“Cognitive modeling: knowledge, reasoning and planning for intelligent characters” by Funge, Tu and Terzopoulos

  • ©John Funge, Xiaoyuan Tu, and Demetri Terzopoulos




    Cognitive modeling: knowledge, reasoning and planning for intelligent characters



    Recent work in behavioral animation has taken impressive steps toward autonomous, self-animating characters for use in production animation and interactive games. It remains difficult, however, to direct autonomous characters to perform specific tasks. This paper addresses the challenge by introducing cognitive modeling. Cognitive models go beyond behavioral models in that they govern what a character knows, how that knowledge is acquired, and how it can be used to plan actions. To help build cognitive models, we develop the cognitive modeling language CML. Using CML, we can imbue a character with domain knowledge, elegantly specified in terms of actions, their preconditions and their effects, and then direct the character’s behavior in terms of goals. Our approach allows behaviors to be specified more naturally and intuitively, more succinctly and at a much higher level of abstraction than would otherwise be possible. With cognitively empowered characters, the animator need only specify a behavior outline or “sketch plan” and, through reasoning, the character will automatically work out a detailed sequence of actions satisfying the specification. We exploit interval methods to integrate sensing into our underlying theoretical framework, thus enabling our autonomous characters to generate action plans even in highly complex, dynamic virtual worlds. We demonstrate cognitive modeling applications in advanced character animation and automated cinematography.


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