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Index
  1. Troubleshooting
  2. Gameplay
  3. Science and architecture
    1. PMFServer/NonKin
    2. Assessment and Training
    3. NonKin/VBS2 Integration



Troubleshooting Return to Top

When I start the mission, it freezes on the loading screen or the connecting screen.
This means that VBS2 cannot connect to the NonKin server. Ensure that you started the NonKin server (CSMManager.exe) and that no errors occurred.
Try restarting the NonKin server.

I get an error when VBS2 starts saying "Cannot open xxx.pbo. And then VBS2 crashes.
This is an issue with VBS2. Sometimes it does not unlock files it was using after it closes irregularly. This means that it can't open them during its next run. It may also be the case that you have an instance of VBS2 already running. To fix this issue, restart your computer.

When I start the CSMManager application it just hangs and doesn't pop up.
If you are running windows 7, then you did not start the server in administrator mode. To do this, right click on the executable and select "Run as Administrator".
You should reset your computer or force kill the existing instances of the CSMManager in the task manager before restarting it.

I hit escape to exit a conversation rather than exiting it through dialog options and now I can't start another conversation.
This is a known issue with VBS2 dialogs and our system. There is no way to disable the Esc functionality of dialogs, and no way to detect when it happens. So we have to make the assumption that it did not. As far as our NonKin is concerned you are still in a conversation. Restart the server and game.

I entered a house and am now stuck either because of a character being in the way or because the "Leave Location" action does nothing.
This is a known issue that is caused by the small size of the house model we used from VBS2. It was the only viable house we could find that fit the scene. To allieviate this, you can go to the map editor by hitting the "m" key and drag your character (the one that displays the word "player" when you mouse over it.) outside of the house. This only works when running the game in administrator mode.
Any other mode will require you to restart
It is generally a good idea not to enter houses, this issue will be resolved in future releases by using a better house model.

All other issues.
Log files can be found in the following locations (%user% means your windows account):

Please send these error log files to the following email addresses:
danjo@seas.upenn.edu
oosin@seas.upenn.edu
We will do our best to get back to you with appropriate fixes.


Gameplay Return to Top

What happens when I shoot someone?
Shooting someone creates a transgression inside of NonKin. Transgressions can be perceived by everyone and will make them angry at you. They will also most likely want to observe the comotion that has been created and run towards the dead body.

Why does everyone cower when I talk to them?
You have your weapon out. Talking to someone while having a rifle pointed at them causes a transgression that they perceive and fear, and everyone else perceives and becomes angry about.

People keep saying "I have nothing to say" when I ask them questions?
Agents will not tell you personal details about their lives until they trust or are familiar with you. Try talking to them later, or generating more familiarity with them before asking those questions.

People sometimes teleport around the village?
VBS2's pathing AI is not the best. Sometimes when we want an agent to go somewhere, they just give up and don't go anywhere. When this happens we teleport them to their destination so that they can continue their actions, rather than be trapped because of VBS2.

Where is the captain?
The captain is in the front of the FOB. He should have a green arrow over his head when its time for you to talk to him.

There is only one woman in the village?
Go further in, there should be many agents walking around performing daily functions like working and buying food.

Are all of the conversations with villagers the same?
No, conversations with villagers all revolve around the same basic structure, but the answers and sub branches are different based on who you are talking to and what their feelings/state are.
They are also dependent on the general state of the village around them.

Can I load and save?
Yes, loading and saving in VBS2 is synced up with NonKin. When you exit VBS2, the current state of NonKin is saved, and if you choose resume on the next play, NonKin will load up where it left off. If you click restart, it will reload from the beginning of the simulation and your last save will be lost.


Science and architecture Return to Top

PMFServer/NonKin Return to Top
What is NonKin Village?
NonKin village village simulation that runs on top of our COTS socio-cognitive agent engine (PMFServ). It can run simulation of a village populated with intelligent, emotional and conversational agents who are capable of making decisions toward the player and the world around them.

How is NonKin useful?
NonKin can be used to teach people how their actions can affect the inhabitants of a village, while simultaneously providing a realistic and immersive village experience for the user.
NonKin is capable of providing assessment of the player's performance during their training session and give in-game feedback for context specific errors made by the trainee.
NonKin can also simulate faster than real time to show how player actions can affect the future state of a village.

How mature is NonKin Village and its integration with VBS2? When will this get into the hands of users?
NonKin is currently nearing the end of its 3 year development cycle. However that cycle will only produce one playable game. A customizable version will require future funding.

