CRII: CHS: Structuring Narratives in Interactive Virtual Environments Using Computational Models of Possible Worlds

Funding Agency

US National Science Foundation, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII)



Starting date

Summer 2015


2 years


The objective of this research is to develop a plan-based computational model of narrative action which represents a network of possible worlds, and to use that model to automatically structure interactive experiences in a real time virtual environment. The model will be informed by research from narrative theory, modal logic, and cognitive science which emphasizes the importance of counterfactual and hypothetical reasoning in narrative understanding. These theories insist that the importance of an event must be evaluated relative to other events which did not happen or might have happened instead. The project will extend our prior work on real time planning for interactive virtual environments to develop a fast narrative planning algorithm based on this model. By leveraging current research in planning heuristics and treating the problem search space as a network of possible worlds, this planner will generate and adapt computational models in real time. It will be integrated into an existing narrative-oriented virtual environment and used to control an interactive experience. The model and environment will be evaluated in a series of human subjects experiments that use and extend empirical tools developed by cognitive scientists for measuring aspects of narrative understanding. The computational model, algorithm, and software will significantly extend the capabilities of virtual environments to offer personalized, context-sensitive interactive narrative experiences.

Document Type

Metadata Only

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