Behavior Modeling and Scenario Authoring
for Virtual Environments

Project Summary

This objective of this research is to develop a computational framework for behavior modeling adapted to problem of creating complex scenarios in large-scale virtual environments. The project will develop a modeling system based on hierarchical, concurrent state machines that supports the control of reactive behaviors and provides mechanisms for coordinating behaviors to create critical situations and events. A second research thrust is to create authoring tools to facilitate the design of virtual environments and the definition of scenarios in which computer generated agents play central roles. This technology has application in interactive, real-time simulation environments such as vehicle simulation for driver training, virtual prototyping, and experimental studies of driving safety that require dynamic situations and circumstances to be reproduced across trials without overly restricting subject's actions and while maintaining diversity, responsiveness, and spontaneity in agent behaviors.

We are building Hank (see, a real-time driving simulator, as an experimental testbed for scenario research. The major features of Hank include:

The goal of the Hank project is to develop a public, open software system for driving simulation that promotes collaboration among researchers and facilitates sharing of data and code. Special emphasis is placed on the development of technology supporting applications that use interactive simulation to study human driving behavior.

We use Hank to experiment with behavior modeling and scenario authoring methods. Hank contains a catalog of directable agents including automobiles, bicycles, pedestrians, and traffic lights that can be instantiated to populate virtual driving environments. We are investigating techniques to orchestrate complex scenarios embedded in ambient traffic.

Overview of the Project

The Hank web page contains information about the Hank simulator and HCSM.

Some Recent Publications

O. Alloyer, E. Bonakdarian, J. Cremer, J. Kearney, and P. Willemsen, "Embedding Scenarios in Ambient Traffic," To appear in Proceedings of DSC 97 (Driving Simulation Conference), Lyon, France, September, 1997.

J. Cremer, J.K. Kearney, and P. Willemsen, "Directable Behavior Models for Virtual Driving Scenarios," Transactions of the Society for Computer Simulation International, special issue on Multiagent Systems, Volume 14, Number 2, June, 1997.

J. Cremer, J. Kearney, and Y. Papelis, "Driving Simulation: Challenges for VR Technology," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, pages 16-20, September, 1996.

J. Kearney, S. Allen, Shaheen Bahauddin, Michael J. Bartelme, T. Chow, D. Evans, and B. Mannlein, "Tile-based Scene Modeling for Driving Simulation," IMAGE V Conference, July 1996, Tucson, AZ.

J. Cremer, J.K. Kearney, and Y. Papelis, "HCSM: A Framework for Behavior and Scenario Control in Virtual Environments," ACM Transactions on Modeling and Simulation, Volume 5, Number 2, July, 1995.

J. Cremer, J. Kearney, Y. Papelis, and R. Romano, "The Software Architecture for Scenario Control in the Iowa Driving Simulator," Proceedings of the 4th Computer Generated Forces and Behavioral Representation Conference, May 4-6, 1994, Orlando, FL.

J. Cremer and J. Kearney, "Scenario Authoring For Virtual Environments," Proceedings of IMAGE IV Conference, July 1994, Tucson, AZ.