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Interactive Storytelling: Preparing Students to Innovate

This morning I gave a talk in the GDC Education Summit — Interactive Storytelling: Preparing Students to Innovate — and I’m posting my slides below. As for the topic, my talk description ended up being pretty accurate:

We want students to create innovative games, but innovation in interactive storytelling can be hard to imagine for students, both undergraduate and graduate. Designing an interactive story isn’t a secret art or a matter of magical technology. It’s the design of a system, of elements and operations, just like other parts of games. We can prepare students for this work by helping them understand the history of mainstream and trailblazing projects, get experience with the tools and models available, and learn the strengths and limitations of different approaches. This lecture introduces ideas and systems your students can work with now.

If you would like to see the presenter notes that go with the slides, which might be useful for interpreting some of them, you can also download the slide PDFs.

About the author:  Noah Wardrip-Fruin is a Professor of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz and the author of Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies. Read more from this author

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  1. Provi
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Best slide: about Uncharted 2, astonishing simple but thoughtful. Thanks for the slides!

  2. James Wallis
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    I don’t suppose there’s video of the talk? I’d like to push some students at this (not only because you credit two of my games in it) but I’m not sure the slides on their own would be useful to them.

  3. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    James, I’m honored you’d want to share this with students!

    Sadly, this session had only audio recording, no video — but maybe the audio recording together with the slides would be useful?

    Also, I could send anyone who is interested the version of the slides with all the build animations, which might be worth the trouble if showing them to a class. They’re in Keynote, but could be exported to video or some other format.

  4. James Wallis
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Audio would be terrific. Many thanks for offering it.

    I believe Slideshare lets you add an audio track to a slide deck, if you’ve got the time to upload the slides and the audio and sync the two. Worth a look, anyway.

  5. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    Unfortunately, I’m guessing that, when I agreed to talk at GDC, I also agreed that they’d own any recordings they made of my talk. A certain number of talks seem to appear for free in the GDC Vault, and I can hope mine is one of those. Otherwise, I know I didn’t agree to refrain from sharing the same ideas in other contexts, so that might be the best way to get them out more broadly.

  6. Jana
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the slides.

  7. Katy Computers
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    I must say this is a very interested post. The slides were definitely informative and got me brainstorming in many directions.

    As James said, the audio would have been worth it’s weight in gold, however the slides alone were of great value.

    Storyline is so important and many games out there today lack any substance at all.

    Keep up the good work,


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