interactive storytelling with user agency
As part of one of the first courses in my Masters of Digital Media program, we were given the assignment of creating an interactive story in whatever medium we choose. I was in particular interested in non-sequential storytelling, that is giving some agency to the user to discover the story rather than have it unfold in a specific way.
I needed a different approach than how someone would normally write a story. Starting with a concept, I began outlining the events of the story and the different character profiles, similiar to personas. Then I began to diverge from traditional storytelling. Rather letting one paragraph build on another, I focused on writing snippets of thoughts from each character’s point of view.
Incorporating each into a hidden objects game mechanic provided the agency for the user to discover the story with a randomness factor. Recruiting friends for voice acting, I also sourced all other sound effects and imagery from creative commons and created the project in Flash and Flex, learning as I go as it was my first time using the technology.
View it for yourself at www.wiredcrow/tatters
It was not intended to be a horror story but it quickly turned into one. Tatters received top mark in class and in addition, lent to a final project in creating a system for procedural storytelling. While the hidden objects mechanic can definitely be improved from an usability perspective, the overall objective was achieved to tell an interactive story.