What is it? How does it work?
|I quote part of a series of essays written by Mark Keavney - the creator of Storygaming and owner of the website http://www.cityofif.com
I've been an active member of The City of IF for approaching 2 years, and it has sparked and nurtured my love of writing and reading/reviewing. So much so that I looked for and found WDC
I and others have spent the last four years applying this idea, but I'm not going to talk about that until the next part of this history. This section is just about theory.
The idea, which I call "storygaming," is that many players would cooperatively roleplay a single character in a story guided by a human author. Here's how it works:
1. Author creates chapter - The storygame author creates the first chapter of a story. The chapter ends at a "decision point," where the main character has a chance to take some significant action. For example, in a fairy tale genre story, an initial episode might describe how a fisher-boy out on the sea encounters a talking swan who asks him to take her into his boat.
2. Players suggest actions - Next, the storygame players take the viewpoint of the character (the same character for everyone) and suggest what the character should do. In the example above, the players might invent and debate different options, such as taking the swan into the boat, leaving her in the water, asking her what she will give him if he helps her, etc.
3. Author creates options - From the pool of suggestions, the author chooses a few of the most popular and interesting possibilities to be voted on.
4. Players vote - The players vote on the options. The winning action becomes the basis for the next chapter, and the cycle begins again. If the players had decided to take the swan into the boat, for example, the author might write another chapter in which the fisher-boy takes the swan home and shows it to his mother, who is angry that he hasn't caught any fish and sends the boy to bed without any supper. The next decision point might then be what the boy does when locked in his room.
This simple idea can be used in many ways. The stories could be text, graphic, animation, film, or any combination; the chapter cycle could be months long, with long-running discussion posted on the web, or could happen in minutes in a chat room; the storygames could be epic or ordinary, short or long, with any type of character.
No matter how it's done, storygaming has three major strengths compared to other forms of interactive storytelling:
A strong narrative. Unlike other approaches, players aren't left to their own storytelling devices or given chopped-up story fragments assembled by a computer. In storygaming a human author guides the story from beginning to end, and is ultimately responsible for creating a coherent and compelling drama. This is similar to the strong narrative in linear stories.
Strong social interaction. Because the players are playing the same character and experiencing the same storyline at the same time, frequent social interaction is a large part of storygaming. Players can agree or disagree with each other, build on each other's suggestions, and try to sway votes. This kind of cooperative interaction is similar to the social interaction found in a MUD, MMORPG, or simulation.
Flexibility. Because there are multiple players for a single character, the story doesn't require any one player's participation to move forward. In effect, storygaming has a sliding scale of interactivity - for any chapter, a player can choose to experience the story non-interactively, or can vote without making suggestions, or can make suggestions with any amount of effort and time. Players can even drop out of the storygame altogether without causing a problem for others. No other form of interactive storytelling allows its players to ease in and out of play like this.
So this idea seems promising.
My own first Storygame has been reproduced here in my port. (First few installments so far)
Hope you enjoy
This storygame is still on-going and is currently up to Chapter 19 (9 for each of the main character - I will have all these imported into WDC soon).