Tell Me That Bit Again... Bringing Interactivity to a Virtual Storyteller

  • André Silva
  • Guilherme Raimundo
  • Ana Paiva
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2897)


Stories and storytelling are a constant presence in our lives since very early childhood. Who does not remember a story narrated by a good storyteller? However, real human storytellers do not always tell the story the same way. They observe their ”audience” and adapt the way they are telling the story to better respond to their reactions.

This paper focuses on how to bring interactivity to a virtual storyteller by allowing users to influence the story. The storyteller is a synthetic 3D granddad that uses voice, gestures and facial expressions to convey the story content to be told. The character’s behaviour and the way the story is narrated, is influenced by the user’s input. Such input is done by a tangible interface (a kind of mail box) where children put the cards they want in order to influence what will happen in the story being told. A preliminary usability test was made with sixteen children, with ages between nine and ten years old. The results showed that the way interactivity is introduced was quite successful.


Facial Expression Tangible Interface Conversational Agent Facial Display Facial Expres 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Paiva, A., Anderson, G., HK, K., Mourao, D., Costa, M., Martinho, C.: Sentoy in fantasya: Designing an affective sympathetic interface to a computer game. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal (Ub. Comp.) (5-6) (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cassell, J., Bickmore, T., Campbell, L., Vilhjalmsson, H., Yan, H.: Conversation as a system framework: Designing embodied conversational agents. In: Cassell, J. (ed.) Embodied Conversational Agents, MIT Press, Cambridge (1999)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cassell, J.: Nudge nudge wink wink: Elements of face-to-face conversation for embodied conversational agents. In: Embodied Conversational Agents, MIT Press, Cambridge (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ekman, P.: Emotion in the Face. Cambridge University Press, New York (1982)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Essock, S., et al.: The enigmatics of affect. In: Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems- DIS 2002, ACM Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Matheas, M., Stern, A.: Towards integrating plot and character for interactive drama. In: Socially Intelligent Agents: Creating Relationships with Computers and Robots, Kluwer, Dordrecht (2002)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Noma, T., Zhao, L., Badler, N.: Design of a virtual human presenter. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 20(4), 79–85 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pandzic, I., Forchheimer, R. (eds.): Mpeg-4 Facial Animation - The standard, Implementation and Applications. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pelachaud, C., Poggi, I.: Subtleties of facial expressions in embodied agents. Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Propp, V.: Morphology of the folktale. University of Texas Press, Austin (1968)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Silva, A., Vala, M., Papous, P.A.: The virtual storyteller. In: Intelligent Virtual Agents, Springer, Heidelberg (2001)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Vala, M., Gomes, M., Paiva, A.: Affective bodies for affective interactions. In: Animating Expressive Characters for Social Interactions, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Silva
    • 1
  • Guilherme Raimundo
    • 1
  • Ana Paiva
    • 1
  1. 1.IST and INESC-IDLisboaPortugal

Personalised recommendations