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CategoryNarratives for Interaction

SHARING 11: Nightwalk

Night Walk” is an interactive narrative project by Cours Julien.

It is all set in this really cool district in  Marseille and there is a lot of atmosphere going on here with fascinating street art. There is some narration like an audio guide and then we can wander about to see the neighbourhood and all this has been captured at night. So with the photos, images, videos, sounds and interesting facts, we can really become like “online tourists” for awhile and just enjoy this place miles across the globe.

Totally cool and sharing here with all of you. And it is best to experience it with headphones by the way!

https://nightwalk.withgoogle.com/en/home 

REFLECTION 3: Learning gameplay and narrative structure from Her Story

Awhile back we had this lesson where we played Her Story (2015) by Sam Barlow. I must say that the game is extremely simple in the interface and yet so intriguingly composed in narrative structure.

So you get access to files from a police dept which has been interviewing this woman connected to some sort of a murder case, I think, and you goal is to find out exactly what happened. You do so by searching the database for keywords connected to the case or words you think might be clues. Each of these videos are a few minutes and you have to read between the lines to know what to search next in the database. So for example she mentions some dates or names of people or an item during her interview and then you can search for those things and see what turns up on the monitor. However you can only open the first 5 matches of video to playback.

This is somehow rather connected to the current project that we are working on. And I have also created a search function within our game as well. Although my search function is rather primitive as compared to Her Story. But definitely there is much we can learn from the structure and gameplay elements of Her Story. What I really hope to emulate is the elegant display of the information and context. Because in the computer terminal of Her Story, there is actually some reflection on the monitor screen to show a bit of the lights in the room the user is using the computer within the context of the game. At times, reflection of the user’s face appears in the monitor screen as well. I found that really immersive and was really thrilled to notice this subtle detail as it certainly completes the look. There is also some fun stuff on the side going on like we can close the program and go to the recycle bin within the game’s terminal to see what files have been deleted and this adds on to the idea that we are really using this terminal to conduct the investigation.

The other thing about Her Story, is the cutting of the narrative. Almost like in film how we have jump-cuts. So here each interview video reveals only a portion of the information, but with just enough to allow you to formulate a certain idea or clue and search for a new piece of evidence. I think this formula is handled very well in Her Story, because I felt throughout the experience of playing it that I am getting more and more interested to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I feel that Her Story is certainly inspiring to play and learn from. Although I think we also wish to really devise our own game mechanics and structure, but hopefully we can successfully apply some of these learning points to our project as well.

SHARING 10: The future of UI

Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak — the real-life version of the film’s eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow’s computers will be controlled?

SHARING 9: Looking at Narratives as a Design Problem

Working on the game now and thinking of the mechanics to create something playable.. based on much of the suggestions from the beta-testers we’ve had as well as Prof. Vlad who is giving us a lot of feedback on his experience in trying to learn the playing of the game.

A Case Study in Interactive Narrative Design by Carol Strohecker

would like to share, above, this study I read where the writer is engaged in a discussion on looking at these issues as design problems. and how we might then proceed to solve them. she raised some plausible solutions like pacing of interactive and non-interactive “chunks”, which is like a control of the time and learning curve of the user. As well as creating a dynamic feedback loop which will allow users to check progress and know that they are sticking to the program.

I think this is simillar to some suggestions we have had to create some progress bar thing in the game we are making. although i wonder if there can be an elegant representation of that…

SHARING 8: Flying High in Rome’s Interactive Web Experience

http://www.ro.me/film

 

Rome was originally intended as a concept album for a film.

This interactive narrative experience powered by integrated the use of webGL within the Chrome browser. Rich graphical interactive experience with great music soundtrack!

Director Chris Milk is an artist primarily working with technology-generated emotional resonance. The interactive narrative is inspired by the music of Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi.

 

It is a fun experience really. I get to fly around and explore this bizarre yet beautiful world. And everywhere I go there will be animals galloping and birds flying around and the plants will just sprout out across the landscape that the mouse touches.

 

PROCESS 4: Game Mechanics

This is further into the development we have got going for the interaction.

I have managed a few things here:

  1. Rotating objects on mouse over
  2. Making objects move out and move back on mouse clicks
  3. Slider that makes objects appear and disappear according to the  position of the slider handle
  4. More to come…

Don’t mind the fog, I was just messing around with the particle effects for fun.

So this has been an interesting development because like I mentioned in earlier posts, our game has to show the passing of time. The timeslider element we have now will allow players to control that. If you notice above the slider I put the year in which this is happening. So at a certain year the thief would have obtained a certain object and then the object will go away after some time. So visually it creates this sense of power for the player in the controlling of time. But however they will need to click around to discover objects, listen to the stories and piece the entire world of the game together through that sort of scrutiny.

Which is what we really will need to sort out in the recess week: What is the overarching story here that we want to tell?

