The Narrative Innovation Showcase 2019

Screengrab and link to the GDC narrative talk

In five short-format talks, leading innovators in game narrative will share stories behind their innovative creations: the ambitions they had, the challenges they faced, the solutions they invented. Each speaker will reveal in detail the experimental techniques they developed to mark new advances in narrative design, dissecting particular problems and revealing the strategies they deployed to tackle them.

Speakers are: Clara Fernandez Vara, Matthew Weise, Tanya X. Short, Mark Backler, Whitney “Strix” Beltran, Dave Gilbert, Allen Turner

AXMA Story Maker JS

Axmasoft has released version 7 of AXMA Story Maker which is written in JavaScript and runs JS code in-game. Media options includes sprites, backgrounds, music, and choice questions, built with a node and popup window interface.

The English documentation isn’t available yet (the original is in Russian). The AXMA editor runs both online and in a downloadable standalone version for Windows, OsX, and Linux.

A pro-account allows export of HTML and modification of the exported website code. 


Unity’s “plan of intent” Roadmap for Animated Storytelling

According to Highlights from Unity’s Film and Animation Summit at Unite LA, Sr. Technical Product Manager for Film and TV, Mathieu Muller, shared the product roadmap and plan of intent for Unity when it comes to animated storytellingThis talk is suspiciously missing from YouTube.

However, many interesting features were teased during the general Product Roadmap, including video streaming and genlock coming in Unity 2019.

The full roadmap presentation is below.

Design Constraints in Narrative Exploration Games

Nels Anderson is a game designer with Campo Santo. Nels talks about some of the hurdles they had to over come in creating Firewatch. Firewatch is the story follows a Shoshone National Forest Fire look out named Henry in 1989, following the Yellowstone fires of 1988. A month after his first day at work, strange things begin happening to both him and his supervisor Delilah, which connects to a conspired mystery that happened years ago

Ink – Markup Language for Branching Narratives

Ink is an open source narrative scripting language developed by Inkle, creators of the IGF award-winning 80 Days. The free Inky compiler can export Ink story files to JSON for integration with Unity, or create a fully functional Javascript-powered web player like the example below:

At its most basic, Ink can be used to write a branching dialogue tree or a non-linear Choose Your Own Adventure story with multiple endings, but its real strength is allowing non-technical writers to create dynamic narratives using only minimal markup syntax. The text remains readable allowing an author to follow the story flow by eye, and edit at any point to add new branching options and alternate text, update variables, and reconnect to the main story.

Inky, a writing app, player, and compiler for .ink story files

There’s no programming loop. Instead an ink runtime follows a single path through the text, typically following a goto link, jumping directly to sections called knots and their order-prioritized sub-sections called stitches – with a name like ink it would be reasonable to expect the metaphors would be about pens and writing but an inkle loom is a device for weaving straps out of one continuous thread wound around pegs (an elegant metaphor that isn’t terribly helpful in understanding ink’s syntax).

an inkle weaving loom

Ink runtime keeps track of which sections of the story have already been visited, automatically removing the options that have already been picked. Multiple choice dialog branches can be nested in place, creating conversational diversions before seamlessly weaving back into the main thread. Authors can write in natural prose, following conventions of visual novels or interactive fiction, and not worry about specialized code or relying on programmers to generate the options.

Ink Homepage
Ink Documentation
Someone uploaded Ink Playmaker actions on Github

Michael Mateas – How New Playable Models from Recent Work on AI Can Enable New Types of Serious Games

Aug 25, 2013 –– Together with a few collegues, Michael created the interactive story “Façade“, an interactive drama about the relations between three persons in a small flat. Michael holds the MacArthur Chair at University of California, Santa Cruz and runs their Expressive Intelligence Studio where they explore the intersection of artificial intelligence, art and design. “Our goal is to create compelling new forms of interactive art and entertainment that provide more deeply autonomous, generative and dynamic responses to interaction”, says Michael. His talk is titled “How New Playable Models from Recent Work on AI Can Enable New Types of Serious Games, i.a. Games about Human Rights”. The lecture is given as part of the course “Human Rights in Serious Games”.