TRAVELLER

TRAVELLER is an agent based application for intercultural training that is being developed for young adults (aged 18 to 25).  The following video provides a demo and some further information on the TRAVELLER application.

The user learns by playing the role of a character called Travis. The application begins with Travis receiving a letter, left for him by his grandfather who passed away several years before, the letter is passed on by the Travis’ Grandmother.   During his life the Grandfather had travelled the world.  In the letter the Grandfather explains that during his travels he found a “great treasure” that he wants to pass on to his Grandson.  To find the treasure the user/Travis will have to travel to various locations.

In each country Travis/the user will interact with groups of characters in common social situations.  The groups will be culturally distinct in the way they behave and react towards Travis.  The goal is for the user to gain a greater understanding of how behaviour can differ across cultures on a generic level.

In each country the user will interact with groups of characters in common social situations.  The groups will be culturally distinct in the way they act, based on general differences found across nations.  The goal is for the user to gain a greater understanding of how behaviour can differ across cultures on a generic level.

Interaction

Players interact with the application via a KINECT sensor.  The KINECT allows the users selections to made using natural gestures rather than tying the player to a keyboard.

 

Characters

The behaviour of the characters is driven by an autonomous agent architecture.  Agents not only need to react and behave in a believable manner, but also be capable of simulating distinct cultural behaviour.  To address this issue, an agent model of relational behaviour  that is culturally adaptable was developed.  The model enables the encoding of cultural conventions on how agents perceive and treat others from a relational perspective.  As an example, in one of the cultures agent make a clear distinction between outsiders and locals.  As an outsider, the character/user may use a direct approach that would be considered inappropriate by the other characters.  During the TRAVELLER interaction the behaviour of the characters that the user meets emerges from their particular cultural parameterisation.  By changing the cultural profiles of the characters, the scenarios can be replayed and the resulting the behaviour will be different.

A demo of the TRAVELLER application is available here.