Publication (MIG 2019): Connecting Global and Local Agent Navigation via Topology

(This paper has been published in the 2019 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion, Interaction and Games.)


We present a novel topology-driven method for improving the navigation of agents in virtual environments. In agent-based crowd simulations, the combination of global path planning and local collision avoidance can cause conflicts and undesired motion. These conflicts are related to the decisions to pass obstacles or agents on certain sides.

In this paper, we define an agent’s navigation behavior as a topological strategy amidst obstacles and other agents. We show how to extract such a strategy from a global path and from a local velocity. Next, we propose a simulation framework that computes these strategies for path planning, path following, and collision avoidance. By detecting conflicts between strategies, we can decide reliably when and how an agent should re-plan an alternative path. As such, this work bridges a long-existing gap between global and local planning.

Experiments show that our method can improve the behavior of agents while preserving real-time performance. It can be applied to many agent-based simulations, regardless of their specific navigation algorithms. The strategy concept is also suitable for explicitly sending agents in particular directions.



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