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  • pg 1
       - Michael Mateas

UC Santa Cruz
School of Engineering
14 Jan 2009
Process Intensity
 Process intensity - term coined by Chris Crawford

 Refers to the “crunch per bit” ratio
    How much processing does the computer do on the data?

 Instantial assets – data displayed by computer
      Sound files
      Bitmaps
      Text
      Animations
      …

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Instantial assets: a temptation
 When first learning to program, instantial
  assets provide immediate reward
    For art and humanities students, might feel more

 But, instantial assets
    Don’t make use of the unique properties of
     computational media
    Limit possibilities for interaction
    Create an authorial bottleneck
    Are computationally “opaque”

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The essence of the medium
 The essence of the computer as a representational
  medium is not
    Intervention in the production or display of 3 dimensional
     forms or visual imagery (tools)
    Interaction with a participant/observer (interactivity)
    Control of electro-mechanical devices (installation)
    Mediation of signals from distant locations

 The essence of the computer as a medium is…
Computation, processes of mechanical manipulation to
         which observers can ascribe meaning

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The conversation model of interaction
 Listen – what is the range of possible utterances (verbs)
  provided to the player?

 Think – how deeply does the system process the player’s
  utterance (understanding)?

 Speak – what is the range and complexity of the system’s
  responses to its understanding of the player’s utterance?

 Interaction is a combination of the depth of the
  listen/think/speak loop and the speed of the loop

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Instantial assets limit interaction
 More degrees of interactive freedom require more
  complexity of response
    As the interactor can say more, the program needs to be
     able to think and speak more

 Responses generated from instantial assets…
    Limit response to combinations of assets
    Require more assets as the range of response grows
    Can be an authorial bottleneck

 Instantial design tends to limit interaction or collapse

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Computational opacity
 The meaning of instantial assets are opaque to
   Example: code that triggers video clips can’t
    reason about or manipulate the meaning of the

 This opacity limits the code’s ability to
  resequence these assets in meaningful and
  interesting ways
   Assets must be designed for sequencibility or…
   Assets must be “opened-up” to the code

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But instantial assets aren’t “bad”
 Can tap into rich meaning systems
    Complex connotations, emotional flavor…

 We don’t know how to procedurally generate rich
  instantial assets
    This can quickly become an AI complete problem
    Purely procedural work may be overly abstract

 Need to appropriately balance the use of instantial
  assets and procedurality
    Develop strategies for manipulation of instantial assets

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Drama and Interaction

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 Two analytic frameworks

 Laurel (1986, 1992): Aristotelian theory of interactive
    Structural – what are the “pieces” of an interactive dramatic
 Murray (1998): the pleasures of interactive story
    Experiential – what does an interactive story feel like?

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Laurel’s treatment of Aristotle

 Dramatic properties                       Structure
                                           Action (plot)

                                                                Inferred Formal Cause
    Intensity                               Character
                       Material Cause
    Closure                             Language (Diction)


                                        Enactment (Spectacle)

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Murray’s experiential categories
 Immersion
   Engagement; acceptance of internal logic

 Transformation
   Masquerade; variety; personal transformation

 Agency
   Action with effects relating to player intention

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Combine agency with Aristotelian categories
 Agency chosen as primary
    Immersion - engagement and identification
    Transformation - change in the protagonist
    Agency – not implicit in Aristotelian categories

 How does the category of agency relate to the
  Aristotelian categories

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Structural prerequisites for agency

                         Plot Constraints
                                                        Action (plot)

                                                                                                Inferred Formal Cause
                                                       Player character

                                                                             Player intention
                               Material for action
        Material Cause

                                                     Language (Diction)


                                                     Enactment (Spectacle)

Maximize agency when material and plot constraints are balanced

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Classic adventure game

        Plot Constraints
                                       Action (plot)

              Material for action

                                    Language (Diction)


                                    Enactment (Spectacle)

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Modern storygame (RPG and openworld)

        Plot Constraints
                        Action (plot)

             Material for action

                                   Language (Diction)


                                   Enactment (Spectacle)

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Example: Classic FPS

         Plot Constraints
                                        Action (plot)

                                       Player character

               Material for action

                                     Language (Diction)


                                     Enactment (Spectacle)

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   Ludology is the study of games, with an emphasis on the formal elements of games
    (rule systems, entities, attributes)
      The general term for the humanistic study of games is games studies – the term ludology
       is generally reserved for the formalists
      Ludology is most commonly associated with being anti-narratology – the ludology vs.
       narratology debate
      Wikipedia: “While scholars use many different theoretical and research frameworks, the
       two most visible approaches are ludology and narratology.” Careful here – nobody
       really calls themselves a ludologist or narratologist. There is no single theoretical or
       methodological framework that describes either position. There are terms from a
       debate, not actual research strategies.

