Interactive Storytelling

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Information about Interactive Storytelling
Entertainment

Published on February 18, 2008

Author: Umberto

Source: authorstream.com

Interactive Storytelling for Multiple Media:  Interactive Storytelling for Multiple Media Tools and Limitations Dallas Dickinson November 1, 2006 Austin Community College Who I Am and Why You Should Care:  Who I Am and Why You Should Care Dallas Dickinson, Director of Production, Caliber Games Educated as a playwright Wrote/produced children’s theatre for Disney Wrote/produced several film shorts Designed/produced lots of casual games for Sony Online Produced MMOGs Planetside and Star Wars Galaxies All of these are VERY DIFFERENT media for a writer to tackle Some Storytelling Forms:  Some Storytelling Forms Oral (yay,Homer!) Theatrical, aka Oral Plus Props (yay, Greeks!) Various written forms, from the Novel to the Short Story to the Poem No feedback, except from editors Radio, aka Oral Plus Sound FX Film and TV Also very little feedback, but at least multi-episode TV shows can react, slowly, to the audience Interactive (Computers are the future!) So What About These “Computor” Games?:  So What About These “Computor” Games? Single player games have one set of challenges Multiplayer games have others Is the goal to “make it feel like a movie?” Or is the goal something else entirely? Can we teach through story in games? What about world domination? History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 1966: ELIZA First Interactive Fiction (loosely defined) Turing Test! User-Generated Content = Holy Grail 1975: Colossal Cave Adventure First text adventure game 1977: Zork Refined the genre, added a significant storyline (both a history and a plot for the game) 1978: Essex MUD First multi-user dungeon, precursor to today’s MMOGs History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 1981: Ms. Pac-Man Cut scenes!, kind of 1981: Ultima I One of the first RPGs Standard “Hero’s Journey” backstory and plot 1983: Planetfall Floyd’s sacrifice = real empathy 1984: King’s Quest 3rd person narrative History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 1987: Maniac Mansion LucasArts knows a thing or two about story Multiple character choices and endings Lots of Cut Scenes 1991: Wing Commander II Extensive Cut Scenes and real Voice Actors 1992: Alone in the Dark Superfine cinematic music 1993: Myst Detailed (approaching photorealistic) world Goal is explicitly “to figure out the story” History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 1995: Command and Conquer Extensive voice-over 1996: Resident Evil In-engine cut scenes Survival/horror genre (Alone in the Dark came first) 1997: Ultima Online One of the first MMOGs User-generated content still = Holy Grail History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 1998: Half-Life Tight narrative in a FPS Linear, string-of-pearls structure Extensive use of cut-scenes Lots of foreshadowing 1998: Baldur’s Gate Generally linear storyline (string-of-pearls) but with extensive side-quests and flavor stories Gives the impression of a deeper world 2000: The Sims Create-your-own-story hits the mainstream History of Storytelling in Computer Games:  History of Storytelling in Computer Games 2001: Max Payne Playable flashbacks/dreams Bullet-time is both a feature and a storytelling tool 2001: GTA III Same as Baldur’s Gate, but more refined and with hookers 2004: Doom 3 Best use of environment/mood/lighting yet 2004: Everquest 2 Full VO in an MMOG - yikes! 2004: World of Warcraft Extensive story-based quests with scripted emotion animations Some Storytelling Tools :  Some Storytelling Tools Action Character Conflict Conversation Exposition Emotion Environment Foreshadowing Focus Genre History Mood Point of View Setting Subplots Tone What Makes Interactive Storytelling Different? :  What Makes Interactive Storytelling Different? Branching Choices “Bushiness” Feedback (what the audience does/says) AI Behavior Mutable or Unpredictable Player Goals This all adds up to… Authors Giving Up Control:  Authors Giving Up Control So how do you tell a compelling story without keeping control? Let players create their own stories? Give up control at points, but eventually return to the string-of pearls? Create extensive AI systems that can react to a HUGE variety of feedback actions? Other ideas? This is Even Harder in an MMOG:  This is Even Harder in an MMOG Multiple players/audience members Whose story is it? Griefers If they can disrupt a story, they will More loss of control What is the player looking at? No flashbacks, no slo-mo, no pause button So What Can We Do?:  So What Can We Do? Try desperately to control the story Many online games do this with lots of “Private Instanced” content It’s easier in single-player games Create games where story isn’t just the glue sticking objective-based gameplay sections together What about games where the only point is to interact emotionally with characters? Is the goal to Be Like the Movies, or Not? Some People Who Are Working On the Problem:  Some People Who Are Working On the Problem Chris Crawford and “Storytron” http://www.storytron.com/ Online Alchemy and “Dynemotion” http://www.onlinealchemy.com/AITech.asp Scott McCloud “The Story Machine” http://www.scottmccloud.com/inventions/machine/machine.html And the Producer Shows Up to Make People Sad:  And the Producer Shows Up to Make People Sad Voiceover and Cut-scenes are expensive Both in terms of dollars and time However, we *think* that we understand how they work The more complex and “unpredictable” your story is, the harder it is to test Not just for bugs, but for Fun and Quality The reason we follow the Movie mentality is that we know it works Business is ruled by fear and uncertainty Some crazy person is going to have to pull a Will Wright and build a new kind of game

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