Simulating a Functional Populace: From Steps to Stories

Norman I. Badler


Simulating human activities in an urban setting requires a fundamental understanding of what human behaviors are likely, normal, or anomalous in such an environment. While many CG research groups are producing animated crowds of thousands of people, generally the agents are mostly just pedestrians wandering the traversable areas. Over the past decade we have been developing systems for animating data-driven, purposeful, functional individual agents. Multiple aspects of human control are explored, including steering, navigation, auditory perceptions, and multi-domain planning.  We developed open source software for Parameterized Behavior Trees, called ADAPT, which exploits "smart events" and an event planner to inform and commandeer agents for tasks that require their attention and participation. These concepts lead to narrative structures that give flow and meaning to urban settings and activities.