   The three readings for today are written by three influential scholars who early on
    called for an new, autonomous discipline for studying games
      Espen Aarseth – Genre Trouble
           Espen’s book Cybertext is a foundational text for ludology
      Markuu Eskelinen – Toward Computer Game Studies
      Gonzalo Frasca – Simulation versus Narration: Introduction to Ludology

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Games vs. narrative
 Games have representational elements and rule
 Much of the game vs. narrative debate turns on
  whether one should consider the rule system or
  representation primary

    Narrativists                         Ludologists

Paradigmatic form: hypertext         Paradigmatic form: games
Academic pedigree: literary theory   Academic pedigree: games studies

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Genre Trouble
 Games must be defended from the colonizing
  influence of narrative and textual analysis
    With semiotics, the notion of “text” generalized to all of
     material existence
    But the essence of games can’t be captured by semiotic

 Within traditional academic circles, games are seen
  as a low-culture phenomenon
    Some scholars try to recuperate games by relating them to
     high-culture phenomena (like narrative)
    But this high/low dichotomy doesn’t lead to interesting
     theory or methodology, and risks missing what’s truly new
     about games
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Games are not textual
 “Games are not "textual" or at least not primarily
  textual: where is the text in chess? We might say that
  the rules of chess constitute its "text," but there is no
  recitation of the rules during gameplay, so that would
  reduce the textuality of chess to a subtextuality or a

 “Any game consists of three aspects: (1) rules, (2) a
  material/semiotic system (a gameworld), and (3)
  gameplay (the events resulting from application of the
  rules to the gameworld). Of these three, the semiotic
  system is the most coincidental to the game.”

 “Likewise, the dimensions of Lara Croft's body, already
  analyzed to death by film theorists, are irrelevant to me
  as a player, because a different-looking body would not
  make me play differently. When I play, I don't even see
  her body, but see through it and past it.”
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Games are not intertextual
 Intertextuality refers to the meaning of a text being
  derived from its relationships to other texts
    In contemporary literary theory, there is no autonomous
     meaning in a text, only a web of meaning

 “It follows that games are not intertextual either; games
  are self-contained. You don't need to have played poker
  or ludo to understand chess, and knowledge of roulette
  will not help you to understand Russian roulette.”

 “Knowing Star Wars: The Phantom Menace will not
  make you better at playing Pod Racer (Juul 2001a).
  Unlike in music, where a national anthem played on
  electric guitar takes on a whole new meaning, the value
  system of a game is strictly internal, determined
  unambivalently by the rules.”

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 The ideology that narrative is the only mode whereby we
     Communicate with each other
     Make sense of the world (and our own lives)

 Everything is narrative
     “Life is a story, this discussion is a story, and the building that I work in is also
      a story, or better, an architectural narrative.”
     This is Ryan’s metaphoric use of narrative

 “Underlying the drive to reform games as "interactive narratives," as they
  are sometimes called, lies a complex web of motives, from economic
  ("games need narratives to become better products"), elitist and
  eschatological ("games are a base, low-cultural form; let's try to escape the
  humble origins and achieve `literary' qualities"), to academic colonialism
  ("computer games are narratives, we only need to redefine narratives in
  such a way that these new narrative forms are included").”

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 Stories can be translated across media (novel to comic book, to movie, to
  TV series, to opera, …)
     “In the various versions of a story, key events and relationships remain…”

 Games can be translated across media (board and dice, to a live role-play
  out in the woods, to numbers and letters on a screen, to a three-
  dimensional virtual world…)
     “…in the versions of a game, the rules remain.”

 “But when we try to translate a game into a story, what happens to the
  rules? What happens to the gameplay? And a story into a game: what
  happens to the plot? And, to use Marie-Laure Ryan's example (2001), what
  player, in the game version of Anna Karenina, playing the main character,
  Holodeck style, would actually commit suicide, even virtually? Novels are
  very good at relating the inner lives of characters (films perhaps less so);
  games are awful at that, or, wisely, they don't even try.”

