Tuesday, June 29, 2010
As I mentioned in class I had the thought yesterday that perhaps stories and interactivity are incompatible. That maybe we are trying to force it, maybe stories are inherently un-interactive. Now that of course would be blasphemous and make this course awkward, but let's look at it. In a sense what makes stories such a powerful and enduring medium is that the user/listener is passive to the active storyteller (be it a person, book, movie etc...) An incredible story completely enraptures you.
A quick example: I finally saw Toy Story three last night; the movie took me in and created a an experience. I laughed, I cried, and I marveled at Pixar's ability to reveal elegant truths through the use of story. All of this emotion and realization came from a masterfully constructed combination of storytelling, sound, and visuals.
So this leads me to the topic; is it actually possible to create a story as compelling as the one i just experienced if I was forced to make decisions? But free will and choice are always good things right? I'm not so sure when it comes to stories. When you must interact, that is make a decision on the conscious level you are immediately ripped from the visceral flow of the story. When you read an enthralling novel you first lose conscious awareness of the page turning, than the pages themselves seem to disappear. However in the format of a modern interactive sory such as a video game, the constant high level decision making ultimately pulls you out of the narrative and lessens it's effect on you. That is why I have seen plenty of people cry over movies, books, or theater, but not over videos games (well not for the same reasons).
However, I did re-read some of Jesse Schell's game design book and he did bring up some interesting emotions in chapter 2 that games can engender that maybe other formats can not, such as feelings of accomplishment, or of responsibility.
So computer or video games are not at a complete loss as a format for an interactive story. They can create some experiences and emotions in the user. However, the challenge than is, how do we make the action or decision making process in interactive stories become so non-demanding that it can become as unconscious as turning a page. Sorry the post got so long :) (bonus question: can we keep users from making bad stories and still call it interactive?)
When he was 18 years old, both his legs were wounded by mortar fire in Italy. During his six month hospital stay he fell in love with the the beautiful nurse that tended him. Their failed relationship (she left him for an Italian officer) provided material for A Very Short Story .
His shortest story however is the six word one we read in class today, and of which he said that it was the best thing that he had ever written:
Upper class. Expensive lock. Bike stolen.
Oil Spill? Say goodbye underwater ecosystems.
Do better thanHemmingway?
Just put the gun in there.
Turned it on. Didn’t get burned.
She looked better under the veil.
Pencils down. His fate is decided.
Crossing. Stuck on median! Bus gone.
Change approach? Let's consult the lemur.
Original six word stories are hard.
Jobeless Homeless Cohabiting couples: demographic explosion!
Monday, June 28, 2010
This is a radio frequency enabled gameboard
This is the tracking device used to find the gameboard
This is an empathy enhancing device
This is a heart rate sensor for the device
Anyways It was nice meeting you all today and looking forward to a fun filled (and unfortunately short) semester.
Welcome to this instance of Interactive Storytelling. We will use this blog stream to capture the evolution of our thoughts and perceptions on what Interactivity and Storytelling is.
Perhaps as a starting point we can think of interactive anything, as something that exists only in the context of user behavior and story as a shared social construct facilitating human communication. But even then, these broad assumptions can and are being challenged as technologies evolve and dissapears into the very fabric of society.
As the image of the iPhone-like device on the left suggests, we, as humans, are constantly recombining and re-inventing the primitive elements of storytelling and interactivity which makes us who we are.
And today we are, in many ways, surrendering our individual voices to the datasphere, which, when analysed (or mined, to use a common term) reveals another type of collective being, which by its twitts and blogs, reflects our commonalities more that our differences.
It is out of this phenomena that a bigger story is emerging, one in which we lose consciousness of the medium and see neither print nor film but just the power of the story, of which we are both actors and audience.
So hi, my name is Francesca Lyn. As you guys know I am a Digital Worlds Master's student. I have my own blog, Ophelia's Swim Team and I have been blogging regularly for about 5 years. Additionally, I am a social media/marketing intern for Lady Vanderbilt, a jewelry brand. I really enjoy blogs about personal style and design. I use Twitter frequently.
I hope to develop an interactive story this summer session that will inform the work that I will do for my Thesis project. I know I want to create an interactive experience in the REVE but as far as an actual story, I am not sure. So, this class will be perfect to test a lot of things out.
I am really excited to have class with everyone, having such a diverse set of majors is really interesting.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I am handling social media PR and some online marketing. It's interesting how these things are changing due to Twitter and Facebook. So far we have really had a lot of success contacting fashion bloggers and having them host giveaways. It's an amazing amount of press for a very little money spent. Plus, fashion bloggers are really driving trends. Blogs are much more accessible than most print media.
