Thoughts on Interactive Drama
Because Interactive Drama on computers is still an unexplored field, diverse opinions are currently expressed on the matter. Here we would like to explain our position in an informal way.
Adaptive Narrative (top)
The audience of interactive drama will inevitably hold various (ethical) values, therefore the values to which each character is linked should not be fixed a priori. It should depend on the audience's actions. This makes the narrative adaptive, since the values of characters are settled only after a certain period of interaction with the audience. Your comment...
Audience's skill (top)
We postulate that, like other art forms, Interactive Drama does not require
the audience to have specific artistic skill. Therefore, in Interactive
Drama, the user is neither (co)author, nor performer, even metaphorically.
It is often feared that Interactive Fiction consists of replacing the central role of the author. This role is not removed but moved: Without deciding the exact sequence of actions in the drama, the author has to precisely define all the remainder: thematics, character's values, character's goals, actions, speech, etc. His/her role simply becomes more abstract. Your comment...
Beyond entertainment (top)
If the main application of this research is Interactive Entertainment,
simulating the narrative is a fundamental issue, whose applications concern
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in general.
A narrative is like a discourse, it aims at conveying a message to its audience in order to impact it. So an interactive narrative is an interactive discourse... namely a dialogue, where the author and the audience exchange their point of views through characters' actions. Your comment...
Could a story emerge from a dynamic simulation of social/intelligent
agents? Yes, but only occasionally. It is more a matter of chance than
Potential energy (top)
When you wind an old clock, you tighten a spring, and it
then produces this harmonious movement that gives you time. From a physical
point of view, during this operation, the spring is accumulating potential
energy, which is then converted to kinetic energy, namely movement.
Potential litterature (top)
OULIPO (OUvroir de LItterature POtentielle) is a litterary
movement created in the sixties (R. Queneau, G. Perec, I. Calvino, etc.).
Potentiality here means that the work is defined as a set of constraints,
and the development of those constraints is sometimes in the hands of
the reader. For example, "100,000,000,000,000 Poems", from R.
Queneau, is a combinatorial book which produces billions of poems depending
on the reader's choice.
A key feature of Interactive Drama is reprocity: I (as a
player) should be able to perform any action on non playing characters
(NPCs) that these NPCs can perform on me. For instance, if one character
gives me some information, I should be able to give it to some third character.
Structuralism, in its quest of the very structure of stories has provided quite useful models for narrative, because these models fit into our modern search for non linear or procedural computer models of narrative. Beyond any polemic about structuralism, Greimas, Barthes, Todorov, Bremond should be considered as valuable sources of inspiration for building strong interactive drama. Your comment...