Played WingCommander or its derivates? Or a similar game, where a talking head tells you what to do next? Imagine a talking head with believable facial expressions, that is actually generated in realtime (in your realtime!) from a real person, a game master, just by using a webcam! It is called face tracking. I imagine some people would rather see videos than read an academic paper.
And here are some SourceForge related links for facial recognition. Also, Facade (not the Mateas and Stern interactive story game creation) is also an interesting free realtime character animator. Expression is a research based facial animation kit.
Now, if we wanted to have a realtime 3D character with facial expressions generated in realtime from your face, and send it 3D information about a player in a game or virtual environment, how would we do it (cheaply)?
Could we also have a chatbot create this character with expressions to match the dialogue, generated from a pseudo AI engine? Perhaps the words in the AI database could be tagged with emotion tags that generate suitable facial expressions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Does this talking head need to be of a real person? AIs that can generate 3D facial expressions on generated characters include the 3D AIML (A.L.I.C.E.) Ebba. The only convenient alternative to A.L.I.C.E. would be jabberwacky as it beat A.L.I.C.E. to win the 2005 Loebner AI Prize. On a side note: GameBots is an Unreal Tournament modification that allows software agents to play for bots in Unreal.
We need a 3D environment as a test case. I better start adding links to this little research topic, extending on from the Palenque in Unreal game engine project.
Or, the 3D content could be using the planet jeff models available.
Side note: There really should be a world wide library for 3D models available for academic research and prototyping.
3D web environments
Ok so we need a game that exports to webpages as an embedded plugin so the 3D realtime embedded character can get sent info from the virtual environment (the energy of the player, their itinerary, where they have come from, what they are looking at, where they can go next, and so on).
Possible 3D web environment plugins