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Two new publications at ICIDS 2018

We’re trying to get into the habit of posting about all our publications, so here’s a post about the two things (one poster and one demo) I just got back from presenting at ICIDS 2018 last week!

The poster is called “Sketching a Map of the Storylets Design Space”, and the associated paper can be found here. Abstract:

Linear and branching narrative structures are widespread in games, but limited in their dynamism and expressiveness. We consider the alternative storylets model of interactive narrative content, in which a game’s narrative is assembled from a database of discrete, reorderable narrative “chunks” or “modules” known as storylets. This paper represents a first attempt to map out the design space of storylet-based narrative systems in games. We define the common elements of storylet-based systems; categorize such systems along several distinct dimensions; and survey implementations of such systems in existing games.

As for the demo, it’s an AI-based narrative game called Throwing Bottles at God that uses predictive text as a game mechanic. I hope to release the game itself to the general public sometime soon, but for now, the associated paper can be found here. Abstract:

We present Throwing Bottles at God, an experimental interactive narrative game that makes use of a predictive text writing interface as both a game mechanic and a means by which to deliver narrative content. The player steps into the role of @dril, a well-known pseudonymous social media personality with a distinctive writing style, and authors short snippets of text while receiving suggestions from the game as to which word @dril might use next – suggestions supported by word pair frequency data extracted from the corpus of all existing tweets by the actual @dril. The game represents a first attempt to use AI-based game design to heighten the player’s awareness of AI algorithms, specifically predictive text algorithms, as they play a role in the player’s day-to-day life. It also blurs the line between player-authored and developer-authored narrative content by inviting players to freely mix snippets of developer-authored text into their own in-game social media posts as they compose them, resulting in player-assembled messages that embed sequences of words drawn both from an external corpus (the @dril corpus) and from developer-authored narrative content.

Okay, that’s all for now. Sometime soon we’re hoping to have another post up about the exciting new game project the lab’s been working on this past quarter, so stay tuned!

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