Thespian Architecture

Thespian is multi-agent framework for authoring and simulating interactive narrative.

Egri Lajos has strongly argued for the importance of characters in traditional narratives. His view of narrative — of rich, well motivated, autonomous characters as a creative spark to the author, and is nevertheless constrained by the author’s goals for the plot — serves as inspiration to the approach taken in Thespian. Specifically, a two-layer system is used for simulating interactive narrative.


At the base is a multi-agent system comprised of goal-oriented autonomous agents that realize the characters of the story. A key aspect of this layer is the richness of the agent design that provides motivations, emotions, theory of mind and social norms. The agents in this layer autonomously interact with each other and the character controlled by the user, thereby generating the story.

Above this layer is a director agent that proactively redirects the characters when it foresees future behavior of the agents will endanger the author’s plot design, which can be seen as group goals for the multi-agent system. A key aspect of this layer is that the director agent has access to models of the agents and user. It uses these models to assess whether plot goals are achieved as well as redirect the characters.

In addition to the two-layer simulation system for interactive narrative, Thespian also contains off-line authoring processes to facilitate the author in the design of characters.