 Story-generating systems are not stories
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Story-game hybrids: the adventure game genre
 First evident in textual adventure games
     Notes that this genre is alive and well as a hobby form (IF)

 The desire to tell a story is in conflict with the game rules
     Need to force the linearization of events
     Compared to games like Civ, these games are generarlly not replayable
     “Most critics agree that the Miller brothers (Myst) succeeded eminently in
      making a fascinating visual landscape, a haunting and beautiful gameworld, but
      to experienced gamers, the gameplay was boring and derivative, with the same
      linear structure that was introduced by the first Adventure game sixteen years
      earlier. Nice video graphics, shame about the game.”

 The biggest aesthetic problem for these games is believable characters
     Early adventure games avoided characters
     Later games introduce prescripted, repetitive dialog
     Unlike narrative media like novels or film, games are unable to express
      interpersonal relationships and inner life

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The computer game is the art of simulation
 “The hidden structure behind these, and most,
  computer games is not narrative -- or that silly and
  abused term, "interactivity" -- but simulation.”

 “In the adventure games where there is a conflict
  between narrative and ludic aesthetics, it is typically
  the simulation that, on its own, allows actions that
  the story prohibits, or which make the story break
  down. Players exploit this to invent strategies that
  make a mockery of the author's intentions.”

 Often games like RPGs will employ narrative
  fragments, but they are completely superfluous
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Electronic literature
 In this class we’re not talking much about electronic
  literature, though it’s under the umbrella of interactive
    Hypertext literature is a canonical instance here
    Quick look at victory garden

 But electronic literature is not a game/literature hybrid,
  but fully literature
    Wants to remove it from consideration from the debate
    What is it about electronic literature that makes it “not a

 Interestingly, the real game/literature hybrid, IF, is still
  active, but “seems to have little influence on either game
  culture or literary culture in general.”

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Simulation-based interactive stories impossible

 A technical impossibility argument

 Simulation-based approach to narrative would
  involve simulating both characters and an author

 This is more than an AI-complete problem, because
  the system would have to be better than a human
  author in that it would have to write the story
  reactively and in real time
    How might we argue back?

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Towards Computer Game Studies
 Markuu comes out swinging

 “So if there already is or soon will be a legitimate field for computer game
  studies, this field is also very open to intrusions and colonisations from the
  already organized scholarly tribes. Resisting and beating them is the goal of
  our first survival game in this paper, as what these emerging studies need
  is independence, or at least relative independence.”

 “For example, as we shall soon see, if you actually know your narrative
  theory (instead of resorting to outdated notions of Aristotle, Propp, or
  Victorian novels) you won't argue that games are (interactive or
  procedural) narratives or anything even remotely similar. Luckily, outside
  theory, people are usually excellent at distinguishing between narrative
  situations and gaming situations: if I throw a ball at you, I don't expect you
  to drop it and wait until it starts telling stories.”

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The narrative situation

        Diegetic universe

            1        2         3        4      5

            1        5         3         2     4
            prolepsis           analepsis
            (flash-forward)     (flash-back)       Interpretation

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The gaming situation

      Game universe
        Action sequence   Configurable elements
            1     2       …       1 2 …


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Diegetic universe                                               Game universe
                                                                Action sequence Configurable elements
  1      2          3        4         5
                                                                     1    2    … 1 2 …

  1   5 3

                              2        4
                                                            ≠                               Interpretation
  prolepsis             analepsis
  (flash-forward)       (flash-back)       Interpretation

 The narrative and game situation are different
 Therefore games are not narratives
        And interactive narrative is impossible?!? (at least high-agency
         interactive narrative)
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The gaming situation
 Active configuration of game state

 Formation of explicit goals, not only interpretation
    Interpretive
    Exploratory – actively opening up new content
    Configurative – changing game state along predefined
    Textonic – adding new content to the game

 Focalization in games involves exploring the rule
  system – the player can actively control focalization

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Time in games
 Order – relationship between user time and time in the game (there may
  be multiple levels)

 Frequency – whether events and actions happen only once, an unlimited
  number of times, with some limit, are undoable or not

 Speed – the pace of the game, and whether pace is controlled by system,
  player, or both

 Duration – the player’s relationship to the duration of the game and
  individual game events

 Time of action – when the player is allowed to act

 Simultaneity – player’s relationship to simultaneous events

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Simulation vs. Narration
 Frasca argues that what’s fundamentally different
  between games and narrative is that games can simulate
  while narrative represents

 To simulate is to model a (source) system through a
  different system which maintains to somebody some of
  the behaviors of the original system

 The sequence of signs produced by a simulation might
  look the same as a static representation, but the
  experience of producing that sequence (playing) is
  radically different
    Computational media artifacts are machines – generative sign

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Advergames and political games
 Advergames and political games may by the cutting
  edge of developing a simulation rhetoric
    Question: what does Super Mario Brothers simulate?

