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Narrative and Interaction Getting Natural Enemies to Work Together

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Title: Narrative and Interaction Getting Natural Enemies to Work Together


1
Narrative and Interaction Getting Natural
Enemies to Work Together
  • Ken Newman
  • School of Computing and Information Technology,
  • Griffith University, AUSTRALIA
  • k.newman_at_griffith.edu.au

2
Overview
  • Why humans are wired for narrative
  • Ways of thinking about narrative
  • The ComeRideWithMe project
  • Albert Goes Latin
  • Lessons from Improvisational Theatre
  • Future Directions
  • Albert In Africa
  • Measuring experience

3
Wired For Narrative
  • Narrative focuses our attention
  • We build internal structures from narrative
    elements
  • We look for the familiar
  • We filter the irrelevant
  • We construct expectations
  • We recognize the new and unexpected
  • We store templates

4
Group Narrative
  • Tuned to people around us
  • Group emotional responses.
  • Experience a sense of cohesion, identity
  • Shared joke, story, play can be a defining
    communal activity

5
Narrative must engage the listener
  • No matter what you're talking about -
    gardening, economics, murder - you're telling a
    story. Every sentence should lead to the next
    sentence. If you say a dull sentence people have
    a right to switch off. (Cooke, 1997)

6
Ways of Looking at Narrative
  • Aristotelian narrative beginning, middle, end.
  • Constructivist Theory of Narrative
  • Fabula
  • Elements of narrative, location, characters,
    events.
  • Story
  • Story time, real time, narrators voice/point of
    view, pacing, anticipation, resolution.
  • Treatment (means of communication)
  • Text, language, use of words
  • Audio/Visual visual style, pace, cutting, juxta
    positioning, music and sfx.

7
Interaction and Narrative
 
  • Invitation to engage
  • The narrator is in control
  • Interjections will probably weaken the structural
    integrity of the story.
  • How can a user interact with narrative in a game
  • The linking-scene model
  • The theme park ride model
  • The role-playing model

8
The linking scene Not integrated
  • The narrative is cinema minimal interaction
  • May be different art style, view (Warcraft 1st
    person/map)

9
The linking scene - Integrated
  • May be integrated into action (Doom 3
    communications via headset)

10
The theme-park ride
  • A defined path\s that the player works through
  • Illusion of narrative free roaming
  • Usually involves
  • a conversation system
  • Inventory system
  • Puzzle solving via interaction with characters
    and environment

11
Role Playing
  • Massively Multi-player games
  • Role-playing elements around macro-narratives
  • Everquest strong role playing elements
  • Story outcomes are unpredictable

12
Game-like Communities
  • Simple shared environment e.g. Habbohotel we
    are all in a hotel
  • No quest or meta-narrative
  • Stories emerge at an individual level
  • Unpredictable and unstructured - like life.

13
ComeRideWithMe Project
  • Provide engaging experiences for the children
    while hospitalized
  • Reduce their sense of isolation by stimulating
    interaction and communication with others.
  • Promote good role models, fun, coping, and
    dealing with difficulties.
  • Tap into the interests of this age group.
  •         Be appropriate to patients
    conditions.
  • Possibilities
  •        forum style communications
  •       real-time chat facility
  •       multi-user games
  • interactive narrative structure

14
World Motorbike Tour
  • Meta-narrative the road trip
  • No constructed virtual environment
  • Use of episodic stories, images
  • Interaction via forum to central character
    Albert

15
Albert takes over
  • Albert spins around. Behind us on the footpath
    there is a small crowd gathered around a man
    sitting playing a flute. There is a snake weaving
    and bobbing to the music. Phil is impressed,
  • "How cool, a snake charmer, Let's check it out."
  • But something weird is happening to Albert. His
    little eyes seem to be all glassy and in an
    instant he has pushed through the crowd and is
    bobbing and swaying and curling around the end of
    the flute. Charmer-guy stops playing in
    astonishment. The moment the music stops the
    snake drops and Albert slumps. Charmer-guy looks
    at me. I shrug. He shrugs back and give the
    little head waggle. He starts playing again.
    Instantly Albert and the snake are swaying and
    bobbing again. For the next 10 minutes the
    astonished crowd are treated to a highly unusual
    bear-snake dance combination. After it finishes
    it takes Albert a few minutes to get his thoughts
    back together






16
Sharing the Story
Hi Miss APosted by CheerUp Wed May 1 124705
UTC1000 2002 Hope you are having a good time.
We've been following your trip on my Dad's
computer. I hope Albert cheers up, tell him me
and Melissa will give him a hug when he gets
back. I miss you and hope you come back to class
soon........Breeana W. PS. My mum and dad said it
was good to see you smiling again....you must be
having a good time. Poor Albear Posted by
robert Wed May 8 231801 UTC1000 2002 Hey
Albert, Look, I have to say that I'm on your side
here mate, what with everyone being hard on you
for being homesick. I know how you feel, and your
travelling companions could be a little more
understanding, couldn't they? Especially that Ken
Character. Honestly, I think it's discrimination,
just because you're a celebrity bear, and they
are not! I say, if you feel miserable, there's no
point pretending otherwise mate, if you're
homesick (and who wouldn't be, considering where
we live), then you are entitled to be a bit blue.
To quote Khamal, "why are you people so terribly
unkind?" I'm here for you Albear! Rob... ReHi
Breeana and MelissaPosted by albert_pronounced_al
bear Wed Jun 5 035249 UTC1000 2002 Hi
sweeties! Thank you for your lovely sympathetic
message when I was a bit blue in Greece. Everyone
else was really horrible except you two and Rob.
Needless to say everybody else off my present
list for this trip ... Love and hugs to you both,
Albert
17
Albert as a narrative device
  • Albert was useful as a narrative device for
    telling the story of a particular location
  • Able to involve complete strangers very easily
  • Able to embrace archetypes
  • Promoted playfulness among the community members.
  • Algeria Albert becomes a foreign
    legoinaire
  •          Barcelona a toredor
  •          Sicily a mafia don
  •          Tunis a slave trader
  •          Oran a barbary coast pirate
  •          Ephesus a roman orator

