A Step Towards the Future of Role-Playing Games: The SpyFeet Mobile RPG Project
Keywords:role-playing games, interactive story, exergames, mobile games, inform 7
Meaningful choice has often been identified as a key component in a player's engagement with an interactive narrative, but branching stories require tremendous amounts of hand-authored content, in amounts that increase exponentially rather than linearly as more choice points are added. Previous approaches to reducing authorial burden for computer RPGs have relied on creating better tools to manage existing unwieldy structures of quests and dialogue trees. We hypothesize that reducing authorial burden and increasing agency are two sides of the same coin, requiring specific advancements in two related areas of design and technology research: (1) dynamic story management architecture that represents story events abstractly and allows story elements to be selected and re-ordered in response to player choices, and (2) dynamic dialogue generation to allow a single story event to be revealed differently by different characters and in the context of dynamic relationships between those characters and the player. This paper describes SpyFeet, a playable prototype of a storytellingsystem designed to test this hypothesis.