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Comparing narrative and simulation
 Germinal – a novel about a
  strike held by mine workers –
  the workers lose
 Bread and Rose – a film about a
  strike of janitorial workers in
  LA – workers win (though
  leader deported)
     These stories depict the issues
      of worker rights and the fight
      for living wages
     But they only show one
      possibility – narrative is
      inherently binary (the
      protagonist wins or not)

 Simulation can present a space
  of possibility
     A strike game would allow
      players to explore this space

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 Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed is a
  participatory street theater for people to explore
  options for responding to injustice

 Boal critiques Aristotelian drama for presenting
  irrevocable outcomes (dramatic necessity) and for
  turning off critical powers (engagement and

 Videogames of the Oppressed – games that allow
  people to explore options through simulation
    Share simulations in a social context
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Paida and ludus
 Paida – games conceived as open-ended play

 Ludus – games conceived as having strong goals

 Four different ideological levels
      Representation – same as narrative
      Paida rules – govern the manipulation of the gameworld
      Ludus rules – determine the winning condition
      Meta rules – govern player modification of the game

 Rhetoric operates at all four levels

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Build it to understand it
 Building experimental games necessary for
  theoretical progress in game studies

 Façade as an empirical investigation of the
  ludology/narratology debate
    Resolving tension between game and story
    Authoring story structure (mixable progressions)

 The wicked nature of game design

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Game studies and game design
 A primary goal of game studies is to understand the
  form and structure of games
    Usually accomplished by analyzing existing games

 However, existing games sparsely sample design space
    Commercial games heavily constrained by market concerns
    Theories informed by existing games are at best incomplete
     and at worst wrong

 Theoretically informed construction of experimental
    Provides a more complete understanding of already sampled
    Opens up new regions of design space, providing raw
     material for theoretical and prescriptive advances
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Case study: the ludology vs. narratology debate
 The question: can gameplay and narrative combine
  (to what extent do games and narrative overlap)

 Status
    Fatigue and malaise (including claims that the debate never took
    Occasional flare-ups indicate little progress
    Our concern is that if pushed, some game scholars would say only
     “pure” gameplay can offer high-agency

 Fundamental tension: agency vs. narrative

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Existing games insufficient
 Easy to conclude that narrative is incompatible with
  gameplay from existing commercial games
    Canned missions and cut-scenes
    Fixed or mildly-branching paths

 Can’t develop theories regarding intersection of story
  and narrative solely from existing points in design space
    You can’t make strong statements of what’s impossible
     without building things; dangerous to be prescriptive

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Game reinforcement and feedback
                                 Position, time, score
       “Score” (summary state)

       Game state                               Player

                                 Run, jump, shoot

 Concrete player actions directly manipulate state
 Game state is primarily numeric, relatively simple
 The score is directly communicated to the player
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   Story not amenable to simple numeric state

                          Plot structure                               Characters
                       (global constraints)                      (consistency, inner life)
                                                                          •   Personality

                                            Climax                        •   Emotion
                                  Crisis                                  •   Self motivation
                                               Falling action             •   Change
                       Rising action
                                                                          •   Social relationships
                     Exposition     Inciting                              •   Consistency
                                    incident        Denouement
                                                                          •   Illusion of life

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Façade as social, dramatic game
                Head game scores        Enriched dramatic performance


         Game state

                                        Praise, bring up topic, flirt

 Abstract player actions (discourse acts) manipulate social state
 Game state is heterogeneous, multi-leveled, symbolic and numeric
 Score is indirectly communicated through dramatic performance

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Façade’s social games
 Affinity game
    Player must take sides in character disagreements

 Hot-button game
    Player can push character hot-buttons (e.g. sex, marriage) to
     provoke responses

 Therapy game
    Player can increase characters’ understanding of their

 Tension
    Not a game, but dramatic tension increases over time and is
     influenced by player actions (e.g. pushing character hot-
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Multiple, mixable progressions
 Each social game, plus tension, forms a mixable

