Center for Educational Computing Initiatives

Character Maker 4.1

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CharacterMaker 4.1 is the first java-based version of a program which has been evolving as part of Janet H. Murray's course on Interactive Narrative at MIT. The aim of the program is to allow non-programmers to create interactive characters  in the tradition of Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza (1966).  These characters carry on a conversation by scanning typed input for key words, and replying with sentences associated with those key words. For more about how this program has been used in teaching, see Chapter 8 of "Hamlet on the Holodeck".

The first version, implemented in Hypercard and C, was programmed by Jeffrey Morrow.  The next two versions were implemented on the web in Perl by Matthew Gray and Michael Paskowitz. The web-based version added still images. This version is the first to allow the author to create a conversation in topics and to display the structure of the conversation in flow chart form. A VRML authoring environment is also under development for creating 3D animations.

Conversation 4.1 was conceived and designed by Dr. Janet H. Murray, Senior Research Scientist, CECI, and implemented and designed by Michael Privat, Visiting Student at CECI, in 1998. Copyright is held by MIT.

Thanks to Steven Lerman, Phillip Bailey, Cyril Morcrette, and the students in Janet Murray's Interactive Fiction Class 1992-8.

This development is supported by the Program in Advanced Interactive Narrative Technology (PAINT). It's purpose is to provide authors with a powerful and easy to use set of editors. Each editor is specialized. So far, two editors have been developed allowing users to build a structured interactive story as well as tridimensional characters creation and animation.

A demonstration program of Character Maker 4.1 is available.

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