ET SIG: Fundamental Problems in Interactive Storytelling



  • Come learn the three fundamental problems that obstruct our efforts in creating genuine interactive storytelling technology.


    Chris Crawford (bio), Developer -


    Presentation Overview

    Fundamental Problems in Interactive Storytelling

    Interactive Storytelling presents us with a challenge going far beyond the problems we encounter in games. Three fundamental problems obstruct our efforts to create genuine interactive storytelling technology. First, we must integrate all three primary cultures (art, science, and business) into a unified whole capable of building interactive storytelling systems, for all three cultures are necessary to the creation of a viable interactive storytelling technology. Second, we must concentrate our attention on the verb set rather than the environment or the characters; as Aristotle noted, character is revealed through the choices that characters make, so without a large palette of such choices, we cannot reveal much in the way of character. Third, we must devise tools that artists can use to create interactive storyworlds. Whatever technologies we build for interactive storytelling, they will be large and complex; without well-designed tools, artists will be unable to cope with the immense complexity of such products.


    About the Presenter


    Chris Crawford, Developer -

    Chris Crawford started out writing games for the Atari Home Computer System in the early 1980's. After writing such classics as Eastern Front (1941) and Legionairre, he founded the Games Research Group. While there, he wrote The Art of Computer Game Design and created Excalibur, a game about the Arthurian legends.

    He continued to design and create games throughout the 1980s and early 1990s (Balance of Power, Patton Versus Rommel, Trust & Betrayal, Guns & Butter, Balance of the Planet, and Patton Strikes Back). Along the way he also wrote two more books about game design (most recently Understanding Interactivity), founded The Journal of Computer Game Design, and started the Computer Game Developer's Conference.

    His current project, now nine years in the making, is a technology for interactive storytelling and a development environment that permits nontechnical artists to control the technology.


    Event Logistics


    Cubberley Community Center
    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
    Palo Alto, CA


    6:30-7:00pm registration/networking/refreshments/pizza
    7:00-8:00pm first presentation
    8:00-9:00pm second presenation


    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members
    No charge for SDForum members
    No charge for Churchill Club members for the month of March
    Please call 408.494.8378 for student memberships
    No registration required

    More on the Emerging Technology SIG....