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The Commedia game is the first instantiation of the Purgatory Engine, an engine supporting the new game genre of the first-person-actor in the form of a Commedia dell'Arte online improvisational role-playing game.

The Commedia prototype is a three-character drama, with each character being played remotely via the Internet, the drama unfolding within a proscenium arch (front-facing stage) presented via a web page. A player controls the gestures, postures, lateral movements, and facial expressions of their character. They can also type text dialog for their character, which is sent as text to the web-stage for all of the players to see.

The Purgatory Engine

The Purgatory Engine is our key initial virtual game world research series that looks to explore dramatic form and characterisation within online shared gamespace, based upon the concept of the "first-person actor". In the first-person-actor, the player plays the part of a character in a dramatic production, where other players play the other characters.

The Purgatory Engine is a project that develops multi-user on-line game engines for virtual interactive drama. It has 2D and 3D graphics variants, and is based upon a generic agent-based control architecture.

The Purgatory Engine will support new genres of game play that we call the "first-person actor". The first person actor puts the player in the role of a character in scenarios that emphasise dramatic interaction between players. Inspired by live action role-playing, the Purgatory Engine supports different acting styles and modes of characterisation, from totally free improvisation, through constrained actions, to autonomous non-player characters.

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