Analyzing Computer Game Narratives

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Abstract

In many computer games narrative is a core component with the game centering on an unfolding, interactive storyline which both motivates and is driven by the game-play. Analyzing narratives to ensure good properties is thus important, but scalability remains a barrier to practical use. Here we develop a formal analysis system for interactive fiction narratives. Our approach is based on a relatively high-level game language, and borrows analysis techniques from compiler optimization to improve performance. We demonstrate our system on a variety of non-trivial narratives analyzing a basic reachability problem, the path to win the game. We are able to analyze narratives orders of magnitude larger than the previous state-of-the-art based on lower-level representations. This level of performance allows for verification of narrative properties at practical scales.