Research program including LIFE
Funded by: PIA ­ FSN 2012 (DGE)
Start date: September 2012
Duration: 36 months


OCTAVIA (Outil de Création et Test d’Ambiance de Vie Interactive et Autonome) is a research project funded by PIA/FSN (Projet Investissement d’avenir/Fonds nationale pour la Société Numérique). This project is labeled by the French “Cap Digital” business cluster for digital content and services.

The main goal of the project is to propose an innovative tool to design and test scenes of ambient life involving interactive and autonomous non-­player character in 3D environment. The project proposes other outcomes : a new idea of 3D virtual cities proposing an environment populated with small groups of NPCs that play interactive scenarios to increase the presence of the user in the environment; a videogame that use interactive and autonomous groups of NPCs to propose an innovative game-play experience ; a sound engine coupled with 3D animation and environment to improve immersion.




In virtual environments, the feeling of immersion is greatly enhanced by the presence of non-­player characters that behave and interact realistically. The credibility of the environement and the situation proposed to the player is partially based on the presence of so­-called background characters. The definition and design of this type of ambiance is currently a complexe process, requiring deep technical skills. Thus, commonly, the behaviors are simple (movement) and the reaction to the user’s actions are weak.

In this context, OCTAVIA aims to provide a tool accessible to game designers to create “ambiante life” in virtual environment through the design of non-­player characters’ behavior grouped and sequenced in Living Scenes. A Living Scene is a sequence of synchronized behaviors executed by several NPCs playing dedicated roles.


  • ­ A MASA LIFE’s plugin dedicated to the design of living scenes. This plugin is integrated with Unity3D in order to quickly create and instantiate living scenes into a virtual environment (MASA). ­
  • An engine to calculate automatically a credible sound effect according to the situation and the state of the environment. This engine is integrated with Unity3D (CNAM). ­
  • The integration of living scenes coupled with a adapted and realistic sound effect into application developed with Unity3D : an immersive virtual city and a video game. ­
    • The immersive virtual city (BSE Group) uses living scenes to populate the environment and as a medium for territorial communication. ­
    • The video games (Black Sheep Studio) is a strategic game using living scenes to enhance the scenarios and as a part of the gameplay.


BSE Group (PME)
Black Sheep Studio (PME)
CNAM ­ ENJMIN (Research)


Publications & Events

Book chapter. De Sevin, E., Chopinaud C. & Mars C. Smart zones to create the abience of life. Game AI Pro 2 : Collected Wisdom of Game AI professionals, A K Peters/CRC Press, 2015.


Futur en Seine 2015. OCTAVIA will be demonstrated during Futur en Seine 2015 in June (11­14) at the “Gaïté Lyrique” in Paris.


Images of the OCTAVIA’s main tool in Unity3D