Interesting Choice: Designing an Approach to Interactive Narrative
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Interesting Choice: Designing an Approach to Interactive Narrative

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Interesting Choice is an experimental interactive live-action dramatic webseries where the viewers decide what happens. This presentation explores our approach to crafting an interactive narrative ...

Interesting Choice is an experimental interactive live-action dramatic webseries where the viewers decide what happens. This presentation explores our approach to crafting an interactive narrative with this project.

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Interesting Choice: Designing an Approach to Interactive Narrative Interesting Choice: Designing an Approach to Interactive Narrative Presentation Transcript

  • Designing an Approach to Interactive Narrative
  • “A game is a series of interesting choices.”
    - Sid Meier
  • The Project
    Interesting Choice is an interactive live action dramatic webseries.
  • The Project
    At the end of each short 3-5 minute episode, viewers are presented with three multiple-choice questions about the next episode.
  • The Project
    Viewers are directed to a poll on the Interesting Choice website, where they can collectively determine the course of the series.
  • The Project
    Even the genre and format of the series were decided by viewers before the first full episode was produced.
    Episode 0 Poll Results:
    1. What should the genre be?
        A. Film noir (10, 38%)    B. Sci-fi (8, 31%)    C. Horror (8, 31%)
    2. What should the setting be?
        A. A playroom (10, 38%)    B. A forest (9, 35%)    C. Mars (7, 27%)
    3. There should also be…
        A. A character that doesn’t speak (9, 35%)    B. Handcuffs (5, 19%)
        C. A fish (12, 46%)
  • The Project
    After closing each poll and tabulating the results, we had a week’s turnaround time to:
    Brainstorm the next plot
    Write, workshop, and rewrite the script
    Cast actors
    Assemble sets and props
    Storyboard the episode
    Shoot the episode
    Edit the episode
    Write the next set of poll questions and answers
    Publish and distribute the episode
  • The Project
    The series was produced on a weekly basis for three weeks, with the introductory video and two full episodes released.
  • The Project
    A third full episode, the series finale, is currently in production and will debut this week.
    Episode List
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
  • Aims
    Interesting Choice aims to address several common problems in other forms of interactive narrative:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
  • Aims
    Some of our solutions:
    • Sprawling “branching path” structures
    • Surplus content
    • Railroading
    • Lack of meaningful choice
    • Conflation of story and game
    • Unsatisfying dramatic outcomes
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
    • Lack of personalized experience
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
    • Lack of personalized experience
    • Hampers plot development (theme, motif, foreshadowing, dramatic arc...)
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
    • Lack of personalized experience
    • Hampers plot development (theme, motif, foreshadowing, dramatic arc...)
    • Majority rule; individual choices may not prevail
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
    • Lack of personalized experience
    • Hampers plot development (theme, motif, foreshadowing, dramatic arc...)
    • Majority rule; individual choices may not prevail
    • Unclear motivation for choices
  • Aims
    Some tradeoffs:
    • No preauthoredcontent
    • Everyone sees the same content
    • No predetermined destination
    • Every choice has a major impact
    • No identification with a particular character or valorization of outcome
    • Available choices and final product handcrafted by writers
    • Tight production schedule
    • Lack of personalized experience
    • Hampers plot development (theme, motif, foreshadowing, dramatic arc...)
    • Majority rule; individual choices may not prevail
    • Unclear motivation for choices
    • Limited sustainability
  • Conclusion
    Interactive narrative is far from “solved”
    There are distinct benefits and drawbacks to the various available techniques
    This particular approach produced a successful short-run series with interesting results
    ...But it’s exhausting!
  • Thank you!
    http://www.interestingchoice.com