The core experience of trying to understand interactive narrative:
You are in a maze oftwisty little passages,all different!
Three Traditional AssumptionsOur goal is to create a sandbox that allows maximum freedom. Interactive stories shouldnt be games. The player shouldnt have to think about any rules.
A Bizarre Faade Playscript(Audrey [the players character] knocks on the front door.)(Trip opens the front door.)TRIP: Audrey!!AUDREY: Trip, Ive been shot!TRIP: Hi, its so great to see you!AUDREY: Help me!TRIP: Uh, well, come on in Uh, Ill Ill go get Grace.AUDREY: There was a man with a gun.TRIP and GRACE: (Unintelligible arguing)AUDREY: HELP! Im going to die.GRACE: Hi! How are you? Im so happy to see you after so long!AUDREY: For Gods sake, Im bleeding (etc.)
Ken Perlins Law:The cost of an event in an interactive story must be directly proportional to its improbability.
Holy $#!!Faade is a role-playing game!(But its not a dungeon crawl.)
Laws We May ImposePhysical LawsNo materializing chickens.Social LawsInappropriate behavior gets you locked up.Dramatic LawsBad role-playing can cause the story to end.A war game doesnt let you be a bad general. Nothing entitles you to be a bad role-player.
Branching NarrativesCHARACTER LIVESCHARACTER DIES
murder(King,Claudius & Gertrude,Hamlet);
Against the Flying CircusTuonela Productionsjussi.email@example.com
SummaryCredibility is the currency of all narrative.Role-playing mediates the tension between interactivity and narrative.Treating interactive narratives as role-playing creates a contract between the designer and the player, such that:The designer promises to provide a credible, coherent story if and only ifThe player promises to behave in credible, coherent ways.
SummaryThe combination of human-written, embedded, but character-agnostic situations, plus a character simulator, offers:More flexibility than hard-coded narratives and characters.More interesting dramatic possibilities than a pure social simulator. and it merits further study.
ConclusionNo other form of interactive entertainment tries to be all things to all players. Why should interactive stories have to shoulder that burden?
Its time to stop apologizing for not working miracles, and get on with the job.
firstname.lastname@example.org +44-1252-665215Im a member of
A New Vision for Interactive StoriesErnest W. Adams