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Interactive Storytelling
in Games: Next Steps
Gail Carmichael

www.gailcarmichael.com
What is a Story?
ACTORS
perform actions
THE WORLD
changes
EVENTS
relate to each other
STORIES:
About people, not things
conflict
Interactivity
Two or more
agents

Respond
properly

Understand
each other
Game + Story:
Why is it Hard?
STORIES:
Linear

GAMES:
Non-Linear
“Divergence from a story's path is
likely to make for a less satisfying
story; restricting a player's
freedom of action is...
What should we do?
…puzzle➭story➭puzzle➭story…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMzmnwWK0dY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkJuSV-23U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POjkfLiyWd8
Creativity

>
Technology
Playable Game
Stories
Sullivan, Anne. The Grail
Framework: Making stories
playable on three levels in CRPGS.
PhD Thesis, 2012.
Playable Story

Meaningful,
Interesting Choices
Player
Quest

Game
World
Player
Quest

Game
World

Social
Mechanics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc5QEcWGh1U
Player
Quest

Game
World

Goal-based
Quests
Player
Quest

Game
World

Dynamically
Arrange Plot
Points
Player
Quest

Game
World
Coherent Emergent
Stories
Complete freedom?
No freedom?
Somewhere in the
middle.
1

2

3

6

4

5
1

2

3

6

4

5

Example:
Player chosen as hero to
stop threat of a nearby
enemy
1

2

3

6

4

5
1

2

3

4

5

6

Example:

Example:

Learn that nobody has
dared face this enemy
before

Hero previously acquired his
wea...
Satellite Scenes
Available based on player action.
Allow player to choose consumption.
Dynamically modified to fit story.
Quantifiable
story elements
Desire value of
element
Quantifiable
story elements
Relevance of
element
Scene state: used to tag
scene with info about
how it functions in the
story
Rules to determine
availability of scene
Collection of
quantifiable story
elements used to
calculate scores for
scene nodes
Max of all scores for quantifiable
story elements in a category (e.g. max
theme relevance), multiplied by
desire value
Result:
A strong core story with
additional flexible but relevant
nodes that react to gameplay.
In other words, a coherent...
Want to know more?

Foundations of Digital Games (April 2014)
Gail Carmichael
www.gailcarmichael.com
Books
- Andrew Glassner’s Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for the 21st
Century
- Chris Crawford’s Chris Crawford on I...
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps
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What is a story? What is interactivity? Why are the two so hard to put together? This talk takes a journey into some of the most interesting recent developments in interactive storytelling in games, and looks at my most recent thesis work on coherent emergent stories.

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Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps

  1. 1. Interactive Storytelling in Games: Next Steps Gail Carmichael www.gailcarmichael.com
  2. 2. What is a Story?
  3. 3. ACTORS perform actions THE WORLD changes EVENTS relate to each other
  4. 4. STORIES: About people, not things conflict
  5. 5. Interactivity
  6. 6. Two or more agents Respond properly Understand each other
  7. 7. Game + Story: Why is it Hard?
  8. 8. STORIES: Linear GAMES: Non-Linear
  9. 9. “Divergence from a story's path is likely to make for a less satisfying story; restricting a player's freedom of action is likely to make for a less satisfying game.” Greg Costikyan
  10. 10. What should we do?
  11. 11. …puzzle➭story➭puzzle➭story…
  12. 12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMzmnwWK0dY
  13. 13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkJuSV-23U
  14. 14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POjkfLiyWd8
  15. 15. Creativity > Technology
  16. 16. Playable Game Stories
  17. 17. Sullivan, Anne. The Grail Framework: Making stories playable on three levels in CRPGS. PhD Thesis, 2012.
  18. 18. Playable Story Meaningful, Interesting Choices
  19. 19. Player Quest Game World
  20. 20. Player Quest Game World Social Mechanics
  21. 21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc5QEcWGh1U
  22. 22. Player Quest Game World Goal-based Quests
  23. 23. Player Quest Game World Dynamically Arrange Plot Points
  24. 24. Player Quest Game World
  25. 25. Coherent Emergent Stories
  26. 26. Complete freedom? No freedom? Somewhere in the middle.
  27. 27. 1 2 3 6 4 5
  28. 28. 1 2 3 6 4 5 Example: Player chosen as hero to stop threat of a nearby enemy
  29. 29. 1 2 3 6 4 5
  30. 30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Example: Example: Learn that nobody has dared face this enemy before Hero previously acquired his weapon and is too scared to use it
  31. 31. Satellite Scenes Available based on player action. Allow player to choose consumption. Dynamically modified to fit story.
  32. 32. Quantifiable story elements
  33. 33. Desire value of element
  34. 34. Quantifiable story elements
  35. 35. Relevance of element
  36. 36. Scene state: used to tag scene with info about how it functions in the story
  37. 37. Rules to determine availability of scene
  38. 38. Collection of quantifiable story elements used to calculate scores for scene nodes
  39. 39. Max of all scores for quantifiable story elements in a category (e.g. max theme relevance), multiplied by desire value
  40. 40. Result: A strong core story with additional flexible but relevant nodes that react to gameplay. In other words, a coherent emergent story.
  41. 41. Want to know more? Foundations of Digital Games (April 2014)
  42. 42. Gail Carmichael www.gailcarmichael.com
  43. 43. Books - Andrew Glassner’s Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for the 21st Century - Chris Crawford’s Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling - Josiah Lebowitz and Chris Klug’s Interactive Storytelling for Games - Mieke Bal’s Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative Other - Greg Costikyan’s Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String -Pohjola M. 2004. “Autonomous Identities: Immersion as a Tool for Exploring, Empowering and Emancipating Identities” in Montola M. and Stenros J. (eds.). Beyond Role and Play: tools, toys and theory for harnessing the imagination. Ropecon ry, Helsinki, 81-96. -Anne M. Sullivan, THE GRAIL FRAMEWORK: MAKING STORIES PLAYABLE ON THREE LEVELS IN CRPGS. (PhD thesis)

What is a story? What is interactivity? Why are the two so hard to put together? This talk takes a journey into some of the most interesting recent developments in interactive storytelling in games, and looks at my most recent thesis work on coherent emergent stories.

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