Interactive Storytelling and Narrative Theories

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Interactive Storytelling and Narrative Theories


This wiki is launched by the IRIS project, a European Network of Excellence dedicated to Interactive Storytelling.


If various forms of Interactive Storytelling (IS) can be found in Interactive Fiction and early adventure games, the birth of IS as a field of research can be dated to pioneer research, started about 20 years ago. Despite its fundamentally interdisciplinary nature, since it borrows from Narrative Theories, Computer Science, Psychology, Drama, etc., IS, in its concrete realizations, has mostly been influenced by Computing and Artificial Intelligence. Narrative theories and formalisms had a limited influence on the models that have been implemented in IS. Concepts such as goals, plans, variables, instantiations, predicates, graphs, etc. are more often handled than concepts of climax, closure, unity of plot, etc. Often, a single narrative concept forms the basis of a whole IS system, while the variety and complexity of narrative theories suggests that narrative is a complex phenomenon involving many aspects that should be reflected in IS systems. This wiki aims to fill the gap between technical implementations of IS and narrative theories, by providing IS engineers with a catalog of narrative models and formalisms, whenever a potential benefit in terms of system building exists.

This wiki is also useful as a teaching material, since it gives an overview of many IS systems, along with their relations with narrative concepts.

Structure and navigation

This wiki contains three main categories:

Each page follows a unified template in order to foster a systematic investigation of the relations between the three categories above. For example, for each narrative theory, we would systematically need to answer two questions: How could this theory help IS, and which system referred to this theory in its implementation.

Adding your system

If you want to add your system to the list, please contact nicoles.szilas @ for an account, and mention the name of the system you wish to add