Multivariant Narratives

download Multivariant Narratives

of 19

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of Multivariant Narratives

  1. 1. Week 11 Presentation
    • 'Multivariant Narratives'
      • Marie-Laure Ryan
  2. 2. Plan of Attack
    • Definition of 'Narrative'
    • Evolution of narrative mediums
    • The Digital Age
    • Variable discourse/point of view/plot
    • Real-world examples
    • Critique and questions
  3. 3. Defining 'Narrative'
    • Medium-free
    • Evokes a response from the audience in response to stimuli provided
    • Linear (or multilinear)
    • Vectoral (plot must go between a beginning and an end)
    • Can be told (diegetic mode), shown (mimetic mode) orenacted as a self-rewarding activity .
  4. 4. Defining 'Narrative'
    • Narrative Text
      • An artifact designed to bring a desired meaning to the audience's mind.
    • Narrative Script
      • Builds a world where the actions of intelligent 'agents' within a certain time span alters the environment within which they interact.
  5. 5. History-The Oral Age
    • '...a mnemonic device for the transmission of knowledge.' (Ong, 1982)
      • 'Mnemonic': Technique to aid the memory
    • Had to be memorised, so meter, rhyme and alliteration were important to help the speaker remember.
    • Fixed formulae and standardised images
    • Flexible (within reason) episodic structure
    • Narrative was unique to person speaking, restricted to a live audience and only existed as long as the speaker/audience remembered it.
  6. 6. History-The Chirographic Age
    • Unified, more control over plot devices
    • Condensed narrative structure
    • Much tighter management of emotional responses
    • 'Froze' the sequence of plots
    • Lessened the need for mnemonic devices in the story
    • Still subject to changes based upon person rewriting
  7. 7. History-The Print Age
    • Increase in the length of the narrative
    • Episodic pattern adapted from poetry (chapters)
    • Made mnemonic devices obsolete
    • Increased the complexity of the narrative
    • Introduction of visual devices (such as fonts) and pictures
  8. 8. Problems and Limitations
    • Problems regarding 'serious' narration and absolute truth
      • The only correct viewpoint of the world is that provided by the narrator. All facts provided by them must be taken as 'absolute knowledge'.
    • Narrative is always a fabrication, unreliable. (White, 1987)
    • Printed text is static and can never be 'self-renewable'.
    • Text can be 'chunked' and rearranged (eg. 'Catch 22'), but this can prevent it from having a coherent narrative form.
    • Branching can be used, but limits power of audience in favor of author control
  9. 9. Present-The Digital Age
    • Algorithm-driven operation
    • Reactive and interactive nature
    • Performantial aspect
    • Multiple sensory and semiotic channels
    • Networking capabilities
    • Volatile signs
    • Modularity
  10. 10. Variable Narration
    • Discourse
    • Point of View
    • Plot
  11. 11. Variable Discourse
    • The way the narrative is presented.
      • Multiple possible paths through a story.
    • Author has control over the individual decisions of the reader, but not their 'global' path through the story.
    • Does not tell lots of different stories, but tells a specific story in different ways.
    • 'Hypertext' often used to achieve variable discourse.
      • eg. 'Victory Garden'
  12. 12. Variable Point of View
    • Lets the audience view a story through multiple perspectives.
    • Does not change the story itself. The information provided to the audience is 'coloured' by the character's individual point of view.
    • Experiments in 'Interactive Film' where time is not effected by the change in perspective.
      • A viewer may miss information on first viewing, requires further viewing through different POV.
  13. 13. Variable Plot
    • Multiple strings to follow in a plot.
    • Plot can be changed
    • Multiple ways for the narrative to progress and end
    • Digital media less limiting then written text
    • Video games provide excellent worlds for 'emergent' narrative based upon user interaction
      • Interactive fiction, FPS, God games
  14. 14. Crimeface
    • Interactive Film
    • Uses in-video 'hyperlinks' and web interface to allow user interaction
    • Convergence of digital media: video, music, interface
    • Allows limited re-ordering of events, little-to-no impact on the overall plot arc.
    Crimeface Official Website
  15. 15. Heavy Rain
    • Released for the Playstation 3 in 2010 by Quantic Dream.
    • Jumps between different character POVs to enact parts of the story.
    • Constant measurement of time passing within given time frame (inc. inches of rain fallen)
    • Multiple endings
    • Characters can be incapacitated or even die, but story will continue.
    Heavy Rain Walkthrough - Chapter 3: The Nurse HD (Uploaded by user 'MahaloVideoGames' 7-3-10)
  16. 16. Duke Nukem 3D
    • First person shooter
    • Story-based singleplayer mode
    • Networking capabilities (eg. 'deathmatch')
    • Players form their own story in the world 'provided' by the game
    • Heavy modding capability, allowing players to easily share and create stages
    3D Realms Official Website
  17. 17. Ebert Critique
    • Argument that video games are not 'art'.
      • Too much malleability in the narrative. Films are able to control the response of the audience by directing the narrative.
    • How much can we expect to 'change' the narrative of the game before it becomes our story and not the original creators?
  18. 18. Further Ideas
    • Where do we draw the line between a 'narrative' and an 'interactive experience' or 'game'? Is there even a line?
    • Video games clearly provide narrative potential, but can we call them narrative devices?
      • The player is required to understand how to play the system before they can manipulate it and expose the narrative.
    • Does narrative still need to be within a set time frame?
      • If we could create an emergent, persistent digital world where new branches of the story are constantly being created, could it still be considered a narrative even though it would not have a set 'end point'?
  19. 19. References
    • Penny Arcade -
    • 'Game Design as Narrative Architecture' by Henry Jenkins -
    • 'Narrative Leeway in Games'' by Seth Marinello -
    • 'Heavy Dreams: Pushing Interactive Narrative' by Brandon Sheffield -
    • 'Multimedia Murder Mysteries' by Peter Gendolla & Jorgen Schofer - Peter Gendolla & Jorgen Schofer