KomParse - Dialogue-Capable NPCs for Natural Game Environments

One of the central problems in the development of better computer games is the realisation of characters that are not controlled by human players, but which nevertheless should exhibit natural behaviour. Such fully automated characters, which are indispensable to many kinds of computer games, are known in the computer game industry as non-player-characters (NPC). The main research goal of the KomPARSE project - carried out in cooperation with the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and funded by the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) - is to provide such characters with limited, but nevertheless adequate and robust linguistic capabilities which allow for naturalness in interactions and whose efficiency satisfies the real time requirements of interactive applications.

Here you can see some photos of the KomParse final presentation on October 27th at THESEUS Innovationszentrum.

Research topics


Conferences and Workshops


Research topics

The ZAS's main contribution to this project will be based on results recently obtained at the research centre in the field of formal pragmatics of natural language. By incorporating these results, the project aims at enhancing communication with NPCs with more naturalness and more intuitivity for the player. We particularly focus on the modelling of pragmatic phenomena such as the generation of optimal answers and the interpretation and generation of implicatures. This is not only of interest to the primary target application but also to the development of more intuitive interfaces for human-machine communication. 

The use of a hybrid architecture, which combines deep syntactic-semantic analysis with robust shallow-processing methods, guarantees a functional base system at any time, which nevertheless can be incrementally enhanced at many levels with increasingly abstract and, thus, more intelligent components. The combination of linguistic processing with domain and world knowledge will allow to adapt the linguistic capabilities of an NPC to specific virtual contexts depending on the role played by it.

Furthermore, exemplary test NPCs should be made available for linguistic research purposes, in order to serve as experimental platforms for the empirical verification and refinement of the theoretical pragmatic models. 

By partnerships with companies of the Berlin computer game industry, it is guaranteed that the solutions, evaluation criteria and technological results comply with the requirements and demands of commercial application. In this way, Metaversum GmbH, for example, whose virtual world Twinity imposes particularly high requirements in terms of naturalness due to its closeness to reality, supports the project by licensing real character models.



Conferences and Workshops

KI 2011:
Peter Adolphs, Anton Benz, Nuria Bertomeu, Xiwen Cheng, Tina Klüwer, Manfred Krifka, Alexandra Strekalova, Hans Uszkoreit, Feiyu Xu. "Conversational Agents in a Virtual World". Proceedings of the 34th Annual German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Berlin, Germany, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 10/2011.

KI 2011:
Peter Adolphs, Feiyu Xu, Hans Uszkoreit, Hong Li "Dependency Graphs as a Generic Interface between Parsers and Relation Extraction Rule Learning". Proceedings of the 34th Annual German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Berlin, Germany, Springer, 10/2011

IVA 2011:
Tina Klüwer "I like your shirt - Dialogue Acts for Enabling Social Talk in Conversational Agents" Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Reykjavik, Iceland, Springer, 2011

SemDial 2011:
Anton Benz, Nuria Bertomeu and Alexandra Strekalova. "A decision-theoretic approach to finding optimal responses to over-constrained queries in a conceptual search space". Proceedings of the 15th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SemDial 2011), Los Angeles, California, September 2011.

Peter Adolphs, Martin Theobald, Ulrich Schäfer, Hans Uszkoreit, Gerhard Weikum "YAGO-QA: Answering Questions by Structured Knowledge Queries". Proceedings of the Fifth IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (IEEE-ICSC 2011), Palo Alto, California, United States, IEEE, IEEE, 9/2011

IWSDS 2011:
Tina Klüwer, Peter Adolphs, Feiyu Xu, Hans Uszkoreit "A Dialogue System for Conversational NPCs". Paralinguistic Information and its Integration in Spoken Dialogue Systems, Granada, Spain, Springer, 2011

ACL 2010 System Demonstrations:
Tina Klüwer, Peter Adolphs, Feiyu Xu, Hans Uszkoreit and Xiwen Cheng. "Talking NPCs in a Virtual Game World". Proceedings of the ACL 2010 System Demonstrations, Uppsala, Sweden, Association for Computational Linguistics, 7/2010.

LREC 2010:
Peter Adolphs, Xiwen Cheng, Tina Klüwer, Hans Uszkoreit and Feiyu Xu. "Question Answering Biographic Information and Social Network Powered by the Semantic Web" In Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Jan Odjik, Stelios Piperidis, Mike Rosner, Daniel Tapias (eds.): Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, Valletta, Malta, European Language Resources Association (ELRA), 5/2010.

EACL 2009 System Demonstrations:
Xiwen Cheng, Peter Adolphs, Feiyu Xu, Hans Uszkoreit and Hong Li. "Gossip Galore: A Self-Learning Agent for Exchanging Pop Trivia". In Jörn Kreutel (ed.): Proceedings of the Demonstrations Session at EACL 2009, Athens, Greece, Association for Computational Linguistics, 3/2009

ICAART 2009 - First International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence:
Feiyu Xu, Peter Adolphs, Hans Uszkoreit, Xiwen Cheng, and Hong Li. 2009. "Gossip Galore: A Conversational Web Agent for Collecting and Sharing Pop Trivia" In: Joaquim Filipe, Ana Fred, and Bernadette Sharp (eds). Proceedings of ICAART 2009 -- First International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence. Porto, Portugal, 19-21 Jan 2009.

CILC-09 1st International Conference on Corpus Linguistics:
Nuria Bertomeu and Anton Benz. "Annotation of Joint Projects and Information States in Human-NPC Dialogues". Proceedings of the First International Conference on Corpus Linguistics, Murcia, Spain, May 2009.

DiaHolmia 2009 Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue:
Nuria Bertomeu and Anton Benz. "Ontology Based Information States for Artificial Sales Agent". Short paper in: Jens Edlund, Joakim Gustafson, Anna Hjalmarsson and Gabriel Skantze (Eds.), Proceedings of DiaHolmia 2009 - Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue, Stockholm, Sweden, June 2009.


Click here to play the video

The video shows an interaction in a flat in the ‘Twinity’ virtual world between a non-player character (NPC) in the role of a furniture sales agent and a customer. The task of the NPC is to help the customer choosing a sofa from the ‘Twinity’ catalogue. The customer and the NPC interact through a chat interface. The NPC shows the customer those objects that fit her preferences best. If the customer's preferences cannot be completely fulfilled, the NPC points out to the conflict and suggests alternative objects or properties that most resemble the requested ones.