Roma Nova

Roma-Nova is a side-project I supervised during my first postdoctoral position at the Serious Games Institute, Coventry University. It is the result of a joint research between IRIT and the SGI. The development of Roma Nova was undertaken by a team of interns: Kévin Sauvourel, Alexandre Spyropoulos, Guillaume Patinaud, Justyna Pultowicz and Diana Hentulescu.


Roma Nova is an immersive serious game in 3d designed to teach key notions of the history of Rome. The game targets KS3 students, who are expected to learn in situ, in a virtual replica of Rome populated with virtual Roman characters, interacting with them or watching them during their daily activities. Curriculum aspects are conveyed by means of a distributed intelligent tutoring system.


Levels of Interaction

Roma nova utilises an original framework called the levels on interaction which enables traditional and state-of-the-art animation techniques to be brought together into a single architecture. The levels of interactions define interaction areas inside which different techniques are utilised with respect to technical constraints but also interacting abilities. Three levels are defined, from crowd characters enhancing the immersion of the player in the 3d environment to embodied conversational agents with which the player can converse and learn.

Crowd believability

One challenge of Roma Nova is the integration of many techniques known to enhance the credibility of the virtual characters, like crowd diversity for instance (illustrated by the picture above).

In Roma Nova, a special effort has been made on long-term believability. Research avenues were explored regarding the techniques or animation tricks one could integrate in the game for the crowd of characters to participate in the player's immersion for more than 2-3 minutes (the time the player usually takes to notice unpleasant details and glitches).

Among the features introduced in Roma Nova, one can notice gaze behaviours, character agenda and social networks enabling the virtual Romans to recognise each others in the crowd and start aside chats.

Curriculum integration

Curriculum elements are introduced by means of interactive dialogues played by the virtual Romans, taking the shape of anecdotes. Keywords are triggered during these conversations, and automatically linked to their definition, adding to the pedagogic content.

Video clip

This video clip illustrates some of the features included in Roma Nova. Notably, one can notice the social activities of the Romans and their realistic gaze behaviour when conversing with the player or walking past each other.

Unable to play the clip? download it from this link