Procedural Storytelling 4: System Goals

What are the goals of a Procedural Storytelling system?  It should create a narrative that is

  1. coherent,
  2. relevant,
  3. engrossing,
  4. authorable,
  5. and takes advantage of the full range of content

Notice there is no requirement that storytelling be dynamic – but I’ve found it is usually better that way.  Incidentally, I believe this is why procedural storytelling is still relatively uncommon.  You don’t need to use shaders, or dynamic lighting, or blending, but they make the game better.  Procedural storytelling can achieve better pacing and creates design space for player interactivity.

There’s another benefit that I haven’t been focusing on personally though.  Consider the idea of first person games is to make the player experience what the avatar is experiencing, in real time.  But in reality time, our lives are very different from a story.  We react differently, measure time differently.  Getting a story from  our personal lives requires reflection and some embellishment.  If we want to tell stories that feel like someone’s real life, preserve this immersion, then we need different techniques from the storyteller.  Procedural storytelling helps maintain our setting while not breaking the immersion of the avatar.  It can bring an appropriate arc of events to the player, rather then a set sequence that a storyteller feeds to them.

I’m not chasing this goal because I don’t think you need it to justify going procedural.  But this goal is another reason procedural storytelling can uniquely help make a better experience.

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