18
Some future directions for Albert
  • Video interviews
  • Can the ease of engagement and shared joke of
    Albert be extended into a real-time video
    interview.
  • Virtual environment
  • Developing an isometric multiplayer environment
    to promote Alberts community
  • Using Albert to develop test scenarios for
    measuring user engagement, fun.

19
Video Interviews With Albert
  • Initial results from unscripted, impromptu
    interviews indicate
  • Postive response
  • Subjects willing to talk
  • Willing to engage in shared fantasy

20
Alberts virtual Environment
  • System designed to integrate with Albert-related
    activity
  • Real time avatar based chat
  • Journal articles
  • Threaded forum discussion
  • Video streaming
  • User built rooms, artefacts.

21
Measuring ExperienceThe Fun Unification Model
  • The Fun Unification Model draws on
  • absorption (Tellegen and Atkinson 1974 Agarwal
    and Karahanna 2000), immersion (Witmer and
    M.J.Singer 1998), narrative engagement (McNeil
    1996 Newman 2004), playfulness (Webster and
    Martocchio 1992), emotional useability (Logan
    1994 Kim 1997), hedonic quality (Hassenzahl,
    Platz et al. 2000), foundational elements of
    experience (Marsh 2003), fun-scale rating (Read
    and MacFarlane 2000), and humor mechanisms (Meyer
    2000).

22
Lessons from Improvisational TheatreAlbert In
Africa
  • Scott hello
  • Albert ey scott
  • Albert how ya doing mate?
  • Scott I am pretty good
  • Scott I just watched the documentary
  • Albert yeah? having a good day?
  • Albert oh yeah? im famous!
  • Albert did you like it?
  • Scott Yeah, it was pretty good, they seem to
    really really like sticky date pudding
  • Albert yeah and i DIDNT!
  • Albert i like SAUSAGES!
  • Scott was there much to eat then?
  • Narrative Contracts
  • - Any new narrative element introduced by a
    participant is an offer.
  • The respondent can
  • Accept offer
  • Block the offer
  • Make a counter-offer

23
Narrative Contracts
Examples of acceptance
Examples of blocking
 
 
24
Correlations between predisposition, narrative
contracting and response.
Predispositions
Responses
Pearson correlation coefficient probabilities
plt0.05, plt0.01, plt0.001
  1. Subjects with strong narrative tendencies are
    expected to experience high levels of narrative
    engagement and innovative play.
  2. Subjects with strong narrative tendencies are
    expected to exhibit a higher incidence of
    acceptance than blocks.
  3. Subjects with strong narrative creating
    tendencies are expected to exhibit a higher
    incidence of counter-offers than others.

25
Conclusions
  • Narrative elements within games follow three
    basic models
  • Linkage, theme park ride, role playing
  • Role playing presents the most valid blend of
    narrative and interaction
  • The ComeRideWithMe project demonstrates the power
    of narrative to promote playful, game-like
    activity within a community.
  • The Albert interviews demonstrates the
    possibilities of taking the narrative into a
    video format
  • The Fun Unification Model and Narrative
    contracting provides an insight into measuring
    users engagement and response to narrative
    games.

26
References
  • Agarwal, R. and E. Karahanna (2000). "Time Flies
    when you're having fun Cognitive absorption and
    beliefs about IT useage." MIS Quarterly 24(4)
    665.
  • Hassenzahl, M., A. Platz, et al. (2000). Hedonic
    and ergonomic quality aspects determine a
    software's appeal. SIGCHI conference on Human
    factors in computing systems, The Hague,
    Netherlands., ACM Press.
  • Johnstone, K. (1981). ImproImprovisation and the
    Theatre. New York, Routledge/Theatre Arts Books.
  • Kim, J. a. M., J. Y. (1997). Emotional usability
    of customer interfaces. CHI97, CHI.
  • Logan, R. J. (1994). Behavioral and emotional
    usability. Usability in practice How companies
    develop user friendly products. M. E. Wiklund.
    Boston, Academic Press.
  • Marsh, T. (2003). "Presence as Experience Film
    Informing Ways of Staying There." Presence 12(5).
  • McNeil, L. D. (1996). "Homo InventansThe
    Evolution of Narrativity." Language
    Communication 16(4) 331-360.
  • Meyer, J. (2000). "Humour as a Double-edged
    Swordfour functions of humour in communication."
    Communication Theory 10 310-331.
  • Newman, K. (2004). Less splat more chat
    Measuring fun in web-based communities. Brisbane,
    Griffith University.
  • Newman, K. (2004). Using a non-linear narrative
    framework in an online community. IADIS
    International Conference of Web Based Communities
    2004, Lisbon, Portugal, IADIS Press.
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