Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The production of The FearNot. demonstrator applying virtual drama to education against bullying with versions in English, Portuguese and German

The project development team produced and delivered two prototypes of the `FearNot! demonstrator for the project: a scripted version and one driven by character interaction, the emergent version. In both cases, the structure of the demonstrator includes an introduction to the characters and the situation, and three episodes in which a bully character attempts to bully a victim character. In between each episode, the victim goes to the library and asks the child user to give them advice about what to do. The scripted version was used for all the large-scale evaluation sessions in all three countries; the emergent version was produced at the end of the project and a small-scale evaluation was carried out in Portugal only.

The scripted FearNot! used text output for most of the character utterances in the version used for the evaluation, but an updated version with speech recorded for the characters in both the physical bullying and relational bullying was created for use in talks and presentations. This version also included improved graphics, with better animations and modified character bodies, developed for the emergent version produced at the same time.

The Emergent version of FearNot! has no scripting of the action within an episode- the character action-selection systems allow the characters to select from their repertoire of actions on the fly. A certain amount of physical indeterminacy is also built in to this version. This means for example that if the victim is advised by the child to hit the bully back, and if the character's state of confidence is high enough to do this, sometimes the bully falls over and sometimes he does not. If he does, this impacts his level of confidence so that he desists from any further bullying in that episode. But if the bully is not seriously affected by the victim's blow then he becomes angry and is likely to hit the victim back even harder. This makes the exact sequence of events in the episode and the eventual outcome hard to predict, and the fact that this outcome has an effect on the emotional state of the characters involved means that differences propagate through the episodes.

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Reported by

Heriot-Watt University
EH14 4AS Edinburgh
United Kingdom
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