 A progression consists of
    Units of procedural content (e.g. beats, beat goals)
    A narrative sequencer that manages the progression and
     responds to player interaction

 Multiple progressions run simultaneously and can

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The progressions
    Beat sequencing         Beat goal sequencing    Global mixins (hot button game)
(overall story + tension)      (affinity game)          Therapy game similar

                                                           Handlers + discourse
    Beat manager
                                     Handlers (ABL
                                     meta-behaviors) +
                                     management               Mix-in library
      Beat library

                      Canonical beat goal

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The atom of performance
 Joint dialog behaviors form the atom of performance

 Façade consists of ~2500 joint dialog behaviors
      Each 1-5 lines of dialog long (5-20 secs)
      System sequences these, including transitions between
      Most are interruptible
      JDBs use ABL’s joint intention framework to coordinate

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Local agency
 Players get immediate responses
     interruption often possible
     context-specific <-> more general <-> deflection
     emotional
     information revealing

 Narrative effects
   Which topics discussed, info revealed
   Current affinity
   Increase in tension

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Global agency
 Player’s “score”
   Pattern of player’s interaction is monitored over time
   Player’s response to key moments
   Used to modulate beats when possible

 Some influence over beat sequencing
   More if we had more beats!
   Ending beat chosen by calculus and evaluation

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Lessons for game studies
 Narrative and agency can be reconciled through
  intermixable, dynamic progressions
    Progressions provide narrative structure at multiple levels
    Progression management provides responsiveness to interaction
    The narrative is potential – interaction evokes a specific narrative

 Generative narrative does not require an AI-complete
  “author in a box”
    Combine human authorship and autonomous generation

 The “gun-toting Gandhi” problem is a red herring
    Constrained action spaces still create agency (just like in games)

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Useful residue of the L. vs. N. debate so far
 “Interactive narrative” should mean something
    Not enough just to declare all games “narrative” by fiat
    For a specific game-story, designers must clarify what they mean by

 Pushes on procedurality and agency as the essence of
    Any attempt to combine games and narratives should respect this

 But for a design field (like games), theoretical
  arguments (based, e.g. on theoretical definitions of
  “narrative” and “game”), will never be sufficient

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Wicked problems
 Introduced by Rittel and Weber in context of public
  policy (1973).

                Problem                       Solution

 Lack definitive problem statement
    The problem is only understood through looking for a solution

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The wicked nature of game design
 No definitive statement of problem
     “Create a game in which you roll a sticky ball around and pick up stuff” does
      not define a fixed problem statement

 No stopping rule
     Resource management determines when you stop

 Solutions are not correct/incorrect
     Games are only judged relative to each other and in a social and economic

 No immediate nor ultimate test of solution
     Every game design changes the design space (some subtly, some dramatically)

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Interactive story as a wicked problem
 “Integrate narrative and gameplay” is not a well-
  defined problem
    Need to build something to even figure out what the problem is
     (e.g. “create progressions with both local and global agency”)

 Formal definitions of narrative (e.g. structuralist)
  don’t provide a stopping criteria

 Determining whether you’ve built a “high-agency
  interactive story” is fundamentally audience-centric

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Design and architecture

  Author                                      Player


       An architecture is a machine to think with

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Interactive story: architectural and design problem

 Concepts such as “progression”, “global agency”, “cumulative
  history”, “discourse acts” are inextricably technical
    Relationship between two semiotic systems: the code machine and the
     rhetorical machine

 You must iterate architecture and content to explore new regions
  of design space

 No design-only solution

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 Building games is a necessary part of game studies
    Need to explicitly sample the design space

 Game design is wicked
    A priori theorizing or empirical investigation of existing games are
     insufficient to fully understand the design space

 Construction of experimental games can shed light
  on thorny game studies questions
    Example: The ludology vs. narratology debate

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Game Design as Narrative Architecture
   Jenkins argues for a middle path in the games/stories debate

   Not all games tell stories – for those games, such as Tetris, for which there is no
    strong narrative component, we need non-narrative terms and concepts

   Many games do have narrative aspirations – games explicit tap the narrative
    residue of previous story experiences (e.g. the Star Wars games tap your
    memories of the Star Wars story)

   Narrative analysis doesn’t need to be prescriptive – he’s not arguing that games
    must be narrative, but just that (some) games can contain narrative elements

   The experience of playing games can’t be reduced to the experience of a story

   Games will not tell stories in the same way as other media – “Stories are not
    empty content that can be ported from one media pipeline to another.”