SHARING 7: Generating Interactive Stories

http://www.aaai.org/Papers/AIIDE/2007/AIIDE07-001.pdf

Barber, Heather, and Daniel Kudenko. “Dynamic Generation of Dilemma-based Interactive Narratives.” AIIDE 7 (2007): 2-7.

 

Read this paper which talks about mechanisms for Interactive Stories. And how we might use the decision making aspect that we design for the user to drive  and shape how we tell the stories.

They presented in the paper many avenues to consider and I will share some of the more interesting points.

In speaking about types of dilemmas, they categorized it into 5 distinct types: Betrayal, Sacrifice, Greater Good, Take Down, Favour. And all these I found really closely related to the sort of moral standards and systems prevalent in society. For example in the Betrayal Dilemma, it is about the moral virtue of loyalty and should the player then go against his faction or team in order to save himself? And for the Greater Good, it is about utilitarianism and maybe the player will decide that he has to leave people behind or avoid a fight in order to preserve and protect the majority.

The other thing that the paper brought up was this diagram to help structure these dilemmas into a scene or a story component in the interactive narrative:

So it is quite a good read and really gets you thinking about what we want the player to feel and think about when interacting with the story. And I find that thinking about it this way accomplishes two things, both the story plot (situation leading towards the dilemma) and the interactive story mechanism (choice and scenarios presented to the player).

SHARING 6: Playing Lynch

http://www.playinglynch.com

Hey all, this is really a shout-out to those who are fans of David Lynch and have seen most of his filmography! Twin Peaks, the TV series that sparked so much interest and controversy is back for the third season, this coming May.

Along with many teasers for season 3, the Lynch Foundation also released this “Playing Lynch” interactive website where we can see the full length director’s cut for Psychogenic Fugue. Hosted by Squarespace the website creator, and directed by Sandro Miller.

Featuring  American actor, director, and producer, John Malkovich, who has appeared in 70 over films. And in this interactive film website we get to see him play 7 of the most iconic or intriguing Lynch characters (John Merrick, Henry Spencer, Lady in the Radiator, Mystery Man, Frank Booth, Dale Cooper and the Log Lady). Featuring also, the music of David Lynch, as performed by artists like The Flaming Lips and Angelo Badalamenti. The interactive film certainly pays homage to the Lynchian film! It was a great immersive experience going through the roughly 20mins of content.

If you are reading this and Lynchian films are your thing then don’t miss out! Click here now! You can see the trailer I linked up below also.

But if you have not watched any Lynch film, or you don’t even know who is Lynch to the point that the silhouette in the poster below does not bear recognition, then PLEASE WATCH HIS FILMS!!! You are missing out a great deal of great compelling story-telling in an often non-linear, well-crafted sequencing of pace, concept and emotion.

Meanwhile, I am still counting down to Twin Peaks Season 3! After 25 years.. whoo!!

 

Psychogenic Fugue starring John Malkovich

PROCESS 3: Isometric view in Unity

This was what we had in the video I uploaded the previous week. Top view is game editor, bottom view is the screen during gameplay.

It is isometric view but as you can see, formed out of these small images which you see in the image viewer i opened up on the right that we have to piece together in that angled fashion in the game editor. Which is quite a hassle. In fact the video I uploaded had maybe had 200 of these images??

So I found an alternative that achieves the same effect.

So now we can use 3D models to give us a accurate sense of space and really have the flexibility to arrange things the way we want. And the camera will be able to render them in the  isometric view. Hence we can look to having more intricately designed spaces and have objects placed in many different ways.

More to come…

PROCESS 2: Intro to Unity Game Engine


In sourcing the technical aspects of the Interactive Narrative project my team has embarked on, I am decidedly looking towards Unity Game Engine and what it can offer as a platform to shape and tell our story.

So our story is currently about this thief who has a house full of objects he has stolen and each object has a story to tell. These branched out narratives will eventually coalesce and lead to the capture of the thief. So in terms of plot for the game itself, the players start off at the time when the thief is already caught, so they kind of are looking into the past to see what and how these things all come together.

We decided on an isometric view for the game. Because of the players ability to ‘time jump’ which we will give them, I feel that it is appropriate as the isometric view has this sort of god-like presence to it and it is very much like in the Sims games. So will be sticking with that for now.

And here is a preliminary tryout at the game engine. I have created an isometric view by locking the camera vantage point to a certain angle. But the images are like these 2D images of small blocks that I need to piece together which is quite a lot of work. But because of the angles of the placement you will see it as an isometric space.

We can already see the potential of placement of objects, how they might be revealed or hidden due to the isometric restrictions for the player’s line of sight. And here I am only just interested in trying out the simple interaction of mouse over to make the objects rotate. Which I can then further extend into click actions, button actions, etc to maybe play audio, highlight objects. So that will depend on how we move on from this point.