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Re-Tellings: The Fourth Layer of Narrative as an Instrument for Critique

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Slides (without speaker notes) presenting the paper at the 11th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2018, Dublin, Ireland, December 5–8, 2018.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-04028-4_5
In book: Interactive Storytelling

Published in: Science
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Re-Tellings: The Fourth Layer of Narrative as an Instrument for Critique

  1. 1. RE-TELLINGS THE FOURTH LAYER OF NARRATIVE AS AN INSTRUMENT OF CRITIQUE ICIDS, December 6 2018 Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari of Södertörn University and Otter Play
  2. 2. OVERVIEW ➤ Proposal: Re-tellings as an instrument of critique ➤ An example: “The Story of being homeless in Sims 3” ➤ Situating re-tellings as a text layer in story construction ➤ Ways forward
  3. 3. UNIQUE TRAVERSALS .
  4. 4. RETELLINGS
  5. 5. PROPOSALThe occurrence of interactors’ re-tellings of diverse forms of interactive narratives are 
 indicators of successful designs
 since they indicate that the 
 underlying experiences were 
 important enough to re-tell them. Interactors - Murray’s term (1997) for players/readers etc
  6. 6. SUGGESTION Analyses of corpuses of re- tellings can be used as instruments for critique of interactive narrative systems.
  7. 7. ALICE AND KEV a story about two homeless characters in Sims 3, played and written about by Robin Burkinshaw. http://aliceandkev.wordpress.com
  8. 8. “SELFLESSNESS” Alice gets to work late, but not too late. When her shift at the supermarket ends that evening, she has 100 hard-earned simoleons, but she is as exhausted as it is possible to be. She wobbles slightly after walking out the door, and only just manages to stop herself from losing consciousness there and then. But she doesn’t want to rest now. She’s just come up with a new wish. It’s a wish that would be easily fulfilled, but the idea scares and horrifies me. I don’t want to grant it to her. But it’s her life, and her choice. I reluctantly let her do it. She takes all of the money she has just earned, places it into an envelope, writes the name of a charity on the front, and puts it into a mailbox.
  9. 9. Authorial stance: Burkinshaw writes about what happens as he plays the game, each interpretation he makes in the text is based on an event. Stance in playing: allowing Alice to act according to her character.
  10. 10. COMMENTARY Another interpretation by the user Danuab: “It doesn’t mean anything. Alice has likely internalised her father’s distaste and abuse and developed a negative self- concept. She isn’t giving money away because she’s altruistic, she’s giving it away because she doesn’t think she’s worth it.” About how real Alice feels as a character, and how beautiful her gift of charity is.
  11. 11. WHY 4TH?
  12. 12. LENSES
  13. 13. Greimas1966 Chatman 1978 Genette 1983 Aarseth 1997 Murray1997 Ryan 2006 Budniakiewicz 1992 Cavazza 2008 Jenkins 2003 Wardrip Fruin 2009 Koenitz 2015
  14. 14. LENSES
  15. 15. LENSES
  16. 16. Narrative Discourse Story Code Text* layers in Story Construction 
 
