As part of a series of discussion over at the ODIN Project, we’ve had some interesting ideas stir the pool of imagination. So suspend your disbelief for a moment, and let us step into the realm of the impossible…
What should a truly interactive story look like? We’ve imagined scenarios like the Star Treck Holodeck, explored situations like Pen-and-paper campaigns. First, an analogy —
When you dream, your subconscious becomes the author, and you the participant. You can choose to do whatever you want, but you can’t control the consequences, and the dream continues telling the story around you. Now your subconscious is a terrible author, whose stories are not particularly cohesive or compelling. But imagine if you could replace your subconscious with an experienced author or Dungeon Master? What would this kind of storytelling be like in a game?
To take the concept to the digital realm, let’s assume:
- A personal Artificial Intelligence author that can (for the sake of argument) produce human-quality stories.
What would it look like to play a game that can create stories for you on the fly? Here’s some scenarios we came up with:
- Choose your own starting point anywhere. Much like the Holodeck, you could request certain stories, particular kinds of stories, or perhaps ask for something completely new. Think of it as a personal DM who could create solo adventure for you whenever you like. Each session might be a new character.
- I’d like a science-fiction setting on a cargo ship, western influence, firefly-esque.
- I’d like to be a lost merchant travelling through a dark forest.
- Just give me something with a lot of adventure.
- Choose your starting point in a consistent, ongoing world. The AI author simply presents to you a range of options in which you can participate. Each session might be a new character.
- There’s a story about to begin as a merchant in the dark forest, would you like to begin?
- Nation X is about to attack nation Y? Join the story as a foot soldier? Or as the general?
- Continuous story (one character only) in a consistent, ongoing world. You may not get to choose whatever stories you want, but you can travel the world, participating in the optional stories that the author creates for you.
- You’re presented with choices to join the contextual stories around you (enlist in a war, help someone being robbed, investigate the strange happenings around town…).
- Should you be able to “Turn Off” the AI Author and simply explore (like a sandbox)? Or should the possibility of an authored story be ever-present, even when you don’t expect it?
These are some of the fun questions that we’re discussing. Leave your thoughts in the comments, do you envision the interactive stories of the future to be something else entirely?