Link: http://beyondseen.businesscatalyst.com/ 

Beyond Seen is an interactive point-of-view film that aims to show the perspective of an individual that suffers from depression, purposed to raise awareness on this relevant yet commonly overlooked health issue. Inspired by true events, the story is set on an everyday life of a student dancer (Faye) who suffers from this mental illness, amidst the facade she puts up as a well-liked and popular personality among her circle of friends.

Project by Gladys, Valerie Siew Hua

Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1VrlePrH0ldIOQPyUg5LkC9vEi-KZmDgZfpPcoOXhgvw/edit?usp=sharing 

 

This interactive blog is a creation of an AI schoolgirl, Rinna, generated by Microsoft Japan. Started as a deceivingly normal and happy blog about a schoolgirl who started her acting debut, the blog suddenly shifts in tone into a depressing one and it gets rather disturbing with the messages/sound and images. Eventually she states how “She does not have friends” and shes wants to disappear. The link is here: http://www.fujitv.co.jp/kimyo/rinna_blog/

   

Note the suddenly shift in mood for the graphic header

This project was too cool not to share and though it is very scary, it is rather relevant.

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2016/10/05/japans-ai-schoolgirl-has-fallen-into-a-suicidal-depression-in-latest-blog-post/ 

 

 

This is an interactive graphic novel designed to smartly used to market the Peugeot’s Hybrid4 series.

Link: http://graphicnovel-hybrid4.peugeot.com/start.html 

The story is about a girl embarking on a dangerous mission and to be successful, she will need to properly switch the driving modes (mainly Hybrid4). The novel is accompanied by parallax scrolling web feature and sound effects. It is very well-done, from the character design to the art and to the interactivity itself.

Apart from the interactive narrative itself, there are other aspects that are worth taking note about. The platforms in which this is released, along with how the campaign is very established and well-marketed is also a good inspiration for me – could be ways to further expand our current project of work on new ones.

This story is interesting in its parallel narratives and the lack of linearity – the idea whereby your different choices with generating differing consequences. It was indeed very confusing at times because you would have to refer back to where you previously was at, but that is the essence of parallel universe. This structure is definitely very common in games as well, where choices matter into the outcome. However, we can see the Tsun still shoots Albert and it is not an ending that can be altered based on the different outcomes. This is once again also rather common in games where branching narrative converge all into a point – no matter how hard you try to change your outcome sometimes it is still fixed. I think this is the most intriguing aspect of this narrative – how different paths end the same anyway.

This text is an illustration of time, whereby it diverges and it converges, the debate whether it is uniform or absolute – a complex system. This is an interesting theory in which I saw in the game Bioshock Infinite – the world centred around the concept of time travel and parallel universes, yet at times all parallel universes will converge in a point of time in a major decision (e.g. whether Booker becomes a protagonist or antagonist in the context of the game).

This text was certainly intriguing and I am interested to see how to further develop this in my narratives and projects.

Following a heavy production and filming schedule, we decided to simplify the plot to something more relatable and doable.

We’ve minimized the casting in the storyline but still holding main content of the plot.

However, we’ll still be shooting scenes of the character’s environments namely Home, School & Studio.

Updated plot

A new location of dance studio is added as the updated plot follows a student dancer in her everyday life. She seems popular and things look good on the surface. However, a darker side unfolds as the player navigates along.

We have started the filming and will be shooting as well as editing concurrently.

Premises: Home, School, Dance Studio

Additional POV

We have also incorporated a bonus play for users – to play in the point of view of her friend. The purpose behind this is to trigger some thoughts on what a player could have done to help their friend in retrospect.

Behind the scenes footage

Random weirdness (whenever Siew Hua secretly laughs at us)

Overview – “Beyond What We See”

As presented from last week, our group is interested in making an interactive movie game based on mental health in Singapore. The consequences of the storyline will be based on the player’s choices during the course of the narrative.

