Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling

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Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling
 

Chris Crawford

 

 

Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling
Chris Crawford

 

Copyright © 2005 by Chris Crawford

 

Published by New Riders. For information on New Riders Games books, contact:

 

New Riders
1249 Eighth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510/524-2178
800/283-9444
510/524-2221 (fax)
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www.peachpit.com
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New Riders is an imprint of Peachpit, a division of Pearson Education

 

Acquisitions Editor: Wendy Sharp
Development/Copy Editor: Lisa M. Lord
Production Coordinator: Andrei Pasternak
Technical Reviewers: Mark Barrett, Aria Danika
Compositor: Amy Hassos
Indexer: Lynne M. Grimes/Interactive Composition Corporation Cover Design: Charlene Charles Will
Cover Illustration: Andrei Pasternak
Interior Design: Mimi Heft

 

Notice of Rights

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For information on getting permission for reprints and excerpts, contact
[email protected]
.

 

Notice of Liability

 

The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis, without warranty. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author nor Peachpit Press shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer software and hardware products described in it.

 

Trademarks

 

Throughout this book, trademarks are used. Rather than put a trademark symbol in every occurrence of a trademarked name, we state that we are using the names in an editorial fashion only and to the benefit of the trademark owner with no intention of infringement of the trademark. Some of the methods, systems, and algorithms described in this work are covered under U.S. Patents #5,604,855 (Feb. 18, 1997) and #5,805,784 (Sep. 8, 1998).

 

ISBN 0-321-27890-9
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Printed and bound in the United States of America

 

I dedicate this book to my long-suffering wife Kathy, who has supported me emotionally and financially for thirteen years as I have worked on interactive storytelling, patiently enduring my endless promises that “commercialization is just around the corner.”

 
Acknowledgements
 

My thanks go to Laura Mixon for serving as sounding board, mother confessor, critic, and fellow explorer as I have groped through the complexities of interactive storytelling. Thanks also to Dave Walker for his many contributions to the development of the Erasmatron technology, both technical and artistic.

 

Lisa Lord, Mark Barrett, and Aria Danika struggled through the morass of my verbosities and helped me clean up the mess, de-polysyllabic-ize my vocabulary, and actually make some sense. Linda Harrison, Stephanie Wall, Wendy Sharp, and Andrei Pasternak provided top cover, bottom cover, and side cover for the project. The gestation period for this book, about 21 months, was the same as an elephant’s, and now we all know what an elephant pregnancy feels like.

 
Contents at a Glance
 

Introduction

 

Part I: From Story to Interactive Storytelling

 

Chapter 1
Story

 

Chapter 2
Interactivity

 

Chapter 3
Interactive Storytelling

 

Part II: Styles of Thinking

 

Chapter 4
Two Cultures, No Hits, No Runs

 

Chapter 5
Abstraction

 

Chapter 6
Verb Thinking

 

Part III: Strategies for Interactive Storytelling

 

Chapter 7
Simple Strategies That Don’t Work

 

Chapter 8
Environmental Strategies

 

Chapter 9
Data-Driven Strategies

 

Chapter 10
Language-Based Strategies

 

Part IV: Core Technologies for Interactive Storytelling

 

Chapter 11
Personality Models

 

Chapter 12
Drama Managers

 

Chapter 13
Verbs and Events

 

Chapter 14
HistoryBooks and Gossip

 

Chapter 15
Anticipation

 

Chapter 16
Roles and Sequencing

 

Chapter 17
Development Environments

 

Part V: Applications

 

Chapter 18
The Erasmatron

 

Chapter 19
Research

 

Chapter 20
Distant Relatives

 

Chapter 21
Prognostications

 
Table of Contents
 

Introduction

 

PART I From Story to Interactive Storytelling

 

Chapter 1
Story

 

The Development of Storytelling

 

Mental Modules Interact

 

At Last, Narrative

 

The Nature of Stories

 

Strong Structure

 

People

 

Conflict

 

Puzzles

 

Choices

 

Spectacle

 

The Tyranny of the Visual

 

Spatial Thinking

 

Temporal Discontinuity

 

Chapter 2
Interactivity

 

How Wrong Art Thou? Let Me Count the Ways

 

My Definition of Interactivity

 

Second-Person Insight

 

A Model for Human Understanding

 

Discipline

 

Degrees of Interactivity

 

Speed

 

Depth

 

Choice

 

So What?

 

Incentive #1: Basis of Competitive Advantage

 

Incentive #2: Revolutionary

 

Incentive #3: Power

 

Chapter 3
Interactive Storytelling

 

Extrapolation from Games

 

Interactivized Movies

 

Plot Versus Interactivity

 

It’s Different

 

How Do You Generate Enough Interesting Decisions?

 

How Do You Pare Away the Boring Decisions?

 

How Do You Keep the Storyworld Interesting?

 

Atoms of Interactive Storytelling

 

The Ideal Scale of Dramatic Resolution

 

What Can’t Be Part of Interactive Storytelling

 

PART II Styles of Thinking

 

Chapter 4
Two Cultures, No Hits, No Runs

 

Techies: Programmers and Games People

 

Artsies: The New Media People

 

Bubble Intellectualism

 

Cross-disciplinary Futility

 

Neurophysiological Basis

 

Exhortations and Prognostications

 

Chapter 5
Abstraction

 

Justice

 

Science

 

Pulling It Together

 

Playing God

 

Chapter 6
Verb Thinking

 

Verb Thinking Versus Noun Thinking

 

Case in Point: Multimedia

 

Getting Started with Verb Thinking

 

Causal Relationships

 

Modeling as Metaphor

 

Aside: Quantifying Humanity

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