Emotion and Acousmętre for Suspense in an Interactive Virtual Storytelling Environment

1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Jung (ISNM)

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen (ISNM)

3rd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. John Barden (University of Birmingham, UK)

It is often hard to simulate real world social interaction scenarios that are highly emotional and tense. Such situations can be represented in cinema. However, allowing the viewers to step into the drama and play a role as an actor and influence the story may not be possible using the traditional cinema. Borrowing the specifics of cinema, this thesis describes a virtual storytelling application, developed by the author to simulate the emotionally demanding social role as a protagonist of the story and goes beyond the sole display of visual and audio information: the generation of emotion and suspense sensations. To generate such sensations, this thesis investigates two emotional stimulants as a potential variable to effectively stimulate emotion and suspense in the developed application: (1.) virtual character’s emotion, and (2.) acousmatic presence. The implication of these two variables in the interactive virtual storytelling environment was evaluated by associating the occurrence of emotional sensations with the autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity of the users and was further validated through emotion report questioning. From this analysis, the author infers that the fusion of these two elements in the story world effectively elicits emotion and suspense, resulting in a rich interactive narrative experience and increases the viewer’s engagement.