Our story is based on the life story of Sha, currently 24 years old. She had depression and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Our full presentation:

narratives-for-interactionnarratives-for-interaction


Moving ahead from the presentation, we kicked start our project this week in terms of finalizing the planning process. Agenda achieved:

  • Interviewed Sha (main protagonist based on her)
  • Storyline planning + branching choices
sha

Interviewing Sha was very pleasant as she was open to sharing about her experiences

 

From our interview, we were able to hear her personal story of her battle with her mental problems – she felt left out at home, was bullied in Secondary school and Polytechnic, not understood by her peers and at times her visits to the psychiatrists proved ineffective. She is a success story – able to overcome her hurdles, she now an advocate and she has an app geared towards helping those with mental health problems.

After the interview, we were able to get a clearer gauge on how to complete the story. We have finished the story and this is the outline on the branching plot.

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With the planning process more or less finalized, we are now ready to proceed in the making of this project.

Detroit Become Human is an upcoming PS4 game published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. This is an classic example of explicit interactivity, where the player’s choices directly affect the outcome of the plot and the characters’ fate. This can be seen from the trailer below, where they show the major plot point of the story and how it branches into many different plot lines.

Trailer:

What I found interesting was the many choices and mechanics behind the conversation, and hopefully I can bring this into my project as well. Each choice created have a rationale become it and this teaches the player the need to be tactful in communication. If you pick a certain choice of conversation – Why would the character listen to you? Or why would they be triggered emotionally? How do you tap on their emotions? In real life, the different things you say also affect others (probably not as drastic as this situation) and this is what I like to emphasise on.

 

 

When brainstorming for narratives that could work potentially as a good interactive, I focus on the aspect of Interactive Narratives that intrigues me the most: The branching of the story based on player’s choices, seeing how your choices matter and how you are the determinant on the outcome.

With that I came up with two entirely different areas of focus I could go to: Somatics and Mystery.


Ideation 1: Somatics 

This was inspired by a session touching on “Somatics” – understanding of human relationships “the body perceived from within” e.g. subtle yet systematic communication. I was spurred by building awareness of others around you, gaining empathy and intuition.

The focus is less on what is somatics, it is more on human interaction and picking up subtleties in communication e.g. regarding how one is feeling. Sometimes, when we interact with others, we might be oblivious to how they feel, our words and actions might affect others in ways we might not know as much.

Possible ways to execute:

  • Character(main or secondary) could be in a plight that we often don’t experience/know little about 
  • Garner real-life stories as source of inspiration – Several friends in healthcare industry talked about impacting others’ lives by the little things you do (this could perhaps be a way to raise awareness too)
  • Focus on the differences in interaction and how the different body language an mean differently – respond accordingly 
  • Response can mean alot of others, can make or break a person – may affect development of others – perhaps if you didn’t say this, this person would not feel this way etc. 
  • Ethics
  • Focus on the building on relationships – characters will need to be strong, relatable and one that audience can empathize with/feel sentimental towards
  • Possible headstart from local context: Excessively competitive environment, unable to keep up / Ageing population / Being left behind by society 

Ideation 2: Mystery

Vastly different from my other idea. Focus on Mystery/The Unknown/Thriller. Plunging the player into an situation where they do not know what to expect next, letting the player make careful decisions that determine survival/death.

Possible ways to execute:

  • Focus on Environmental Storytelling
  • Cryptic questions and clues
  • Bring in ethics? 
  • Possible headstart: Werewolf game http://www.playwerewolf.co/rules/ – This game is a well-known game, and no it will definitely not be a remake of this game. Instead some takeaways that could be good to think about – not knowing what is happening and why, fear of unknown, fear of being next, and how if this is real-life what would people do to ensure their own survival (reveal human nature)?
  • Inspiration: Until Dawn, The Room

Technicalities

Point-and-click adventure game/interactive movie – First-person perspective, puts you in the shoes of the character, helps you immerse more

Content:

  • Hopefully a simple yet layered narrative that can stick with the viewer, thoughtful
  • Branching narrative
  • Not in your face, subtle – hopefully with subtext

Medium:

  • 360 VR video (with choices)
  • Or just videos

Based on my previous idea of Somatics and Mystery, I decided to build on possible plot points that could help work out the narrative interaction. However, there are definitely changes from the previous ideas.

