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The One-Man-Crowd: Single User Generation of Crowd Motions Using Virtual Reality

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. (IEEE VR) 2022

Tairan, Yin, Ludovic Hoyet, Marc Christie, Marie-Paule Cani, Julien Pettré

The One-Man-Crowd: Single User Generation of Crowd Motions Using Virtual Reality

Crowd motion data is fundamental for understanding and simulating realistic crowd behaviours. Such data is usually collected through controlled experiments to ensure that both desired individual interactions and collective behaviours can be observed. It is however scarce, due to ethical concerns and logistical difficulties involved in its gathering, and only covers a few typical crowd scenarios. In this work, we propose and evaluate a novel Virtual Reality based approach lifting the limitations of real-world experiments for the acquisition of crowd motion data. Our approach immerses a single user in virtual scenarios where he/she successively acts each crowd member. By recording the past trajectories and body movements of the user, and displaying them on virtual characters, the user progressively builds the overall crowd behaviour by him/herself. We validate the feasibility of our approach by replicating three real experiments, and compare both the resulting emergent phenomena and the individual interactions to existing real datasets. Our results suggest that realistic collective behaviours can naturally emerge from virtual crowd data generated using our approach, even though the variety in behaviours is lower than in real situations. These results provide valuable insights to the building of virtual crowd experiences, and reveal key directions for further improvements.

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