What are the research issues related to NonKin?
NonKin is being developed to assess whether a generalized cross-cultural training environment can supplement existing instruction and training at expensive stand-up villages. The additional capabilities of NonKin can also provide novel learning and feedback from seeing how player actions may lead to unintended consequences.

How many simultaneous playable/NPC characters can NonKin support?
NonKin can support up to 80 characters, whether they are players or not is up to the level designer and client application (VBS2).

Is NonKin Afghanistan specific, or can it support other cultures.
NonKin is capable of supporting any culture, as long as cultural modeling is done. Afghan, Iraqi and South Eastern Asian cultures have been modeled with PMFServ/NonKin.

Can I edit a NonKin Village?
Presently all village editing is done in house. Professional, user friendly editors have not yet been funded.

What is daily life and how can it be extended to be culture neutral?
Daily life, or pattern of life, is a collection of goals that agents can reason about and pursue in the village. Examples of these include buying food, eating, going to work or school, praying, sleeping, socializing, or performing an IED emplacement mission. These goals and their sub-tasks are assessed at each step by the agent's collection of models. They have been designed to be as general as possible and data-driven.

Does NonKin have a familiarity system?
Yes. Familiarity is calculated two ways. The first is simple familiarity which is increased between two agents when they take certain actions/conversations with eachother.
The second is complex familiarity, in which simple familiarity propagates through a group based on the level each agent weighs the opinion of another. For example, if you familiarize yourself with the leader of a group, all of the group members familiarity with you will be increased. However, if you familiarize yourself with a farmer's elder son, the propagation may not get very far.

What behaviors can be seen inside of NonKin?
At the village simulation level, agents make decisions related to daily life, including moving to certain structures or interacting with nearby agents. Fine-grained behavior such as path-planning or gesture production are reserved for 3D modelers and animators, permitting enhancements without requiring an overhaul of the underlying simulation.


Assessment and Training Return to Top

Can NonKin be used as a training system?
Yes. NonKin is intended primarily as a training system. At present it aims to teach the three phases of COIN, with a focus on learning the human terrain, building rapport, and understanding the sources of conflict and obstacles preventing peace. It also has several abilities to rate a player's performance. These are assessments and transgressions. Assessments grade a player at the end of their play based on how well they completed specific objectives. Transgressions are events that occur during play that alert the player that they are doing something wrong with respect to cultural factors.

What type of learning can be done with NonKin?
Trainees can learn how to interact with a specific culture or with different cultures in general. They can also learn how different actions can undermine their long term goals and how different world outlooks can result in different perceptions of the same event.

Is there an assessment system to show how well a trainee did?
Yes. After play, the player is presented with a set of assessments that show how well they performed during their training session. Assessments provide a detailed explanation of what the goal was, how the player performed (Trained/Partially Trained/Ineffective), and what the player did well or failed to do.

Can assessments be custom made by the trainer?
There is a large library of assessments ranging from general (such as "Improved rapport with all groups") to specific (such as "Detained Suspected Taliban Insurgent"). Any assessment in the library can be turned on and off for each scenario. Editors for preparing custom assessments are not funded at this time.


NonKin/VBS2 Integration Return to Top

How does NonKin drive VBS2?
NonKin is wrapped by an XMLRPC server can provide information about a scenario to multiple clients. A plugin to VBS2 was written that communicates with a NonKin server to control agents in the VBS2 game world.

Can NonKin/VBS2 handle multiplayer?
Yes. NonKin can have any number of Users along with the AI agents in the simulation. Agents in the simulation can form varying emotions about users depending on their actions as individuals.
Each player in a VBS2 simulation can occupy a single user in NonKin. Their actions in VBS2 have real consequences on how the village simulation plays out.

How do behaviors/actions in NonKin map over to VBS2?
Every action in NonKin has a visual representation in VBS2. NonKin's "Go To Location" triggers the agent in VBS2 to walk to the destination. NonKin's "Initiate Conversation" action causes an agent to start a dialog with the player (or whoever his target may be). "Place IED" causes the agent to set and arm an IED, that can go off and kill agents in the village.

Is NonKin's VBS2 plugin compatible with other VBS2 additions, such as ALELOs or the VR Gun Peripherals?
Yes, only the characters and structures in VBS2 explicitly linked to NonKin counterparts will be controlled via NonKin. Anything else in the simulation is free to operate however it wills. However, if external forces such as an unlinked player cause havoc in the village, the villagers will only know that the events occurred, not who committed them.
Novel input devices, such as ALELO's voice recognition software and the VR peripherals should not interfere with NonKin in the least.