This asset facilitates the creation of intelligent characters that behave appropriately according to a configurable set of established socio-cultural rules of behaviour. Game developers can use this asset to be able to create and shape the socio-cultural rules of their applied game experience. This allows for applied games to adapt to audiences from different cultural backgrounds. For instance, there are social conventions that characters should be able to follow such as introducing themselves in the beginning of a conversation or saying goodbye at the end. Many of these conventions are tied to the social standing or social role of the other person. As an example, the appropriate way to greet a friend is different from the appropriate way to greet a customer. Also, it is appropriate to ask favours to a friend and give orders to employees but not the other way around. This asset will minimize the effort to add these established social conventions to an existing game scenario and have characters acting in accordance to them. The asset also adds the ability of the characters to automatically detect and respond negatively to the player whenever he or she behaves inappropriately. Originally, we planned to have three distinct assets covering different aspects of social behaviour, one for modelling social reality, another to manage interpersonal relationships and another for modelling social motivation. Given that these aspects are very intertwined, it was later decided that they would be integrated together in the Social Importance asset.

The following functionality was implemented for this first release: (1) A rule-based model that allows the agent to attribute social importance to others and infer its own importance; (2) A deliberative decision-making model that selects normative actions that are expected by others in certain contexts (e.g. greetings) and filters out actions that the agent does not have enough social importance to perform them (without being considered socially inappropriate). Currently, the asset uses a numerical approach to quantify the social importance granted by certain relational aspects (e.g. being a friend or being the boss). We are currently investigating the use of a categorical approach instead, which can greatly facilitate the authoring process.

Links