Building on Idea 1 – Somatics 

Plot point:

As stated in the previous post – I was spurred by building awareness of others around you, gaining empathy and intuition. I also had several ideas to execute: Character(main or secondary) could be in a plight that we often don’t experience/know little about Garner real-life stories as source of inspiration – Several friends in healthcare industry talked about impacting others’ lives by the little things you do (this could perhaps be a way to raise awareness too)

Therefore, I am inspired by real-life examples. Also, I wanted the element of the choices – and in real-life it usually comes from the “What-ifs”. Going by the idea of dreams, I read this wonderful article regarding how this man had a dream to be a pilot, but he gave it up to continue his father’s legacy in Nasi Lemak business: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/piloting-a-nasi-lemak-business

He chose his family over his personal dream. What if he chose to follow his dream, what could have happened then, to his family and to himself? These possible life outcomes could be the branching narrative, a path explored whereby the protagonist did not choose but could have been. Definitely, there will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction, but the context stays grounded to reality.

Possible structure:

Act 1 – Establish his dream, his life where he juggles between helping out his father in the business plus study for his future dream career

Act 2 – Choice of the major dilemma – Family or his personal dream

Act 3 – Based on the choice made, the different life choices affect the life story vastly

To execute this, we will need to interview highlighted people and work closely with them to bring their story to life.

Intended takeaway from narrative: Feel empathetic to others, raise awareness and also help people understand others. Explore social stigma

Inspirations: High rise – Out the Window 

Interface: 360 VR Video, with various plot points that could cause branching narrative (Point and click)


Building on Idea 2 – Mystery

This would be a completely fictional, imaginative premise for the interactive narrative.

Possible structure could be a murder story – Starting from a normal setting, e.g. town/school then the sudden murder of a friend. As the main character, your choices can prevent it – revolve around how to go about save this friend. Resolution, good or bad based on the choices made.

The other structure could be more of a dark mystery story (The Unknown) and ideally to contain the element of playing mind games (e.g. plot twist). The classic structure could be escaping a room, survival depends on the choices again.

Inspirations: Gone Home, The Call of Cthulhu

Reflection

Zimmerman’s article was a very interesting piece that provided insight into the understanding of game and narrative. This also helped open up new insights into this already well-known subject.

Initially, I had a preconceived notion of a game-story, mainly being a game straightforwardly driven by an overarching narrative. For example, most triple-A titles e.g. RPGs like The Witcher 3 whereby the revolves around the main character finding his daughter; Point-and-click interactive movies like Until Dawn which touches on survival in an island. This text helped me understand that even simple games have a game-story, like Pac-man has much more to offer apart from its surface gameplay, interesting game-story as a backdrop.

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Witcher 3, classic RPG that fits the traditional game-story and interactive narrative

Zimmerman widens the perspective of what consists as interactive narrative, and this helped me relooked at games in a different light. The kind of interaction most people are more familiar with; is the straightforward interaction where your participation affects the outcome of the story. Once again referring back to the Witcher 3, it is explicitly participative because the outcome of the character’s fate all determines based on the player’s choices. Zimmerman helps us view that it is an eye-opener to see that many narratives can be interactive in a certain manner. Books can be interactive depending how you view it. However, Zimmerman’s definition of what is narrative might also make the scope of what defines as interactive narrative, being too wide as well. As much as I do believe this concept is subjective and narratives can be interactive in a certain way, I still find a medium like newspaper not as interactive as compared to a choose-your-own-adventure book, since invoking feelings might not be enough but once again this is subjective.

Ultimately, stories are interactive depending on how you view it, along with games, depending on how to choose to play them. Definitely, out of all the concepts that Zimmerman presented, no single concept takes precedence over another since they all work hand in hand to create an complex interactive narrative or game.

The next thing to think about perhaps, now that we have learnt these concepts and new viewpoints from Zimmerman, is how we can push the idea of interactive narratives beyond the traditional well-known concept of it – the mostly filmic concept? How can these concepts intertwine more?