Reflection: Interactive Story

For my interactive story I wanted to do more than just a simple storigami, I wanted to tell a wholly original narrative with branching story paths, to allow the audience to interact with the story itself, not just the video elements. A central question for the author of an interactive story is, ‘How can we manage, within the navigable performance space of an interactive story, a certain control of time conditions, in order to assure a fluent and suspenseful experience, thereby matching the flow of actions to internal and external time constraints?’ (Göbel 2006)

This question is particularly relevant for this task and my work. Due to my desire to use multiple branching story paths I was originally worried about the five-minute time limit, but I was advised by Shelly that a single playthrough could last five minutes and the multiple paths could add up to more in total. I was worried about it at first, but I’m actually happy with how my video turned out in terms of time, as each path ended up adding up to about just under five minutes.

For my interactive story I focused on using just audio and no visual elements, inspired by Derek Jarman’s Blue, and doing this I used myself as a voice actor and applied effects to my voice with a vocalizer to portray different personas. For the most part this worked well I think and achieved a creepy effect, but in the some of the videos with heavier effects I thought that people might struggle to make out the words, but I did try to accommodate for this by stating at the start both out loud and in flashing capital letter to use headphones for the best experience. I also used bold titles in the first video to highlight key words in case someone was struggling to understand, while keeping a nice style that wasn’t distracting I think.

I’m quite happy with how my narrative turned out, due to time constraints at times it may have seemed a little rushed or cliché even, but for the most part I think I achieved the effect I wanted, which was to write the narrative so that no one path (of the four endings) would give you the full picture of the story and each has information that can’t be found in the others. I wanted to do this to intrigue the viewer to return to the start of the video and explore a different path and I’m curious what interpretations people might get from exploring the paths in different orders.

Overall for this project I’m happy with what I produced, it’s not perfect, it could be better in places, but given that it was quite an ambitious project I think I pulled it off well, especially when I’ve not done voice acting or used vocalizers before now.

Andrew Sheller is a Media Production student at Coventry University. You can see more content from Andrew at their Facebook page through this link.

Bibliography

Göbel, S., Malkewitz, R. and Becker, F. (2006) April. Story pacing in interactive storytelling. In International Conference on Technologies for E-Learning and Digital Entertainment (pp. 419-428). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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