Thursday, 25 August 2011

The intro and interactivity...

I have been working on the intro and have uploaded a test to YouTube, so that I can post it on here.  I have used limited animation and it needs tweaking, but I need to get on with the content now, so I have started working on a slide in screen that incorporates the poem about the Door and will lead into the first menu page for the interactive journey.  I find it difficult to put a name to what I am working on, because if I call it an interactive narrative, the content would surely need more of a story within its content - but the story is about a young girl trapped in a time warp and the user navigates through a journey that they ultimately create themselves, by selecting from the array of different routes to get to the final door to set the girl free.  It could be called an interactive visual journey, but that is too long a title.  There are so many titles you could give it... digital narrative, interactive puzzle, visual narrative, digital storytelling.....

According the Digital Story Centre (, the meaning of digital storytelling is: 
digital story (dig·i·tal sto·ry)
A short, first person video-narrative created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds.

The Digital Story Centre has a commitment to portraying and sharing individual, meaningful stories from youths and adults from around the world, using digital media and depicts that a digital story is based upon an individuals interpretation of a video narrative.

Wikipedia suggests that digital storytelling is the use of digital tools to allow ordinary people tell their own real-life stories.  

Another website based on digital storytelling:  has this quote from Leslie Rule to describe digital storytelling:

Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights. Tell your story now digitally.
- Leslie Rule, Digital Storytelling Association

I have found from researching interactive narratives and digital storytelling that there does not yet seem to be a definitive name for the array of categories for digital narratives and there is also a conflict regarding the fact that interacting with a story can interfere with the authors version of the story and also whether the public actually want to interact with stories or film.  Carolyn Handler Millers book: Digital Storytelling: A creator's guide to interactive entertainment has a more positive spin on the topic and discusses a broad range of media and topics.  Hal Barwood is quoted as saying this about interactivity and Millers' book:  
'Interactivity has opened up a new world of storytelling. The territory is promising - and dangerous. We've just started to explore and this book is one of the first good roadmaps.' 
I agree with Barwood that interactive storytelling is in it's infancy and has some way to go to settle down into the everyday psyche of people. I do not feel that it is in any way a replacement for the written word, but it should eventually sit comfortably beside it as a visual and interactive alternative that will be the norm, rather than as an adversary.

In contrast I do not quite agree with Andrew Glassner's comments, (from his book: Interactive Storytelling, Techniques for the 21st Century Fiction), regarding 'nonlinear stories'.  He states that:
'Despite a tremendous amount of effort and money, neither branching nor hypertext has found much enduring success in the commercial arena.  There are several books devoted to building academic theories of narratives in each of these approaches, which look forward to a future when the technique has matured [Jay David Bolter.  Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, 2nd Edition. Mahwah, NJ:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001] and [George P Landow. Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, 2nd Edition.  Baltimore, MD:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997].  That future has not yet come to pass, and I think it's not likely to.'
This may well be the case for hypertext narratives, but I think that branching narratives has a future and I think that it will come to pass; particularly visual branching narratives.  The 21st Century is extremely visual and full of interactivity, and consequently, visual, interactive narratives certainly have a place.  My viewpoint is that if the user has the story set up for them and a goal to achieve that will bring the story to an end; ultimately, the middle can be a multitude of visual journeys that they can encounter which lets them make up the story that takes them to the finale.  This will be particularly pleasurable if it has branching narratives that they can stumble upon to enrich the journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment