Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Princesses, Dragons, and Assigning Numbers to Stories

I've been working on a prototype story for my thesis project ("Coherent Emergent Stories").  Although I have a couple of stories on the go (such as the one I made for my GRAND poster), the one I am working with now was loosely inspired by The Paper Bag Princess.  This is an informal representation of some of the nodes:


In addition to these nodes are many more satellite nodes that, at the very least, further the story's themes or develop its characters, but that are optional and can be seen in any order.

My task now is to turn the ideas behind each node's availability (where should the player be? What knowledge should they have? etc) into numbers.  We are currently using a modifier system to calculate suitability of a node at any given time.  This means that I need to represent things like mood and knowledge as numbers.  This is much easier said than done!

I will also be writing some code that will represent formula(s) for computing a scene's score so that we can test what scenes will be available for various game states.  I decided to use Python, since its quick and easy scripting nature is just the thing needed here.  It also seems easy to connect directly to a Google Spreadsheet, where my story data currently resides.

Tomorrow, we plan on spending the morning playing with the prototype and adjusting the data and calculations as needed.  I'm really curious to see how far off the mark my numbers end up being!

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