[MUD-Dev] A footnote to Procedural Storytelling

Lee Sheldon linearno at gte.net
Fri May 12 11:19:29 CEST 2000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu
> [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> J C Lawrence
> Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 9:50 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] A footnote to Procedural Storytelling


A lot of interesting questions to ponder, but I'll jump to...

> What says that a story cannot be an accident or
> incidental byproduct, or has in fact, to be produced by a system
> which either has anything to do with, or knows anything about,
> stories in the first place?

Nothing of course.  And there's even the odd chance of it being a GOOD
story.  But I don't think people plunk down money for the odd chance of
entertainment.  However, the appearance of a happy accident is very closely
allied to the illusion of player freedom.  An extreme example of the
illusion that a story has developed by accident, or solely by the efforts of
the player, can be found in chaos theory where apparently random patterns
are actually shown to have structure.  I was playing around with seeding
stories like fractals last year, but I'm so restricted right now by the
practical task of creating stories for projects far past the blue sky stage,
I haven't had a chance to lay out more than the most simplistic seeding
structures.  There are plenty of techniques to apply to create the illusion,
but I hope to get back to chaos theory soon.

> On time however, from my own observation, people will frequently and
> extensively engage in activities (encl games) which are not much
> fun, but which are very enjoyable in the recounting.  Interestingly
> such activities are seemingly not as effective as the immediately
> fun, BUT, they also seem to have a much greater stickiness factor in
> generating repeat activity and in persuading others to also
> participate (and later recount).

Yikes!  Well, I don't think we want to provide too many "not much fun"
activities to promote the aftermath recounting!  Far better to try and make
the experience itself fun, and the recounting will be fun in its own way.
(I was laughing at myself when I wrote this.  I don't think you were
suggesting that, but simply observing the very real phenomenon.
Body-building is a perfect example of this where the participant need not be
articulate, but only must flex to recount.)


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