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A huge challenge is to simulate 10.000s of virtual characters in real-time where they realistically avoid collisions with each other. Their environment contains semantic information (e.g. roads and bicycle lanes), is three-dimensional and can dynamically change. We show a generic framework and how it can be updated efficiently for such environments. Next, we show how (groups of) people move, avoid collisions and coordinate their movements, based on character profiles and semantics. We run our simulations in realistic environments and game levels to study the effectiveness of our methods. Finally, we demonstrate our software package that integrates this research.
The results can be used to decide whether crowd pressures do not build up too much during a festival; to find out how to improve crowd flow in a train station; to plan escape routes for evacuation purposes; to train emergency personnel; or to populate a game environment with realistic characters.
Roland Geraerts is an assistant professor at the Virtual Worlds group in the Department of Information and Computing Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. There, he obtained his PhD on sampling-based motion planning techniques. In addition, he studied quality aspects of paths and roadmaps. His current research focuses on path planning and crowd simulation in games and virtual environments. Furthermore, he currently teaches a course on crowd simulation. Roland has organized the Creative Game Challenge and is one of the cofounders of the annual Motion in Games conference.
He is currently involved in making simulations for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, together with the company Movares and the city of Utrecht. In addition, crowd simulation experiments were carried out during Festival de Beschaving (27 June).
He has created a software package that integrates their crowd simulation research.