Discussion on Emergent Stories in Games


Axel Buendia (moderator), Daniel Kudenko, Vincent Corruble

Researchers in the field of procedural storytelling will answer questions from developers, and explain how academia would tackle many of the narrative challenges faced by modern games. Axel wll act as the industry connection using examples from games like Far Cry 2, GTA 4, and STALKER.

A nice broad look and some varied questions on the use of different emergent stories. I take issue that quicktime-event-driven Fahrenheit is much more then a film though, heh.

A: Having GTA4 girlfriends not screaming when you drive over people in the car you are in, how do you solve this?
V: Autonomous agents with strong storytelling principles is new to academic AI, a problem that comes from the games industry. This is something that academia is just looking at that. Could consider that behaviour it is controlled by narration or sometimes by the AI.
D: In terms of the NPC not supporting the player, the solution of another system in development, the NPC is divided into a character agent and an actor agent. The actor side tries to get the story going, the character side makes things interesting in character, even against the story.

A: Where do you put the control level between the storyline and NPC’s? It is interesting having the NPC’s have personality and so forth.
D: In the GADIN system while you have a central planner you have the agents have certain motivations and states of mind – taken into account by the drama manager, and action choices all made centrally. Autonomy of the agents would make more sense in a 3D world however.
V: What about the difference between autonomous characters in GADIN and the narrative?
D: The actors’ beliefs and other values are taken into account by the planning system so that a big dilemma that would change everything (or would need personalities to forced to change) doesn’t get used.

Q: Is it a difficult scenario to only deploy things by dilemma rather then other means?
D: The version with dilemmas do add to the experience, in testing with a version of the system without them.
Q: What about other methods then dilemmas?
D: Soap operas don’t have arcs, but moving from dilemma to dilemma – but other areas do have stories that should have conclusions. You can have the story structure as well.

A: In open worlds where enemies respawn, how can you use these technologies to help these problems?
D: Yeah, look into what story it plans based on how exciting they might be, or based on how the player is currently acting – who should be doing the action.
A: You don’t have the CPU to run everything in the world going around the player – so also you might store a variable to track those kinds of things.

Q: From MMO’s – has work been done into having multiple users in automatically generated stories? Usually players interact with other players, or just interact by themselves with the quests.
D: Short answer is there is nothing there in research literature. Interested in looking into analysing social interactions between players and create dilemmas based on the group dynamics.
Someone from audience: Some place from Ohio has moved onto analysing narratives in massive multiplayer games.
D: There isn’t really a generator yet however.

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