Accepted Papers

This year we have talks based on both position papers submitted to the workshop, and invited talks based on the chapters from the book 'The Authoring Problem', published later this year by Springer. Presenters are denoted by an *.

Beyond Tools: We need to talk about the Author (Position Paper. PDF)
Sofia Kitromili* (Bournemouth University, UK) and Maria Cecilia Reyes (Vilnius University, Lithuania)
Abstract: Ever since digital interactive authoring tools made creating IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) approachable by a wide audience of people beyond programmers and curious academics, we have not stopped talking about them. We have been inventing them, testing them, improving them, and re-inventing them tirelessly. As we should. However, if we take a step back and think about what we have really been talking about, whenever we meet to discuss interactive digital narratives, is tools, narrative forms, ‘the authoring problem’, and while all those are topics we should be discussing, and building knowledge on, we have forgotten to discuss about humans. Who are we building these tools for? Who is using them to make the stories? How are they using them? It is about time we take a break from talking about the myriads of our tools. In this article we are going to talk about the interactive author, or as we shall refer to them in the end of this article, the interactive creator.

Authoring with IDN Structural Patterns (Position Paper, PDF)
David E. Millard* (Southampton University, UK)
Abstract: IDN Structural Patterns are a type of Design Pattern that offer three potential benefits to IDN Authors: they can inform them of common solutions to problems, they can provide ways to create complex structure quickly, and they can provide a lens to reflect on existing work. But how might they be successfully integrated into an au- thoring tool? In this paper I set out a design space for patterns in IDN Authoring, looking at cookbooks, patterns by design, domain specific languages, and structural parsers, and exploring whether they deliver those benefits, and also whether they support uncom- mon as well as common patterns. I show that no single approach delivers all of the benefits, but that combinations of methods could potentially do so, at the risk of increased cognitive load for authors. This initial work shows that there is significant potential in using patterns for authoring, but that more empirical work is needed to understand their affordances and interaction effects.

The Authoring Burden (Chapter Presentation)
Joey Jones* (Southampton University, UK)
Abstract: Limits that emerge out of the interactive nature of interactive digital narrative make authoring it challenging. These limits in-clude exponential branching, where branches in the narrative increasethe amount of content needed to be written progressively throughout the work; combinatorial explosion, where increasing combinations of possible game states makes writing additional content complex; as well as programming scope problems that are seen in any digital project, wherein the range of features or game interactions that could be implemented is infinite but development time finite. These limits place on the authors of interactive digital narrative an authorial burden, increasing the amount of content needed to be written, states managed or features programmed. Multiple strategies exist for tackling the burden, from reducing or reusing content, to decontextualising and generating content.

What’s The Story? (Chapter Presentation)
Mark Bernstein* (Eastgate Systems, MA)
Abstract: Category fiction — mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror among others — arose as a way to sell magazines and books to an audience that was eager to explore specific serious, storyable questions about the nature of the world and its woes. Understanding the frameworks on which these categories rest can inform the craft of interactive fiction while reminding us (and our readers) of the questions these stories address.

The Authoring Tool Evaluation Problem (Chapter Presentation)
Charlie Hargood* and Daniel Green (Bournemouth University, UK)
Abstract: Authoring tools, the software used to create, edit, and de- velop Interactive Digital Narrative (IDN), are a critical part of both IDN authorship and research. These tools, their features, interface paradigms, visualisations, and user experience (UX) can impact the authoring process and the resulting works, and consequently must inform our wider understanding of IDN context. While IDN research has widely explored data models for authoring tools, feature sets, and demonstrated a variety of developed tools for a range of IDN forms, it has done comparatively very little to evaluate and study the UX of these tools and their impact on authors and their works. In this chapter we survey the existing work on authoring tools and explore the scale of this problem, the reasons for it, how the community has documented this issue, and how we might begin to tackle it. We conclude that existing methods for the study of UX are poorly suited for the study of authoring tools, and that as well as making the study of tool UX a priority we must also develop new methods of evaluation.

Writing for Replay: Supporting the Authoring of Kaleidoscopic Interactive Stories (Chapter Presentation)
Alex Mitchell (NUS, Singapore)
Abstract: The ability for players to go back and replay, either to see the impact of their choices or to experience the story from a different perspective, is one of the fundamental properties of interactive narratives. In this chapter, I focus on replay stories, a form of interactive narrative that is deliberately designed to encourage, or even require, repeat encounters. I begin by providing an overview of what we know about repeat experience of interactive narratives, and the challenges authors face when deliberately designing this type of work. I then explore the question of how authoring tools can provide support for authoring replay stories, suggesting both ways that tools can support this type of authoring, and the possible limitations on tool support for authoring replay stories. The chapter ends with some open questions for future research in this area.

Mapping the Unmappable: Reimagining Visual Representations of Interactive Narrative (Chapter Presentation)
John T. Murray* and Anastasia Salter (UCF, FL)
Abstract: The complexity of interactive narratives inspired a variety of visual aids and graphical interfaces that support authoring tasks. This chapter analyzes the visual interface of popular IDN authoring tools that include an explicit visual interface for creating content, including Twine, Storyspace 3, Inklewriter, Inform 7, and Adventure Game Studio. We employ a simple proto-IDN consisting of a set of passages that represent locations spatially linked together to compare the interactive and non-interactive visual aids across the five tools. We also identify several organizing metaphors that underly the visual logic, including Spatial Mapping, Scene-driven Structure, Nodal Mapping, and Traversal Mapping. Authors use the graphical interfaces in each of these tools to predict and manage the set of possible traversals that players may take. There identify key features in the interfaces by their function as a visual aid to specific authoring tasks. The interface techniques represented have evolved with these shared features, though they also represent the current limits of a paradigm of interactive narrative authoring where an author has explicit control over the structure and paths of the work.