Interactive storytelling

Interactive storytelling

:"See also interactive fiction for other forms."

Interactive storytelling is a developing kind of computer entertainment. The term was coined by Chris Crawford, a main proponent and developer. He defines interactive storytelling as, "a form of interactive entertainment in which the player plays the role of the protagonist in a dramatically rich environment."Fact|date=February 2007

Interactive storytelling and interactive fiction are distinct in that interactive storytelling focuses on drama and dynamic circumstances, where interactive fiction games, traditionally (but not necessarily) focus on puzzle-solving and navigating through pre-conceived circumstances. They are similar, however, in that well-written forms of both are nonlinear.

Chris Crawford writes, "The experience of interactive storytelling differs substantially from that of a conventional linear story. A linear story 'runs on rails' from start to finish in the most powerful and expeditious manner possible. The interactive storytelling experience meanders through a dramatic universe of possibilities. It lacks the sense of directed inevitability that gives conventional stories such power. It is like a butterfly flitting across a meadow, not a hawk plummeting down on its prey. The closest form of traditional storytelling is the soap opera, which concentrates on the relationships among the characters rather than the particulars of plots."Fact|date=February 2007

Early attempts to understand interactive storytelling date back to the 1970s with such efforts as Roger Shank's research at Northwestern University and the experimental program TaleSpin. In the early 1980s Michael Liebowitz developed "Universe", a conceptual system for a kind of interactive storytelling. In 1986, Brenda Laurel published her PhD dissertation, "Toward the Design of a Computer-Based Interactive Fantasy System" (Ohio State University); many of the concepts in that thesis were expounded in her later book "Computers as Theater". During the 1990s, a number of research projects began to appear, such as the Oz Project led by Dr. Joseph Bates and Carnegie-Mellon University, the Software Agents group at MIT, the Improv Project led by Ken Perlin at New York University, and the Virtual Theater group at Stanford, led by Dr. Barbara Hayes-Roth. There were also a number of conferences touching upon these subjects, such as the Workshop on Interactive Fiction & Synthetic Realities in 1990; Interactive Story Systems: Plot & Character at Stanford in 1995; the AAAI Workshop on AI and Entertainment, 1996; Lifelike Computer Characters, Snowbird, Utah, October 1996; the First International Conference on Autonomous Agents at Marina del Rey, CA. February 5-8, 1997. More recently, the TIDSE conferences held in Darmstadt, Germany, have produced an effusion of work on interactive storytelling and related topics.

The first published interactive storytelling software that was widely recognized as "the real thing" was Façade, created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, released in 2006.

An incomplete list of people who have published important work in this field includes Phil Agre, Joseph Bates, Chris Crawford (game designer), Andrew Glassner, Barbara Hayes-Roth, Brenda Laurel, Patti Maes, Michael Mateas, Roger Shank, Andrew Stern, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and Peter Weyrauch.

Further reading

*cite book
authorlink=Andrew Glassner
title="Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21st Century Fiction"
publisher=A. K. Peters

*cite book
authorlink=Chris Crawford (game designer)
title="Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling"
publisher=New Riders

External links

* [ Make Literature Online] - collaborative writing and interactive storytelling project.
* [ Inscape storytelling] Software
* [ A Gamasutra feature article] - "Video Games are Dead: A Chat with Storytronics Guru Chris Crawford"
* [ Erasmatazz] - More information, by Chris Crawford.
* [ A comprehensive set of links] on interactive storytelling
* [] StoryMash, a commercial collaborative storytelling experiment "The Future of Collaborative Fiction"
* [] Storytron, a commercial interactive storytelling site
* [] Grand Text Auto, a blog about interactive storytelling
* [] Online Caroline, an interactive story

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