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This paper investigates a range of challenges faced in the design of a serious game, teaching history to a player immersed in an `open' virtual environment. In the context of this paper, such an environment is described as an exploratory, expansive virtual world within which a user may interact in a non-linear, situated fashion with both the environment and virtual characters. The main contribution of this paper consists in the introduction of the levels of interaction (LoI), a novel framework designed to assist in the creation of interactions between the player and characters. The LoI approach also addresses the necessity for balancing computational efficiency with the need to provide believable and interactive virtual characters, by allowing varying degrees of animation, display and, ultimately, interaction detail. This paper demonstrates the challenges faced when implementing such a technique, as well as the potential benefits it brings.
Date of Conference: 25-26 March 2010