Interaction fields: intuitive sketch-based steering behaviors for crowd simulation.

Adèle Colas, Dr. Wouter van Toll, Katja Zibrek, Ludovic Hoyet, Anne-Hélène Olivier, Julien Pettré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The real-time simulation of human crowds has many applications. In a typical crowd simulation, each person ('agent') in the crowd moves towards a goal while adhering to local constraints. Many algorithms exist for specific local ‘steering’ tasks such as collision avoidance or group behavior. However, these do not easily extend to completely new types of behavior, such as circling around another agent or hiding behind an obstacle. They also tend to focus purely on an agent's velocity without explicitly controlling its orientation. This paper presents a novel sketch-based method for modelling and simulating many steering behaviors for agents in a crowd. Central to this is the concept of an interaction field (IF): a vector field that describes the velocities or orientations that agents should use around a given ‘source’ agent or obstacle. An IF can also change dynamically according to parameters, such as the walking speed of the source agent. IFs can be easily combined with other aspects of crowd simulation, such as collision avoidance. Using an implementation of IFs in a real-time crowd simulation framework, we demonstrate the capabilities of IFs in various scenarios. This includes game-like scenarios where the crowd responds to a user-controlled avatar. We also present an interactive tool that computes an IF based on input sketches. This IF editor lets users intuitively and quickly design new types of behavior, without the need for programming extra behavioral rules. We thoroughly evaluate the efficacy of the IF editor through a user study, which demonstrates that our method enables non-expert users to easily enrich any agent-based crowd simulation with new agent interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-534
Number of pages14
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • CCS Concepts
  • Intelligent agents
  • Real-time simulation
  • • Computing methodologies → Motion path planning
  • • Human-centered computing → Graphical user interfaces


Dive into the research topics of 'Interaction fields: intuitive sketch-based steering behaviors for crowd simulation.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this