Pervasive games
In this thesis, we investigate a model for interactive story telling based on which stories are generated randomly. We discuss whether it is fun to read a story in random order and whether this can be used in a pervasive game. Moreover, in order to prove the theoretical discussions, we present a new game - Shards – which is a pervasive game based on random storytelling. Storytelling is a very traditional activity, as are games. Sometimes people connect the two together, making storytelling into a playful activity. Examples of playful storytelling include many formats, such as random writing or multi-author storytelling, interactive storytelling and adventure games. In this thesis, we discuss the playful possibilities offered by reading stories in random order, the different kinds of stories that fit this reading mode, the possible forms to play with it, and finally present an authoring tool for such stories. To illustrate this idea, we present a new game, Shards. Literally, “Shards” means pieces or fragments. Here, the name refers to the pieces of stories we play with. In this game, the player tries to complete one story line. Every time he or she comes close to another participant, a new shard can be retrieved, until the story is finished or the player stops playing the game. ‘Shards’ requires stories that are written to be read in random order. The first part of the thesis investigates which kinds of stories are best suited for shards. From a brainstorming session, we obtained four stories in the form of Shards. The four stories are very different and offer different reading experiences when read randomly. Based on the initial idea of this game, one story was chosen as a model story to develop the game and the authoring system for the game. One conclusion we can draw from the brainstorming session is that certain story themes are better suited for this game than others. For example, crime stories would fit well with the game structure. The second part of the thesis describes two authoring tools that support story writers in generating stories for shards. The tools were implemented using Ruby for basic reading tools and TCL/TK for more advanced functionality. Both are web-based tools and were used by the author to maintain the story database. The basic tools allow for CRED (create, read, edit, delete, a standard of database operation), and the more advanced tools allow for VADE (view, add, delete, edit, a standard) with “read” but without “delete” and “edit”. The basic tool, using Ruby, is intended for backend service management, and the more advanced tool, using TCL/TK, draws a graphic interface for the end user. The final part of the thesis describes a brief user evaluation of the game and evaluates the authoring tools. Four people participated in this evaluation. They found that Shards was a fun game with a well-designed story. This shows that it is possible to create a game out of random story reading, and also that the authoring tool is usable as a tool to create such stories.
Zhang, X.
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Master Thesis, Dept. of Computer and System Sciences, Stockholm University
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 00:00