There has always been an interest in narrative, as a source of a meaningful and motivational interaction, but so has also the interest finding life on Mars. But what if the Martians are already here, trying to get attention? This was a little situation we experienced two years ago when making a serious approach towards the game industry to explain, give advice and delivers a method that could aid the creation of interactive narrative. When finding evidence of narrative interest abroad, we even left our countries and crossed the Atlantic (note that most of us are from Sweden). So why did they not recognise us?
This was a time when the buzzword “fun” permeated the game developing and if there was someone that should be fun it was definitely the people who claimed to know storytelling. Having the gift of gab was a huge advantage in order to make everything said to appear as a page-turner (key-presser). But we were not Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights. Instead, we brought algorithms and talked about narrative as bricks of information to be cognitively systemized, arranged and controlled with the media-specific attributes. We also had stomach telling people they did not fully understand the potential of the narrative. As everyone knows a good story by heart it was like telling people they did not know how to tie their shoelaces. One could say we were walking around completely naked without any armour, as we did not even have an eligible AAA-title to endorse our assertions. If we had the chance of getting thousands of nights we got ten seconds. We retreated in anticipation of a new encounter.
But so it happened in Stockholm. A well-formulated public advertisement for a Narrative director was published by one of the major game studios. The description breathed that someone had been thinking, someone had been missing something and needed someone. Why this sudden insight? We would say it was the narrative itself that claimed its right to be taken care of in fairness to its brothers and sisters. It was the unruly narrative that could no longer stand functioning as varnish or putty to the other components and wanted to bring answers to pacing, learning curves, AI, directing players, motivation, emotions, gameplay, etc.
The good news simply kissed our sleeping blog. What we did will remain on this blog as a time document, a quote, to what we proudly tried to achieve two years ago. Today we like to see more serious approaches to narrative technique in the creation of interactive media. As the academic world, as well as the traditional IT industry, ogle at the game industry we hope the new movements might influence creation of academic programs seriously attending to the topic, as well as the development of dynamic interactive systems that comes with the new platforms (right now gamification is the buzzword as it has nothing to do with narrative).
We have learned that there is a time for everything. We at CIN are always willing to help anyone to avoid a detour to the pharmacy buying aspirins when dealing with narrative and interactivity. As a founder of CIN, and encouraged by the encounter, I will start a blog that will be a more hands-on blog about narrative technique independent from cultural influences. Participation is greatly encouraged, especially from you that share a passion to see a progress and strengthening of the narrative in the future development of interactive media.
Be back soon with information about the installation of a Narrative Construction (which is now up and running).