Emergent Story Telling

24 05 2006

As I stated the goal of this project is as a vehicle to explore certain philosophical , mathematical and particular emergent processes. A core guiding principle of this project is to capitalize on something found in nature: simple and flexible systems evince the most complex behaviours. Each feature implemented will be based on a set of relatively simple but flexible axioms whose end behaviour I will have no hope to guess on. The philisophical and mathematical aspects will be discussed in a later entry but here I will drop a little bit on the goal of creating a player experience that might evolve a complex story.

As I stated earlier the project will be implemented on an episodic bases with each new episode merging seamlessly (hopefully) and being able to communicate with previous ones. Within each module will be a set of experiences all following some underlying theme. Each experience may be invoked by any combination of encounters, conversations and puzzle solving. In essence the entire game, regardless of module count will be a set of loosely related self-contained experiences which export data on how the player chose to work through them. There are no correct paths. Each experience will also be a set of loosely coupled events – there is no correct way to unravel them and only a few simple rules will direct what and what is not possible. <— Very vague idea of how that will be implemented. But this project will have a lifespan of many years. The emphasis is in plugging in.

Earlier this year I tried to prove something about stories by relating them to geometry, i say stuff about behaviours of sets in 2^A, where A is a set composed of some alphabet. A theorem was: All stories are homorphic and there exist only a small finite number of unique stories. The proof goes on by borrowing a bunch from formal languages, i never completed it. Nonetheless I shall return to it and even unsuccesful will have some techniques that I may apply in this project.

First, know that there is no story in this game. None. Instead the player's experience will be the story. The basic idea is that of implementing a sort of logging system similar to journals in traditional RPGs with the ability to export the set of experiences. Within each module will be weighted keypoints, encounters and enemies whose entering will cause the system to attempt to generate a summary of how the player undertook the experience. There will be an attempt to keep some sort of chronological links and relating summaries across expreiences and even modules. As well, a table of the directions the player's outlook,results and reactions will be tallied across the entire play. In addition, some of these summaries may be told by books to be found in the world. A rumour passing/evolving (with constraints) system will be attempted across the world, with basic attributes of Generic non important characters (only they tell rumours ) affecting the telling. We'll see how things go when I try to prove, design and implement aspects of this system.




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