Date of Award
Stephen G. Ware
An interactive narrative in a virtual environment is created through player and system interaction, often through an experience manager controlling the actions of all non-player characters (NPCs). Thus, the narrative (and its quality) is entirely dependent on a conflicting combination of unpredictability from the player and a controlled environment that must react to this unpredictability. Ideally, the experience manager should decide NPC actions in a way that never limits player freedom and shows the NPCs acting in believable manners to create a story that can be meaningfully affected by the player and feels organic. One solution to this is to view experience management as a story graph pruning problem. Nodes in the graph represent all the states that the virtual environment could possibly represent. These nodes are then connected by edges, which represent the actions that change one state to another. This graph is then intelligently pruned until NPCs have believable, unambiguous actions to take in every state, while never pruning player actions, with the intention of offering a more meaningful narrative.
Jeunesse, Jean-Paul, "Measuring Interactive Narrative Quality with Experience Management as Story Graph Pruning" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 129.