WP 5 Communication
Nebula Engine (Radon)
Since the company's inception in 1998, Radon Labs has developed its own technology. The
core foundation of our game development is the NEBULA engine.
Nebula is an Open Source Engine which means it is absolutely free of charge. Anyone can
download the source code and use it to develop their own projects. The Nebula Toolkit, a commercial plugin for Alias Wavefront Maya,
integrates the Nebula Engine into one of the industry's standard tools, is also
available from Radon Labs.
Core features of the engine are its expandability which allows modules (e.g.
physics, pathfinding, audio, etc.) to be easily implemented to fit the need of
the project and its versatility to be used for any kind of genre.
Most commercial engines are limited to one game genre. Nebula can be used to
develop any kind of 3D application not just games.
The Nebula Engine is in development since 1995 by Radon Labs' Chief Technical Officer,
André "Floh" Weissflog, who started programming on a KC85 in the
former GDR. Nebula 2, the current version, is used in many applications
worldwide: games, 3d visualisation both commercial and scientific. Nebula 3
is currently under development, first parts are to be released in 2008.
Nebula Client (Radon)
Radon Labs' contribution to RASCALLI consists of the so-called "Nebula Client"
(NC), a stand-alone Windows application which serves two purposes:
1) Provide an interface to the actual user with the help of a 3D animated character who offers
a much more "human" interface
2) the NC serves as an interface to the various components of RASCALLI: the Platform,
developed by OFAI and the MaryServer by DFKI for speech synthesis
The NC features a scene rendered in 3D real-time which shows the Agent or Rascallo (a
male Agent) sitting in a chair. Via a simple Graphical User Interface the user
can input questions and comments as texts which are then sent to the OFAI Platform.
This request is processed and a file in Behaviour Markup Language (BML) is sent
back to the Client with instructions which animations to play in which order,
e.g. point gestures or a gaze. This takes care of the animation of the Agent.
Another request is sent to the MaryServer which answers with a Wave file consisting
of synthesized speech and timing information telling the Client how long to
The Agents answer consists of text output accompanied by speech and animation to give the
user a lively impression as if he is engaged in a conversation. The Agent may
either give an answer which contains the information the user requested or
refer to a weblink (URL) which contains further information. This could be any
source on the WWW to contain such information like Wikipedia, IMDB or NNDB. By
clicking on the link the user is taken to the respective website.
Two buttons in the user interface allow the user to give the Agent positive or negative
feedback to praise and reprimand him respectively. This is used to train the
Agent and make him remember which of his answers were helpful to the user. A
profile of the Agent is stored on the OFAI platform server so the Agents
information is stored after the user logs out.
Multi-Modal Generation Component (OFAI)
The multi-modal generation component generates the speech, gestures and facial
expressions Rascalli use to communicate with the user. The output is encoded in
an XML format that includes SSML (speech synthesis
markup language) and BML (behaviour markup
language) markup, making it
interpretable by the MARY speech
synthesis and the Rascalli User Interface (Nebula Client) developed by Radon.
The generation component implements a template-based approach by encoding
vocabulary, phrases, gestures etc. - which can be combined with the output of the
Rascalli tools and context data - in the form of Velocity templates. The use of Velocity,
which is an industry-strength templating engine written in Java, allows to
design and refine templates seperately from the application code.
In order to enhance the robustness of the system when confronted with
utterances that are not domain-specific, we integrate chat bot software as a
fallback strategy for generating replies. The chat bot component is accessed as
a tool in terms of the Rascalli platform, and its output can be embedded inside
applicable templates just like any other tool output. Currently, we have
integrated the Program D AliceBot implementation into the ChatBot
Jabber Protocol Interface (OFAI)
As a simple user interface mechanism, OFAI is developing a communication
interface for the Rascalli system that allows Rascalli agents to connect to the
Jabber (an XML-based open source instant
messaging protocol) network. Various Jabber clients provide an easy-to use
text-based interface by which the user can contact her Rascallo (the Rascallo
can be added to the user's contact list just like other - human - contacts),
and can be notified or contacted by her Rascallo in an unobstrusive manner.
Generalization of QUIZ Questions (DFKI)
Back to workpackages
Quiz application aims to answers the questions based on our
database content, e.g. the social relations, the cause of death, the
awards. The generalization of QUIZ
questions is designed at DFKI in a (semi)-automatic way.
Information extraction components have learned a lot of linguistic
patterns from a large amount data, referring to different relations
defined in the RASCALLI project. We utilize these linguistic patterns
and generate different questions and their paragraphes as our QUIZ
questions. The question foci are generated on top of the gossip
RASCALLI is supported by the European Commission Cognitive Systems
RASCALLI develops a new type of personalized cognitive agents, the
Rascalli, that live and learn on the Internet.
combine Internet-based perception, action, reasoning, learning, and
Rascalli come into existence by creation
through the user. The users not only create their Rascalli but also
train them to fulfil specific tasks, such as be experts in a quiz
game or assist the user in a music portal.