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Evocative spaces
 “The most compelling amusement park attractions build upon stories or
  genre traditions already well-known to visitors, allowing them to enter
  physically into spaces they have visited many times before in their

 “Arguing against games as stories, Jesper Juul suggests that, "you clearly
  can't deduct the story of Star Wars from Star Wars the game," whereas a
  film version of a novel will give you at least the broad outlines of the plot
  (Juul 1998). This is a pretty old-fashioned model of the process of
  adaptation. Increasingly, we inhabit a world of transmedia storytelling, one
  that depends less on each individual work being self-sufficient than on each
  work contributing to a larger narrative economy.”

 “In such a system, what games do best will almost certainly center around
  their ability to give concrete shape to our memories and imaginings of the
  storyworld, creating an immersive environment we can wander through
  and interact with.”

                                                                          UC SANTA CRUZ
Enacting stories
   “Spatial stories, on the other hand, are often dismissed as episodic -- that is, each episode
    (or set piece) can become compelling on its own terms without contributing significantly to
    the plot development, and often the episodes could be reordered without significantly
    impacting our experience as a whole.”

   “Spatial stories are held together by broadly defined goals and conflicts and pushed forward
    by the character's movement across the map. Their resolution often hinges on the player
    reaching his or her final destination…”

   “The organization of the plot becomes a matter of designing the geography of imaginary
    worlds, so that obstacles thwart and affordances facilitate the protagonist's forward
    movement towards resolution.”

   “Just as some memorable moments in games depend on sensations (the sense of speed in a
    racing game) or perceptions (the sudden expanse of sky in a snowboarding game) as well as
    narrative hooks, Eisenstein used the word "attractions" broadly to describe any element
    within a work that produces a profound emotional impact, and theorized that the themes of
    the work could be communicated across and through these discrete elements.”
        Micronarratives

   “We might describe musicals, action films, or slapstick comedies as having accordion-like
    structures. Certain plot points are fixed, whereas other moments can be expanded or
    contracted in response to audience feedback without serious consequences to the overall

                                                                                            UC SANTA CRUZ
Embedded narratives
   The distinction between story and discourse exists in games as well
      The story is recovered through the active work of recovering information distributed
       across the game space

   “Few films or novels are absolutely linear; most make use of some forms of
    backstory that is revealed gradually as we move through the narrative action. The
    detective story is the classic illustration of this principle, telling two stories -- one
    more or less chronological (the story of the investigation itself) and the other told
    radically out of sequence (the events motivating and leading up to the murder).”

   “Read in this light, a story is less a temporal structure than a body of information.
    The author of a film or a book has a high degree of control over when and if we
    receive specific bits of information, but a game designer can somewhat control the
    narrational process by distributing the information across the game space.”

   “To continue with the detective example, then, one can imagine the game designer
    as developing two kinds of narratives -- one relatively unstructured and controlled
    by the player as they explore the game space and unlock its secrets; the other
    prestructured but embedded within the mise-en-scene awaiting discovery. The
    game world becomes a kind of information space, a memory palace.”

                                                                                        UC SANTA CRUZ
Emergent narratives
   In an emergent narrative, the player’s choice deeply influence the narrative
      When considering a game as using the emergent narrative strategy, check that the
       emerging temporal structure has narrative properties (e.g. compare it against Ryan’s
       dimensions or against Aristotelian progression)

   “Emergent narratives are not prestructured or preprogrammed, taking shape
    through the game play, yet they are not as unstructured, chaotic, and frustrating as
    life itself.”

   “Most players come away from spending time with The Sims with some degree of
    narrative satisfaction. Wright has created a world ripe with narrative possibilities,
    where each design decision has been made with an eye towards increasing the
    prospects of interpersonal romance or conflict.”

   “Janet Murray's Hamlet on the Holodeck might describe some of what Wright
    accomplishes here as procedural authorship. Yet, I would argue that his choices go
    deeper than this, working not simply through the programming, but also through
    the design of the game space. For example, just as a dollhouse offers a streamlined
    representation that cuts out much of the clutter of an actual domestic space, the
    Sims' houses are stripped down to only a small number of artifacts, each of which
    perform specific kinds of narrative functions.”

                                                                                         UC SANTA CRUZ

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