One of the main barriers to create and use compelling scenarios in virtual reality is the complexity and time-consuming
efforts for modeling, element integration, and the software development to properly display and interact with the content
in the available systems. Still today, most virtual reality applications are tedious to create and they are hard-wired to the
specific display and interaction system available to the developers when creating the application. Furthermore, it is not
possible to alter the content or the dynamics of the content once the application has been created.
We present our research on designing a software pipeline that enables the creation of compelling scenarios with a fair degree
of visual and interaction complexity in a semi-automated way. Specifically, we are targeting drivable urban scenarios,
ranging from large cities to sparsely populated rural areas that incorporate both static components (e. g., houses, trees) and
dynamic components (e. g., people, vehicles) as well as events, such as explosions or ambient noise.
Our pipeline has four basic components. First, an environment designer, where users sketch the overall layout of the scenario,
and an automated method constructs the 3D environment from the information in the sketch. Second, a scenario editor used
for authoring the complete scenario, incorporate the dynamic elements and events, fine tune the automatically generated
environment, define the execution conditions of the scenario, and set up any data gathering that may be necessary during
the execution of the scenario. Third, a run-time environment for different virtual-reality systems provides users with the
interactive experience as designed with the designer and the editor. And fourth, a bi-directional monitoring system that
allows for capturing and modification of information from the virtual environment.
One of the interesting capabilities of our pipeline is that scenarios can be built and modified on-the-fly as they are being
presented in the virtual-reality systems. Users can quickly prototype the basic scene using the designer and the editor on a
control workstation. More elements can then be introduced into the scene from both the editor and the virtual-reality display.
In this manner, users are able to gradually increase the complexity of the scenario with immediate feedback. The main use
of this pipeline is the rapid development of scenarios for human-factors studies. However, it is applicable in a much more