 *Where “text” in Lotman’s tradition is considered a coherent set of signs that transmits some kind of informative message. 
 (where the message the symbols convey is the interesting part rather than its physical form or the medium in which it is represented.)
  17. 17. Code 
 Layer Engines, frameworks - creating conditions for deep structure and world building Engines constituting the world to be built Engine physics system graphics rendering system dialog system media storage communication layer INS system Etc Examples: Unity, Renderware, Inform7. Twine …see yesterday’s A Framework for Classifying and Describing Authoring Tools for Interactive Digital Narrative, Yotam Shibolet, Noam Knoller, and Hartmut Koenitz
  18. 18. INS system Code 
 Layer The framework(s) governing affordances of the entities in the world The glue between scripting and engine(s) Abstract model of a world and system. Examples: Genre specific programming or frameworks: RPG, RTS, FPS etc. 
 Story structures; comedies, strategies, murder mysteries etc. Framework(s)
  19. 19. INS system Code 
 Layer Detailed programming of objects specific to the game or INS. Scripting
  20. 20. Scripting Framework(s) Engine(s) Code 
 Layer Engines, framework, and scripting together manifest the geographic structure as well as the conditions for the deep structure of the story and its construction.
  21. 21. Scripting Framework(s) Engine(s) Code 
 Layer Engines, framework, and scripting together manifest the geographic structure as well as the conditions for the deep structure of the story and its construction. A foundational layer:
 It could also be a tarot deck and a human card reader picking different spreads
  22. 22. Story Elements The specific setup of expressive agents and story elements that are to be instantiated. Goals, Driving Forces Wills, motives, aspirations, and goals of the expressive agents. Conditions Causal dependencies governing relations between specific agents and objects Story (Construction) Layer
 The deep structure consisting of the individual expressive agents and the story elements.
  23. 23. Hence the creation of the overall story or back story. At the discourse layer, story elements, conditions, driving forces and goals manifest the overall story and possible side stories.
  24. 24. Discourse Layer - The continuum of play. The current dynamic states, experienced events, movements, and actions of the expressive agents that result in sequences of events: the actual story, or discourse. Individual Story Discourse The past of the expressive agent, a chronological sequence of the actions performed and the events experienced. This is the actual story of a specific expressive agent. State The state of the expressive agent in the moment of interaction, defined by the construction of the class the agent is instantiated from, and from the agent’s individual story discourse.
  25. 25. Narrative Layer - Tellings and re-tellings. The narratives told about the actions and events in the game world or INS. The narratives are told both in-world and out-of-world. Recorded system output 
 Product in the form of narrative discourse, recorded instantiated output from a system. Simultaneous retellings. Ex: Streaming game play via Twitch or YouTube Gaming. Narratives with artistic or authorial intent. Avatar narratives, re-tellings of simulations (ex. Alice and Kev), fan-fiction. Chronicles and Reporting.
 Ex: guild scribes telling about marriages or funerals in VGWs, or reporters commissioned by game companies. Communicative re- tellings. Ex: “You won’t believe what happened in the raid. We …”
  26. 26. Re-tellings
 “You won’t believe what happened in yesterdays raid!” The now of the playing 
 - the unique traversals
 Authoring the back story, designing 
 the game 
 Making the game/INS Constructing game engines and authoring tools Acts of creation
  27. 27. Readers and Players Readers, Players, Game Masters,
 Authors, designers Researchers and developers Creators
  28. 28. Played Narrative Potential * * * * * * *
 * * Designed Narrative Potential * *** ** * * *
  29. 29. Played Narrative Potential * * * * * * *
 * * Designed Narrative Potential * *** ** * * * Co Creation
  30. 30. RE-TELLINGS AS A 4TH LAYER
  31. 31. RE-TELLINGS AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR CRITIQUE
  32. 32. WAYS FORWARD? MINE WHAT?
  33. 33. WAYS FORWARD: COLLECTING THE CORPORA. MINING?
  34. 34. WAYS FORWARD: COLLECTING THE CORPORA. MINING?
  35. 35. WAYS FORWARD: LENSES FOR CRITIQUE Mine what? From whom? Risk: Bluntness, and becoming blind 
 to that which cannot be “mined”. 
 Lenses and instruments for critique of INS - we need them
  36. 36. THE HIGHER EDUCATION PARADOX Learn to become a researcher -> to become a teacher I didn’t choose! SUMMARY A Proposal: The occurrence of interactors’ re- tellings of diverse forms of interactive narratives are indicators of successful designs since they indicate that the underlying experiences were important enough to re-tell them. A Suggestion: Analyses of corpuses of re-tellings can be used as instruments for critique of interactive narrative systems. A Lens: Retellings as a 4th layer in a model for understanding story construction in interactive narrative. mirjam.palosaari.eladhari@sh.se

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