Once More With Feeling

Ken Perlin

13 July 2007

Ken Perlin / New York University Multimedia Research Laboratory Gerry Seidman / Noisemachine, INC, NYC, NY / 2007 / USA

“Once More with Feeling” is not a game, but a demonstration of technical research into “procedural animation” that promises to make character behavior and emotion, especially as communicated through motion, more natural. In the demonstration, players are presented with two dancers, which they control through musical keyboards. While the animated figures keep on dancing (no matter what happens), players control posture, style of dance, how much they sway, how they shake their hips, and whether or not they look at one another. The dancers are in essence “smart” puppets that already know how to dance, which makes “Once More with Feeling” a collaboration between the player and the game’s creators. While steps in this direction have been made before with “smart” musical instruments, “Once More with Feeling” is a proof-of-concept that shows what can be done with animated movement for dramatic effect.