What really surprised me the most was I had no idea that processing was as powerful as was Peter showed us. Knowing the math behind what he was doing I was very impressed. Processing has always been somewhat of a toy for me, something I use to prototype with, but after seeing yesterday's demonstration I started to see the real power of processing. Processing will be a tool I continue to explore and use.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
This is a good opportunity for everyone to chat with a fellow designer who has some exceptional skills with Processing and interaction among other things.
I expect everyone to be present and actively participate. I will unfortunately miss this chance to ask my own questions, but I am sure you all will. Needless to say I expect posts from everyone during this last week of work. Pat will accompany you during this stretch, thanks Pat:-)
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The problem was pretty simple. I receive a stream of transformation matrices from Organic Motion stage. These matrices represent 3D positions of body parts. Unfortunately, there is an instability and all the bones move constantly even if a person tries to be calm and not to move (I even tried to hold my breath).
The solution that I chose is to take the previous transformation matrix and the current and interpolate them.
At the beginning I tried to implement interpolation of the three angles of a rotation (x, y, and z axis) manually. For example, the previous angle was 0.5 radian, the current angle is 0.7 radian. I take an everage value (0.5 + 0.7) / 2.0 == 0.6. So the actual rotation should be 0.6.
After I tried this method, I found out that the way an angle is represented creates problems to use my implementation of a interpolation. The angle is represented as a value from -2*PI to 2*PI and a rotation -2*PI equals to a rotation 2*PI. In this case I cannot easily interpolate two angles when there is a sign change. Lets take for example -3.1 and 3.1 angles in radians. These angles are actually almost the same for the camera, yet the everage value is 0 and that rotation is completely wrong.
To fix this problem I decided to work with cases when a the previous and current angles change the sign individually using a condition block. Then I found out that there is another point where an everaging algorithm does not return a correct value.
Then I recalled quaternions. They can help to implement rotations. I tried to understand how to interpolate a pair of quaternions and... That became too complecated for me.
And only at this moment I realized that JMonkeyEngine API and it's implementation of quaternions (and transformation matrices) has alreay implemented method "interpolate"!!.
So I just used it and fixed my problem.
I think it is a good idea to read a little bit about quaternions. It might help in the future if you are going to deal with 3D graphics.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Just found this video about a guy named Muti Randolph from Brazil. He is an audio-visual master builder and makes some really cool stuff. It's something I would definitely like to do.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The results of the analysis indicate that the communicative aspect of current multiplayer games is enabled by a relatively limited set of interaction forms. Still, the available features of the games that contain a limited amount of language-based communication would seem to be enough to enable a certain level of communicative actions. This level, however, is usually achieved by overcoming the restrictions and limitations of the system. In-game support for communicative interaction forms is, as a rule, notably low.Although newer games such as those previously mentioned have increased the level of interaction and communication between players, I agree with the author as he recognizes that the communication is limited but yet enough to be successful.
As Stephen and I mentioned in class, while reading this article we kept picturing the loathsome Microsoft paperclip. The paperclip was designed to facilitate document creation, however users HATED it. The application was intrusive and insulting (not to mention smug).
I think it is important to note that not only must these common sense systems understand content and context they must also have the sense to recognize user need. In general people hate being offered help or advice when they were not seeking it or when they were intent upon solving a problem themselves, it makes the person feel inadequate, or less than.
As I type this blog post I realize a successful "common sense" application that users have been using and loving for well over a decade now; the spellchecker. The spellchecker is unobtrusive as it does not immediately demand my attention. It simply underlines misspelled words that I can fix in the moment or go back through my document and correct all at once. In addition the spellchecker does not pretend to be my friend in the way that the paper clip does, it simply is. I want my machines to support and expand my sentience, not compete with it.
"By making a choice, the spectator assumes an authorial stance toward the protagonists, since he creates their moral character, which in turn determines their fate. This activity of playing with parameters to see how the system will evolve is similar to the operation of a simulation system. Since the operator of the narrative system is external to the fictional world, he has no interest at stake in any particular branch of its virtual history; gratification resides instead in the contemplation of the whole field of possibilities. The individual forking paths in the plot are therefore less interesting than the global pattern of their interconnections."
Games thus embody a virtualized, or potential dramatic narrativity, which itself hinges on the virtual diegetic narrativity of a retelling that may never take place.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Seriously, I find the "suspense of disbelief" the most fascinating element because it is is something ancient and integral to creating a good story. People too often confuse story with plot. Plot is just what happened, story is the seduction.
"Whether the activity is about shooting each other with rocket launchers or arranging virtual weddings, the underlying theme is about togetherness."
I would argue that an degree of isolation is also integral with creating a story. In fact I was surprised that this was not mentioned within the scope of this paper. The ability of creating a story alone and then sharing in in a neutral collaborative space like the web gives people a degree of freedom. They become their online avatars, and have a level of comfort in this separation that I think makes it easier to engage in this type of play.