Don't Forget to Save! The Impact of User Experience Design on Effectiveness of Authoring Video Game Narratives

Authors: Green, D.

Editors: Hargood, C., Charles, F. and Tang, W.

Conference: Creative Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology

DOI: 10.18746/


Since their inception, video games have been a capable storytelling device. This is only amplified as technology improves. Contemporary video games boast a wide range of interaction and presentational techniques that can enrich the narrative experience. Supporting authors with tools to prototype their stories, or even as direct integration into a game, is vital. This is especially important as the complexity and length of such narratives continues to increase.

Designing these kinds of tools is no easy feat. In order to develop authoring systems for game developers that support prototyping or implementation of their envisioned narratives, we must gain an understanding of the underlying constituents that make up video game narrative and their structural and relational properties. Additionally, when designing the interface of and interactions with such systems, the User Experience (UX) design decisions taken may impact the effectiveness of the authors to implement their vision. Therefore, we must also gain an understanding of how various UX design paradigms alter the usability of our programs.

This thesis investigates the existing literature on modeling of interactive narrative and video game narrative. Conclusions are drawn upon the ability for existing models to represent the complexities and nuances that are found in video game narrative. Initial work into the experimental identification of UX paradigms and their impact on authoring effectiveness is also described in detail.

To begin capturing difficult areas of video game narrative, a model of discovered, observed, or experienced narrative, Discoverable Narrative, is presented with examples. Additionally, a new theoretical model of interactive narrative, chiefly focusing on video game narrative, Novella, is proposed and explored in detail with worked examples. The model is designed on the bases of extension and integration with runtime systems and targets particular difficulties of video game narrative that other existing models struggled to capture. The described models pave the way for further development and research, particularly in a full implementation of Novella into a prototype authoring system that will be used in further experiments.

Source: Manual