Playful Virtual Characters IVA Workshop 2014

Call for Participation

Playful Virtual Characters Workshop 2014


This workshop is part of the IVA Conference 2014. It focuses on Playful Virtual Characters.

The workshop will be a full day workshop held Tuesday August 26, 2014. 

This workshop will focus on Characters can be described as Playful.  We focus on narrative characters that can be part of a story or standalone characters and have history, goals, rich complex personality, and attitudes. The workshop will borrow from theatre improvisation and Live Action Role-Playing games (LARPs) to define playful virtual characters and situate the context for a rich interaction about what it means to develop such narrative and personality for rich playful characters.

The workshop will take on an activity-based approach, where group exercises and experiences are emphasized. We intend to start with two 1.5 hour long sessions: engaging the audience in an improv exercise based on the theatre of the oppressed forum-theatre, and on a LARP-based activity. We will follow these activities with short talks from participants and then a panel.This workshop will span many topics pertaining to the development, use and our perceptions of playful virtual characters inhabiting virtual environments, public virtual spaces, and entertainment products.

Topics can be:

  • Fundamental models and implementations of autonomous/semi-autonomous playful virtual characters
  • Models for playful virtual characters
  • User-based tools for creating playful characters and their uses
  • Perception of playful virtual characters and avatars
  • Use of playful virtual characters for advancing our understanding in, e.g., cognitive science and learning science
  • Use of playful virtual characters in learning environments
  • Use of playful virtual characters for public art or interactive theatre and installations
  • Computationally modeling playful virtual characters


We envision the workshop to follow the following structure:

  • Introductions
  • Improv Theatre of the Oppressed workshop
  • Short Talks from participants
  • Panel 1: Use of Playful virtual characters
  • LARP workshop
  • Panel 2: What is playfulness in playful virtual characters?
  • Demonstrations and Posters (in coordination with the main conference)
  • Group Dinner


  • Magy Seif El-Nasr, Associate Professor & Director, Northeastern University
  • Alessandro Canossa, Associate Professor, Northeastern University
  • Casper Harteveld, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University
  • Lizzie Stark, Journalist, editor, and author of Leaving Mundania, a nonfiction book about Larp

Submission Instructions and Deadline:

We accept short papers, poster papers and letters of participation. All short and poster papers will be published as part of the workshop proceedings. Letters of participation are letters to the organizers from participants who want to participate in the workshop but do not want to present.

Short papers are 6-4 pages in length, poster or demonstration papers are 1-2 pages in length and should follow Springer (LNCS) accepted format. All submissions should be according to the specifications of IVA 2014.

Submission Page: For submissions, please email submissions directly to Magy Seif El-Nasr at

All submissions (abstract, short papers, and letters of participation) are due: 1 July 2014

Notification: 1 August, 2014

Camera Ready version for short papers: 15 August, 2014