The Argax Project is working on developing new interactive drama systems.
An interactive narrative (IN) is a story that adapts or changes depending upon actions taken by its reader. It might also be called interactive storytelling (Crawford), cyberdrama (Murray), ergodic literature (Aarseth), or ractive (Stephenson). Usually, interactive narratives are computer-based. The term overlaps with a number of other, related fields.
An overview of interactive narrative and related fields
Work in automated story generation is often relevant to interactive narratives. Both require some means of modeling or producing a story.
Not all interactive narratives require a computer, however. Probably the best example of IN at the moment are table-top role-playing games and live-action role-playing games. Also, work is being done in interactive film, video, and television. In print, there are hypertext-like novels (including "Choose Your Own Adventure" books), gamebooks and Oulipou experiments. Improvisational theatre also tends to be very interactive with the audience.
Interactive drama is a subset of IN in which the user assumes a character role within the story. The narrative is enacted before the user, rather than narrated or described.
IN is divided on how best to interactively generate an story. Some projects hold that stories are essentially character-driven. They hope that, given sufficiently believable and responsive characters, a engaging narrative will emerge through their interactions . Other projects rely on a strong plot, usually directed by some sort of "drama manager". In these systems, characters are often much less autonomous so they remain subservient to the drama manager's story. Other projects--usually from the ludology domain--define the interaction rules of the story world model such that stories will emerge from user actions and world reaction.
I am inspired by table-top role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons and GURPS, as a model for interactive drama. In such as system, a Game Master (GM) designs the world and characters, the details of which are encoded using the particular game system's ruleset. The GM then verbally describes that world to the other players, performs the roles of all supporting non-player characters (NPCs), and adjudicates any rule conflicts.
Based on this model, the Argax Project is interested in an interactive drama system with:
Argax is an amalgam of the names of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, who wrote the Chainmail, Blackmoor, and original Dungeons and Dragons rule systems. This progression took strategic miniature wargamming into the realm of the table-top roleplaying, allowing for richly detailed player characters (PCs) and stories beyond simple combat simulation. In a similar way, the Argax Project hopes to help move computer-based roleplaying beyond branching trees and world simulations. (Arneson and Gygax themselves have nothing to do with the Argax Project.)
Argax Project : About
|Last Edited: 05 Dec 2010|
©2006 by Z. Tomaszewski.