, and industry collaborators. The demonstration shows a user interacting with an embodied conversational agent embedded within real-world captured and virtualized terrain. Further research and development features of the platform are shown, including scripted agent behaviors, networked team play, and machine learning interfaces.
Keywords: virtual humans, virtual worlds, toolkits, integration, authoring tools, modeling and simulation
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